Feminist Bake Sale

This morning, this was all over my Facebook news feed. I looked around online and, yes, it’s real. In fact, more than one activist group has done it. There are even variations of it that also cover disparity in wages between ethnic groups.

This was not even a liberal group. This was a Young Conservatives of Texas group trying to make a very different point.

As a former student activist, I have to applaud their creativity. I’m sure these bake sales get a lot of buzz and get people talking about the issues. That’s the whole point of provocative displays like this.

Where to start with the sign? I guess with the biggest point.

The soundbite, “Women make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes,” is a lot more complicated than that.

The thing that strikes me the most is that the professions that pay the least (professionals like teachers and social workers) are dominated by women. Meanwhile, men dominate the fields that pay the most.

Yes, you can see where this is going.

Many women gravitate to the helping professions. Call it whatever you want (our innate God-given femininity or something society made up), but we want to help people. We want to form young minds. We want to take care of the sick, the orphan, the immigrant, and the disenfranchised everywhere. We want to take care of those who no one else cares about.

The amount that society pays a position indicates, among other things, the value that society places on those jobs. I can’t think of a much more important job than nurturing the next generation. All people possess a dignity simply due to the fact they are human. These low paying jobs uphold that dignity. Why don’t we hold these jobs on a higher pedestal?

Some people mock this street theater bake sale as only buying into stereotypes. Only a woman would bake to make a point. That’s exactly right. We get to feed people and make them think. And this move would be particularly attention-grabbing on a college campus where, let’s face it, all of the students are looking for a cheap or free bite to eat.

The statistic is simplistic and may mask some of the real issues, but the bake sale certainly has everyone’s attention. I don’t even know which school this particular sign comes from, but it showed up all over my Facebook newsfeed and I’m not even friends with any traditional college students anymore. Good job, student activists! Now, fill-in the blanks that the soundbite leaves.

Mary the Riveter. Not my best work, but I still love the sentiment. Maybe I should go back and make a better one someday. (Originally posted in my first blog)

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One thought on “Feminist Bake Sale

  1. Pingback: 25 Ways To Prove That College Is A Strange Place « Fribliss

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