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The Pendulum Effect podcast pilot episode – From Feminism to Equalism; an interview with Katie Kish

The Pendulum Effect pilot episode is now available! We managed somehow to actually meet the New Year deadline we set for ourselves! Thank you to all those involved in this new project.

From Feminism to Equalism; an interview with Katie Kish

Katie Kish is a longtime campus activist for science and secularism and hosts Renegade Radio, a nationally syndicated program dedicated to exploring controversial issues in religion, culture and society from an atheist’s point of view. Katie is the assistant director and field organizer for the Centre for Inquiry Ontario. She is completing her studies at York University in Toronto in Environmental Studies and Music.

On the inaugural episode of The Pendulum Effect Katie shares her experiences transitioning from traditional feminism to a more balanced equalism. She explains how she went from being the Coordinator of the Women’s Collective at the University of Victoria Radio Station and a regular blogger on women’s rights to blogging on everything from religion and the environment to health and local politics, with an eye to providing a new point of view.

You can get the latest show by:

* Subscribing here for free with itunes
* Using this feedburner link in your browser.

Download: mp3 file

If you like the show, please leave us a review on itunes.

Episode Links

Liberal Debutante
The Edger

The Hypocrisy of Victim Politics & the Society that Enables It

Following up on my well-commented post from December 27th on legitimizing domestic violence against men through mockery in what I jokingly referred to as the “high-culture” venues of comics, t-shirts, commercials, and greeting cards, I wanted to enlarge upon this by bringing examples of sexism and other forms of discrimination in mockery and in media.

To get started, since many readers of this blog came as a result of direct invitations from me, I happen to know many of you are atheists. So consider the following, taken from an old issue of the Readers’ Digest that I happened to come upon in a barber shop.

(At least the experience wasn’t as personally offensive as an earlier barber shop experience in which laughter met my request for a men’s hair style book, followed by my girlfriend who had finished before me being asked if she would rather wait to pay, the obvious presumption being that she would then not be the one paying. Please note that such “trivialities” are the sorts of complaints routinely heard by our “Human Rights Commissions”. But that experience is the topic of an earlier post on this blog).

Feb 2008 issue of Readers' Digest

Does this not offend or upset you? Do you not wish to write in an angry letter to the publishers, perhaps even threatening to retract your non-existent subscription to their publication? Do note that while the comics I referred to previously mocked violence these go nowhere near that far.

I want to make it quite clear that what I am not asking for is the censorship or banning of images, cartoons or words that offend me. What I am pointing out is how we can all feel deeply hurt by words and images and how unfairly inconsistent society responds to the complaints by certain favoured groups.

Consider the Women’s Media Center, allied with organizations receiving significant government funding like the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and the National Council of Women Organizations. It exists to increase women’s stories and voices and act as a watchdog monitoring misogyny and sexism in the media through its project Sexism Watch. The organization was founded by renowned feminists like Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda and involves leading journalists, academics and foundation leaders. Clearly, it means business, stating:

Every day when women turn on the news, open the paper, or log on to the Internet, they see a world that, as shaped by the media, is missing something. What’s missing are the women: women reporters, women’s voices, and women stories.

With all that expertise and money, what is Sexism Watch up to? It’s making videos like this, which I saw poted on the blog Feministing recently:

The video includes clips from Harball’s Chris Matthews commenting in a complimentary manner on Hillary Clinton’s dress and appearance and saying things like “cosmetics tonight are very important.” What the video doesn’t include is how – in an example no less sexist – Clinton secured female votes during one emotional speech where she broke out in sobs. She also played the gender card herself when it was required, such as when she said

if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen…and I’m very comfortable in the kitchen

As CNN’s Glenn Beck shot back on his show, if someone had said to her

if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen…but I assume you’re comfortable in the kitchen

this would have been unacceptable. In fact, it would likely have become part of the Women’s Media Center clip scene. But it’s as a result of comments like these that women were always her base of support. It’s called hypocrisy. If you voted for Clinton cause she’s female you voted against Obama cause he’s male, and that’s called sexist.

On the flip side, there were few complaints about journalists frequently harping on Obama’s good looks, like the following (just watch the last minute as longer exposure to the View can be harmful to your intelligence):

or mockery about McCain as an “old man” like the following where MSNBC actually called in Michael Ian Black of comedy Central to make the most of this golden joke opportunity in a piece called “Old Man McCain is Out of Touch”.

Now granted McCain’s internet stupidity is important for voters to know, but this went way too far, especially when McCain was compared to “grandpa simpson” and when Black said things like

we’ll start [teaching him] with what he knows…the telegraph…


…you have to double click on the web browser…there’s not a lot of 72 year old men out there who can double click on anything..

Notice first the ageism and recall how McCain would later in the campaign shrug it off in self-deprecating good humour. Hilarious, yes, but had I the time and money of the Women’s Media Center I could turn all these clips easily found on youtube into a fairly impressive clip sequence of political misandry to rival their own.

Finally, it isn’t just women’s traditional roles that are mocked in political coverage. How about the way in which until quite recently male candidates who had not served in the military were routinely mocked as unmanly and unfit for being Commander-in-Chief. I suppose with female candidates who never know the burden of registering for the draft (a legal duty of every male US citizen when they turn 18) this has become less of an issue, although the fact that women can obtain the highest office in the US without such a burden yet male legal conscription remains should give us pause.

In any case, mocking women’s fashion seems somewhat trivial compared to mocking men who refuse to sacrifice their lives and thereby bullying other men into doing so.

Real Gender Discrimination: Job Pay Gap or Career Fulfillment Gap? Part 1

It’s high time the science and statistics behind the supposed gender pay gap were re-examined objectively, rather then simply assuming the data fit preconceived dogma. Pseudoscience and grandiose generalizations without the smallest attempt at evidentiary support can crop up in many areas, not only in religion, alternative medicine and claims of the paranormal. Wherever it does it ought to be dealt with critically and swiftly.

I’m talking about the sort of claims made by the likes of the Ontario’s Equal Pay Coalition and its Chair Mary Cornish. In an editorial from just a few months ago, Cornish writes

for every dollar a male employee earns, a woman takes home a measly 71 cents…female high school graduates earn 27 per cent less than male graduates. Female university graduates earn 16 per cent less than male graduates.

As generally happens, these statics treat working men and working women as two separate but homogenous groups, steamrolling over the specific job characteristics and actual work duties of individual people. Cornish showers praise on the Pay Equity Act which:

required employers to evaluate, without bias, jobs done mainly by women and men and to pay equal wages and benefits for comparable worth.

Well that makes sense, right? Except who decides what work is to be considered equal worth? Let’s dig a little deeper and move from the Editorial to the website of the Equal Pay Coalition, where we read

The [Pay Equity] Act requires employers to take positive steps to pay “women’s work” on the same basis as “men’s work.” The legislation has had a very visible effect: Ontario’s wage gap between male and female full-time annual earnings has narrowed significantly since 1987 when the Ontario government first passed a proactive pay equity law.

So much for treating men and women as individuals. Instead, female workers are lumped into a “women’s work” category while male workers are lumped into a “men’s work” category. The goal is then to throw economics to the wind and socially engineer pay rates in whatever fashion can have the math works out at the end of the day with the average employee performing “women’s work” making the same as one performing “men’s work.”

But as we’ll explore in the upcoming parts of this post series, workers make conscientious choices to trade in power, satisfaction, fulfillment and family for higher salaries. The result is that females – choosing lower paying jobs on average – have been shown to display a much higher level of overall career and life satisfaction by several different metrics.

167 offshore workers - all men - died in the Piper Alpha tragedy on July 6 1988 due to a gas leak

Here is Job Economics 101. What do the following jobs have in common? Jobs that no one wants (think garbage men), that are most likely to kill you (think police men, fire men, cab drivers and those working oil riggers), that have high anxiety (think corporate lawyers), that expose you to the elements (think delivery men), that involve unpleasant environments (think security guards), that are risky (think venture capitalists) and that take you routinely away from the people you love (think fishermen). 1. These jobs generally pay higher, even if they otherwise involve similar skills and education to lower paying jobs, and 2. These jobs generally have “men” in the title and are overwhelmingly “dominated” by men.

As we’ll see, most statistics supporting the pay gap fail to control for any of these factors, usually averaging all employees in broad industries like “professional occupations in health” or “teachers and professors” or my favourite “judges, lawyers, psychologists, social workers, ministers of religion, and policy and program affiliates” and never getting more specific then “dentists” (general dentist, pediatric dentist, endodontist or prosthodontist?) or “university professor” (assistant, associate, full, tenured, cross-appointed, department head, or emeritus?)

After the posts are done in this short series, we’ll conclude with a very basic point: if controlled for all the same conditions women and men are making less there is a problem to be addressed. But if we’re re-engineering our economy so that the average woman can have her cake and eat it to that would be truly sexist.

We’ll discuss the statistics and sources on the gender pay gap but also on the rarely considered job satisfaction gap in the coming days. Meanwhile, chew over the above while watching a great video of Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Earn More, lecturing on the latter book and learn why, as Farrell so eloquently puts it: “getting higher pay meant giving up power for men.

(the full 8 parts can be found starting here http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb_6v-JQ13Q)


Just stick men on an iceflow: Carleton U attempts to revoke funding to charities that help “primarily men”

In case anyone thinks I’m exaggerating how bad it’s gotten to be a member of the “patriarchy” in this politically correct multiculturally obsessed society, consider the recent motion passed by the Carleton University Student Administration to stop donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The reason is that the disease apparently affects “only white people, and primarily men” and they should only fund charities that “will serve their diverse communities.” Let’s remember that universities across Canada support breast cancer charities, despite the fact that they already get 40 times as much funding as prostate cancer and both diseases have roughly equal rates of mortality.

In addition to funding a Womyn’s Centre with 2 paid staff members, the organization that supposedly concerns themselves with giving only to charities that represent the diversity of their students has donated to, among other places

1. Hopewell Eating Disorder Support Centre at their 2007 Charity Ball. Only 10% of adults with eating disorders are male and Hopewell apparently doesn’t even help them, referring them elsewhere.

It is not uncommon for boys and men to develop eating disorders. About 10% of adults with eating disorders are male, and this number is higher amongst adolescents.

If you are a male experiencing an eating disorder, check these sites out for information and support resources:

2. Harmony House Women’s Shelter at their 2003 Charity Ball, despite the fact that men are equally likely to be battered by women. Wouldn’t affirmative action suggest they fund the rarely funded mens’ shelters?

The funding was eventually re-instated and the relevant individuals thankfully resigned. Here are some of the poignant comments that contributed to this remarkably rare success.

I for one would like to thank CUSA. They are among the first to openly display sexist and racist attitudes becoming common in today’s “PC” world. This is a wakeup call for those among us who truly value equality and freedom. While we fight for the rights of others and tip toe around issues possibly offensives to non white males, we are loosing our own place in society. Respect is deserved by all.

What scares me is the callousness of this decision by the CUSA, regardless of the back tracking, regardless of their heartfelt apology, I’m worried. Is this how this generation sees white males? Stick us on an ice flow?

>> They apologized..and they made ammends.

No, they have not. At no point has anyone from CUSA admitted that they deliberately tabled and passed a flagrantly racist and sexist resolution. They’ve apologized because it brought negative publicity, they’ve apologized because it appeared to damage CF. But they’ve wholly, totally, completely missed the entire point regarding why people are upset. Of course, they’ve missed the point because they are not, in fact, sorry about having demonstrated that they are racist, sexist jerks. That aside, if it was racism to anyone other than white people, or sexism toward women instead of men, would anyone be saying “well, if they apologize we’ll forget about it.” I don’t think so. They’d want a head on a stick. I’ll forgive them when they’ve been fully subjected to the whole treatment to which they would subject a person who suggests that breast cancer charities should not be supported because it primarily affects women, or that AIDS charities should not be supported because it primarily affects black Africans and Asian sex-trade workers. Honestly, I don’t care about their apology. A forced apology is of no value.

The following is from The National Post Editorial “Disgrace at Carleton” :

But even if it were true that only white males got CF, what of it? We raise money for breast cancer even though it is primarily a female disease. We raise money for Tay-Sachs, even thought it strikes almost exclusively Jews. We raise money for AIDS, even though it disproportionately affects gays and blacks. That’s because we raise money to save people — not tribes.

The First Toronto Men’s Issues Meetup Group this Sunday

Introducing Toronto’s first Men’s Issue Meetup Group:

Ever wonder why:
* Men are one-third more likely to develop prostate cancer than women are to develop breast cancer, yet 50% more funding goes to women’s health over men’s
* Men and women commit domestic abuse against each other at roughly equal rates (for every level of severity), yet there is 1 men’s shelter in all of Canada
* Men now account for under 60% of undergraduate enrollment while boys are performing significantly worse then girls in grade school, yet affirmative action programs continue to “empower women and girls”

EqualismActivism presents a meetup group for exploring gender issues involving parental and custody rights, violence, education, health, safety & security, poverty, safety and security in the workplace, and media discrimination, from a male perspective. Other topics will be explored at the pleasure of the members.

We will hold monthly gatherings. Join and/or RSVP