The fact that men are paid more than women for doing the same or similar job is well-known. Feminist organisations have campaigned to close this gap, and also to make it clear that women are not standing for it. One recent analysis estimated that at the current pace of change, the UK pay gap will not be eradicated until 2069.
Not only do men “do a lot less” for more pay, but feel entitled to more.
Men do a lot less and they are less demanding on themselves and their standards are lower, yet they feel entitled to ask for a raise or a promotion.
This will not surprise any woman who has seen her male counterparts spend an hour playing online poker before striding into the boss’s office and cockily asking for a pay rise. This is all fuel to the fire in our sexist culture. Women rarely feel good enough about themselves, and tend to feel under pressure to do more for less praise and fewer pounds. Whereas men can roll into the office looking like death in a carrier bag, women tend to be under pressure to look as fresh as a daisy.
I was once asked why lesbians always looked scruffy and overweight, which I interpreted as over a size 10 and devoid of make-up and heels. I explained that many heterosexual women would dress the same way if they did not feel the need to compensate for being, well, women in a man’s world, and that it was terrible that every part of the female form – from our hair to our toes – is up for a preen, paint, spray or squeeze. Men, even in today’s metrosexual culture, make far less effort, and yet seem to get away with it.
Celebrity men can be adored while wearing grubby shorts, scuffed trainers and hair sticking up at the crown, while women get the front page of Take a Break or Heat for going to the shops in trackies – and not in a good way. Men get younger models despite being over the hill, whereas women get pity and Netflix.
Even when it comes to poor performance in the sack, men enjoy affectionate, sympathetic portrayals in Hollywood films, for example, I Think I Love My Wife and Bonnie and Clyde, whereas directors portray their female counterparts as desperate, pathetic, frigid and often even psychotic.
Men who stay at home to look after kids, or turn up at the school gates, are seen as selfless gods.
When it comes to household chores, women’s time cleaning up children’s’ poo and vomit is not so much undervalued as dismissed altogether. But men who stay at home to look after kids, or turn up at the school gates, are seen as selfless gods. These days, after decades of feminism, men do more chores and childcare – but not much more, and still far less than women. According to research by the feminist writer Beatrix Campbell, over the past three decades, the time that men dedicated to childcare rose at a rate of about 30 seconds per day, per year. Their contribution to housework rose at a rate of one minute per day, per year.
My final point about men doing less and getting more money, praise (or both) is one most women are united on: men cooking. It is clear, watching men with their BBQ sets, or assembling a curry in the kitchen, that to them, cooking does not feel like “housework” in the way cleaning does. Let’s face it, if it did, they probably would not be so keen to wreck the kitchen or patio while wearing an apron adorned with a “dude with the food” slogan.
Feminists still have much left to do before we are even close to being liberated from the shackles of patriarchal privilege, and this is yet more unpaid work we women will have to undertake.