Camille Reyes

Posts Tagged ‘work’

There is No Wage Gap? Think Again, Ms. Summers.

In Culture, Policy on February 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm
My friend Deirdre Dougherty wrote a wicked (side note: when did I move to Boston?) response to a shameful article in the Daily Beast.  In fact, it was such a skilled (and sarcastic) take down of the author’s argument that I asked if she would like to guest post it here at gorditamedia.  She said no.  Kidding.  Feel free to comment; I’m sure Dee will appreciate any engagement on the subject.


(Guest Post by Deirdre Dougherty)

I have many things to say about this piece of shit article and apologize in advance to my family for swearing. I rarely ever post comments this long or this political.


1. While I can buy that the “77 cents” rhetoric might be an exaggerated way of simplifying and drawing attention the issue of pay inequity, there is a wage gap. Apparently, people believe that this is the result of a choice, or of a difference in hard wiring. The post says: “There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women… make it difficult to make simple comparisons.” Choices? Really? Interesting. At first glance, “choice” seems like it’s a great leveler and strikingly allows us to avoid a discussion of more complex structural issues. Choices are tricky things though; depending on the different kinds of privilege one might happen to have, choices have different effects and are made within different constraints. Way to individualize responsibility and thus leave sexism unquestioned. Thanks.


2. The author’s conversation about the “10 most remunerative majors” as a basis for her argument is sickening. Instead of looking at college majors and seeing which majors attract women and which attract men and linking that to a larger bullshit idea of women “choosing” to pick majors that result in lower-paying jobs, why don’t we question why certain professions are accorded respect and compensation in the first place? Isn’t it interesting that the professions that men tend to be drawn to are the most well-paid? Could this not be symptomatic of a larger, historically constituted structural inequality where occupations are gendered and historically “feminine” occupations are undervalued in a world that has (arbitrarily) accepted western ideas of science and progress and empiricism above all else?


3. “Have these groups noticed that American women are now among the most educated, autonomous, opportunity-rich women in history?” Interesting. “American” women, you say? While the author wanted to disaggregate the fuck out of the statistics about “77 cents,” claiming that the wage gap statistics were unfair because they compared women’s and men’s salaries across all occupations, it’s super interesting that “American” women emerge as a monolithic category. Do poor women enjoy the same “autonomous, opportunity-rich” experience as the author does?


4. “To say that these women remain helplessly in thrall to sexist stereotypes, and manipulated into life choices by forces beyond their control, is divorced from reality—and demeaning to boot. If a woman wants to be a teacher rather than a miner, or a veterinarian rather than a petroleum engineer, more power to her.” Clearly, you’ve not read anything about the k-12 education system and how tracking, microgressions, and other subtle systemic phenomena direct women in certain ways. Again, I guess it’s all about “choice.” I guess this is “America” and we can do anything we really “choose” to do.


5. But wait: “The White House should stop using women’s choices to construct a false claim about social inequality that is poisoning our gender debates.” Yes. Choices are totally made outside of structures of inequality. Thanks, author. I forgot that.


I Give You an ‘A’ for Email and Effortless Disrespect

In Culture, Education on February 17, 2010 at 6:14 am

I’m disturbed by a specific moment in Digital Nation, an excellently produced program on Frontline.  Disturbed is the polite, NPR word for my feeling.  Shades of anger aside, many of the educators interviewed at the “pro-technology” public school in the United States should be introduced to the nuns from my father’s Cuban elementary school.  I wonder what the Sisters would say about multi-tasking in their classrooms.  Not only are many of the teachers interviewed defeatist about the multi-tasking (read: undisciplined) behaviors, one of them says teaching multi-tasking is important for the students’ future jobs.  (See 34:48 in Teaching with Technology) Maybe I’ll need to do the PTA circuit (my Lisa Simpson moment!), but such notions about teaching are not acceptable.  The fact that this educator says this with pride on a nationally broadcast television series is disgraceful.  What happened to teaching students how to write or multiply or feel awkward in the locker room (oh, P.E.)?  To be fair, this same teacher had some cool, likely effective methods for using tech in the classroom, but then she busts out with the really unfortunate multi-tasking quote.

Our highly caffeinated educator is equating the “skill” of multi-tasking as something on the level of writing.  I have two issues with this: 1. Multi-tasking does not count as an employment skill (unless wearing shoes does, too) 2. Multi-tasking masquerades as productivity.  Let’s put aside the question of college preparation because this teacher likely wears neoliberal undies.  Let’s meet her in the break room on her turf.  I’ve been in the information workforce for over a decade.  (I’m taking a break now for grad school, but more on that in a future post.)  I worked for an excellent company where I received, on average, 100 emails a day.  At first, I drowned in that sea of mail, but I learned to cope; oddly enough I had no educator to thank for this prized ability of writing an important document one minute, and dealing with interruptions the next.  Maybe my “ramp up” time would have decreased if I had “Spark Noted” The Great Gatsby and mastered the art of distraction thinking, a.k.a cheating on ideas?

Most companies are not in the business of producing email, text messages, instant chats, You Tube videos, and status updates.  Aside from priority communication needs, multi-tasking does not lead to a superior product or service.  I am a good example of this.  In my last performance review, the only constructive criticism I received was to increase my response time on emails (valid).  The irony, of course, is that my superior performance was achieved, in part, by NOT MULTI-TASKING.  I blocked out time on my calendar for email, and email only.  I “hid” on instant messenger.   In short, I focused; and perhaps we could give some of that credit to the educators who dared to lecture me using only their knowledge and their voices.  Horrors!

Yes, I could have used my Outlook rules to more efficient ends.  Yes, my inbox loomed like a schoolyard bully to more traditionally ordered friends (3k messages—run away!).  Yes, I sometimes missed important pieces of communication, but more often than not, I missed what my girlfriend had for lunch, twenty things about you or the cat playing on the keyboard.  Instead, to borrow a tag line from my favorite software system, I got “better results, faster.”  No thanks to the maverick educator over at middle school I.S. 33-whats it number; sorry, I was distracted by your bra color.

*Disclaimers: I did learn to enjoy the soothing sound of Tweet Deck while I worked, but I didn’t look at it when I was writing something important; my education, thank the pre-LOL Cat Bible, gave me the sense to determine relative importance and timeliness.

Also, my mother is a professor.  Her brothers called her Dragon Lady.  Scratch the nuns, let’s send Mrs. Distraction to Mom.  Mwahahahaha!