Miss Utah has been the subject of non-stop attacks for her statement during Sunday evening’s annual Miss USA beauty pageant.
In case you missed it, when a judge asked Marissa Powell, “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?” her response was:
I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to (pause) figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem and I think, especially the men, are um, seen as the leaders of this and so we need to try and figure out how to create education better so we can solve this problem.
People called the response “insanely idiotic,” “hard to watch,” a “fantastic flub,” “incoherent,” “the most nonsensical thing ever said in a public forum,” “contrived, faux erudite, and filled with nonsequiturs [sic].”
Was Powell inarticulate, fumbling, awkward and halting? Yes. Was she totally wrong? No. As ThinkProgress notes, “those mocking Miss Utah may be surprised to hear that there were glimmers of truth in her answer: men’s wages and education are much discussed factors in the gender wage gap.”
Ultimately, ThinkProgress points out, education isn’t the cause of the wage disparity since “women’s wages have recently started dropping even as they gain even more higher education than men. And the wage gap is stubbornly persistent despite how much education women take on. The gap appears the moment men and women graduate, with young female graduates earning 82 percent of what their male counterparts earn. It follows them at every level of education as men with the same degree earn more.”
The point is that there is a lot of stupid stuff being said about equal pay. Instead of making fun of a beauty pageant contestant’s response to the issue, shouldn’t we be angrier about the more egregious statements made by the people who actually create or defend the policies which reinforce income disparity? Shouldn’t we highlight when the very people whose job it is to know about this issue say things that are at best nonsensical and at worst dishonest? Here are the five statements that should have received more attention than Powell’s.
1. Kelly “We Have Enough Laws” Ayotte: When asked at a town meeting why she voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have required employers to demonstrate that any salary differences between men and women doing the same work are not gender-related, the New Hampshire Senator said:
“We have existing laws — Title VII, um, Lilly Ledbetter, all those existing protections in place — that, I believe, enforce and provide that people doing equal jobs are, certainly in this country, should receive equal pay. So, uh, that bill, in my view, didn’t add — in fact I think it created a lot of additional burdens that would have been hard, um, to make it more difficult for job creators to create jobs. . . . The reason that I voted against that specific bill is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced and can be enforced and I didn’t feel like adding that layer was going to help us better get at the equal pay issue.“
Interestingly, despite the already existing burdensome laws, which are, like, so annoying, women make 77 cents for every mans’ dollar. Guess the laws aren’t so burdensome, after all.
2. Marsha “Women Don’t Want Equal Pay Laws, Thank You Very Much” Blackburn: When David Axelrod ridiculously suggested we enact “pay equity laws to ensure that women are treated fairly in the workplace” on Meet the Press, Tennessee Congresswoman had this to say:
“I think that more important than that is making certain that women are recognized by those companies. You know, I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job. And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein, that is what women want. They don’t want the decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves.”
In other words, we women would like the power to be able to be discriminated against. Amen!