ASST. A&E EDITOR
When you bring up women’s rights, people tend to get pretty heated. Make a satirical video about women’s rights and then you really get people’s blood boiling.
Kristen Bell, the actress known for voicing Anna from the Disney film Frozen, made a witty proposal to an audience of what can be assumed to be old white men to give jobs to women in America at lower costs instead of outsourcing to foreign labor in “India, China and Narnia.”
This banter comes from a YouTube video posted by The Huffington Post titled: “Pinksourcing with Kristen Bell.” Dubbed “Celebs Have Issues,” the first edition of this fresh web series aims attention at gender discrimination in the workplace and satirize the gender wage gap, women’s healthcare and maternity leave.
This idea of “Pinksourcing”, as the video calls it, displays the subtle discrimination in the workforce.
In one scene Kristen Bell jokes that, “You don’t have to pay women overtime, they never ask for a raise and they never complain about their working conditions,” then the camera pans to a woman sitting on the floor using a trashcan as a desk.
Bell also brought up a problem that many women face in the workplace, employers choosing men for promotions more often than they do women. “You can promote literally anyone besides [women] especially if they’re less qualified,” Bell quips.
Seconds after Bell makes this comment the camera turns to a young boy with an undone tie bossing around the women in the office shouting, “Where is my 8 o’clock cuddle?” I guess anyone can get promoted, as long as they are not a woman.
These examples and the whole premise of the video itself is not meant to be taken literally. However, some people seem to have missed the joke.
In an article by Forbes, British writer Tim Worstall claims that The Huffington Post is making a lot of noise over nothing. “The fact that the real-world economy does not have a for-profit business, such as ‘Pinksourcing,’... is strong evidence that women are not generally underpaid,” Worstall argued.
Worstall’s assertion that the wage-gap does not exist because CEOs have not taken advantage of it is ridiculous. That’s like claiming that since not every single comment out of Donald Trump’s mouth is misogynistic he can’t possibly have a disgusting and demeaning view of women.
In another article by web-based magazine The Federalist, Mitch Hall claims that if, in fact, a gender pay gap does exist women are the culprit for taking time off to have children and choosing to work in less lucrative fields. Great. That is exactly what a woman who is getting paid less than a man for the same work needs to hear; that it’s her fault.
Hall then proceeds to give advice on what women can do to raise their pay, as if he wasn’t already a stereotypical, condescending male. He claims that women should be more proactive in receiving raises and promotions as he cites a study done by Glamor Magazine wherein, “54 percent of male respondents said they asked for raises compared to just 39 percent of female respondents.”
Perhaps Hall brings up a valid point with this statistic but he is still completely missing the much broader point that “Pinksourcing” is making.
As Warstall and Hall tried to pick apart the economic aspects of the video, they completely overlooked the societal norms about women’s professional careers that the video is attempting to overturn.
According to an article in The Huffington Post, in 2010 the U.S. became the only industrialized nation to not mandate paid maternity leave, a point that Bell brings up in the video. Bell also discusses howin American society, “the husband is the one to make life choices and follow his dreams!” The video itself is linked to an organization called “I Am That Girl,” founded to help girls make life choices and follow their dreams.
Sure, you can nitpick over the economics of hiring a workforce of all underpaid women if you want or you could take the “Celebs Have Issues” episode for what it was meant to be: satire.
You can tear women down by blaming them for statistically getting paid 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, or you can build women up and foster a sense of empowerment in girls to achieve their own personal goals as our society has typically done only with boys.
It should be a piece of cake to understand that women deserve to be paid and treated equally in the workplace, but then again as the “Pinksourcing” video jokes, “[Women] are the only ones who bring baked goods into the office.”