Re: The value of Work

Wed, 3 Jun 1998 11:41:40 -0600

Guy Giffard recommended a book:

> ... For more details, you might like to read The
> Myth of Male Power, by Warren Farrell, pages 117-118...:
> "In one decade, women had gotten more protection against offensive
> jokes in the workplace than men had gotten in centuries against being
> killed in the workplace."

The title of the book is itself an oversimplification with a
definite agenda, but I still might look at it to see if the
inside is as unrealistic as the title. The quote you provided
demonstrates that it is. The author, in this one quote, shows
that he is willing to ignore the reality of labor history to
make it fit his political agenda.

1) Although the situation is improving, women still have bery
little protection against offensive jokes (and actions). The
first half of this sentence, in fact, belittles the continuing
effort to reduce all forms of workplace sexual harassment.

2) The second half of this sentence ignores that fact that
throughout the history of industrialization, women have worked
in jobs which were equally as hazardous as men's jobs. The
main difference was that women tended to work in hot, polluted,
and dangerous interior jobs (i.e., sweat shops, canneries, and
some factories), whereas men had the option of working in
hazardous outside jobs as well as interior jobs. In almost
all cases, men had, and continue to have, more options and
were, and often still are, paid more than women.

3) The second half of this sentence also ignores the fact that
the development of OSHA and other Federal work safety programs
have had a long history of effectively reducing work hazards in
ALL occupations in the United States. Even after years of cuts
begun by the Reagan presidency, OSHA still is very effective
in improving safety for all workers. No agency attempting to
reduce sexual harassment has been nearly as effective.

Guy also made this statement:

> ....For instance, the fact that
> men occupy the positions at the top of the hierarchy does in no
> way imply that men as a group are better off.

Yes, Guy, there are still very poor men, and men who die young, and
men at the bottom of the corporate ladder. But women and minorities
already share the bottom of our society with these men, and white
men have at least a much better chance of moving upward in levels.
The purpose of affirmative action is to allow women and minorities
to share in access to the levels of society which provide higher
rewards and access to real decision-making power.

To paraphrase Bob McIntosh, it is so easy for you to say that
because some men don't have power or privilege, it is all right
if almost all women and minorities don't have it, either. It is
easy for you to defend what Linda Purrington correctly called
"the tradition of affirmative action for men"; you seem to argue
that is is OK because not all men seem to benefit from it, but
in fact almost all of us men do benefit from it, and even if we
didn't, it would still NOT be OK).

I have written too much here, but this touched on two of my
favorite topics: equity and labor. Thanks for the opportunity
to vent.
-- Bob Tighe

Robert Tighe Resource Teacher
Instructional Technology
Albuquerque Public Schools Never doubt that a small group of
220 Monroe SW thoughtful, committed citizens can
Albuquerque, NM 87108-2811 change the world; indeed it's the
USA only thing that ever has.
505-256-4266 -- Margaret Mead

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