#genderpaygap

Salma Hayek’s curves are an unfair advantage in a world striving for equality

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She has a point, but not why you think. It’s a bit confusing though. Did Salma talk to Benedict? Do the Hollywood set want women to get pay rises or men to get pay cuts? Will the sisterhood be annoyed that she’s undone Cumberbatch’s gesture to bump them higher? Or should actors be paid a flat unionized rate by the hour, including a one hour lunch break? Equal pay for equal work, right?

The laughable aspect is that Hollywood actors/actresses know full well that track record at the box office acts as a swing factor for pay determination. Kate Winslet was little known before Titanic but immediately after the phone didn’t stop ringing for her to star in new roles. The pay most certainly jumped significantly as she was well within her rights to command top dollar.

Let’s not forget that the movie star agents (mostly male) get paid on commission so it is absolutely in their best interests to get the best deals for female and male stars. In an industry dominated by sycophants it is highly doubtful they’re low balling to spite those striving for gender equality. Or should directors just cast women and save on production costs?

Yet it points back to the real world. Did you bust a gut to finish top of your 1st class honours degree in law to settle for the same pay as someone who didn’t? Surely you did so to get an advantage in life. Do Olympians train for 4 years in the hope of finishing outside the medals? Or should we dispense with medals entirely? Imagine how many records won’t get broken because there is no incentive to see the fastest, strongest or fittest. More and more schools have this “everyone’s a winner at St Barnabus’” mentality on sports days because the fat kid needs reassurance that he is just as worthy of winning a 100m dash as the 50lb stick insect is in the shot put. Differences are a part of life and we should embrace them rather than push to guarantee everyone gets the same outcome regardless of individual effort.

Isn’t the point of buying a nicer house in a nicer suburb all about an individual desire to achieve? Or will you be happy for the state to allot you a Soviet style 2 bedroom apartment in a crappy neighborhood?

No, let’s just listen to champagne socialists go out of their way conducting self promotion activities. Although in hindsight Salma Hayek may have a point on cutting back on male actor salaries as the total revenue performance of the US box office has dwindled back to 1993 levels.  Just like music has gone the way of Spotify, making a date in the diary to see a movie doesn’t cut it anymore. Video on demand is increasingly what matters.

But Salma, please, please, please! If you get roles that pay you more than your male costars based on your talents then all power to you. You won’t hear a peep here. In fact congratulations for being able to maximize the appeal of such genres to audiences that will shell out for them. Maybe you should beat up on the script writers more often for not writing stories that play up to the male dominating sultry voluptuous vixens you play so well! Be careful though, you may get complaints from the less well endowed actresses for having an unfair advantage but surely you’ve never used those differences or your beauty to get ahead in your career?

#SpareMe & #ThankYou

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They say pictures speak a thousand words. One wonders whether there are a thousand threads in these pictures at the Cannes Film Festival. For all of the sanctimony we hear from celebrities about how important the #MeToo movement is, what better opportunity to let down the side than to minimize cloth to skin ratios. These ladies know they are walking billboards, overtly flaunting their assets to gain attention in the hope they are short listed on the next blockbuster given the likelihood of widespread media coverage. Why else would they wear the equivalent of postage stamps held together by dental floss? Who can blame them? Where are the male actors strutting in sequin g-strings? Hardly fair that only women get to show off the flesh!

By all means, these ladies who graze on lentils and alfalfa while completing grueling gym sessions 6 hours a day, have every right to dress as they please given they work so hard cultivating those figures. Isn’t objectification the intention? Appreciating beauty is certainly not a crime and it does not border on harassment. Should red-blooded males be shamed for seeing protruding nipples and exposed cleavage fall into their peripheral vision? Can we honestly say hand on heart that some in the Hollywood set didn’t/don’t willingly trade flesh for a $5mn role? It is not to condone the behavior rather to say that if in the end a budding actor/actress is willing to ‘pay in kind’ to nail a big role that is still consensual. Jokes about Weinstein’s sexual antics were made for years at award ceremonies before he was finally outed. If he is convicted of sexual assault/harassment then may the full extent of the law deal with the crime. However #SpareMe the sanctimony about how none of them knew. Staying on the lucrative gravy train and buying more global property was more way addictive than doing the right thing by standing up for the true victims.

It is surprising that the feminists haven’t been up in arms about Cannes. They managed to take down the F-1 grid girls effectively enough. Isn’t it ironic that the people most upset by the ban were the grid girls themselves. They liked what they did, got paid handsomely to flaunt figures they no doubt work so hard to maintain and welcomed the attention. Now they are out of a job! Yet it’s is we who must get in step with the times. Perhaps the F-1 teams could have been asked to pay a grid-girl tax and donate the funds to promote charitable causes that the girls themselves felt passionately about. It will be interesting to see whether the MotoGP franchise owners, Dorna, go the same route as F-1 which will be pretty hypocritical given the web pages dedicated to the brolley dollies at each round.

Maybe the bigger laugh was the Israeli 2018 Eurovision song winner, Netti Barzilai. She said that in the auditioning process that she overheard whispers about whether they could field someone prettier or skinnier. So sex appeal was preferable to ability? When was the last time we truly heard a properly decent song that didn’t have some singer surrounded by scantily clad women twerking?

Still the virtue signaling continues. Cate Blanchett was on the stairs at Cannes demanding equal pay, when she herself is one of the higher paid actresses in town. Her mate Benedict Cumberbatch is refusing to star in movies unless there is equal pay.  Such actions are nothing but self-indulgent attempts to create free publicity. Say he is offered $25mn for a role and his never seen before female sidekick is not granted the same? Will he protest, divide his own pot or star anyway? One wonders.

Here is an idea for celebrities. CM thinks that Hollywood should be run by a government agency which will ensure equality in all outcomes. Movie roles will be distributed evenly. Each movie will have exactly the same budget. It will have equal numbers of men, women, LGBT, races, religious representation and sexual orientation regardless of how factually incorrect a true story may seem. Movie directors will have no say in who is cast for each part. Box office revenues will be evenly distributed at the end of each calendar year to ensure that flops will get subsidized by the hits. The actors who star in blockbusters will receive exactly the same outcome as those whose films end up almost immediately on Netflix.

All actors and actresses will be required to work exactly the same hours, have the same contract terms and be required to attend the awards ceremony in exactly the same garb. No makeup will be permissible, no eyebrow stylists flown around the world at last minute and no speech longer than 10 seconds. As there is to be equality at all costs, there will no longer be gender based awards at the Oscars. Or alternatively Best Actor – male, female and the 63 other gender categories. “The winner of the Best Actor in the hermaphrodite category is….”

So Benedict and Cate, will you join a union which levels the playing field and calls for equality or do you still prefer that your acting skills determine how the free market sets your prices? If you choose the former, just don’t speak to Jack Nicholson. He is still collecting royalties from Batman. Just what I thought.

These are the Oscar stats. A 40% decline over 5 years. Is this a sign of a format that is no longer sustainable? Is the disintermediation/disruption caused by video on demand such that making a ‘date’ to go to the cinema is no longer a priority? Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film continues to head south. The strategy seems to throw more at audiences and hope it sticks. Are the movies the industry rates itself on actually reflected in the box office? Out of touch with the audience? It would seem so. 9 films in the last 13 have failed to breach $75mn. So instead of Hollywood being so preoccupied with espousing politics, perhaps it should look to the audience it ‘preaches’ to and starts ‘reaching’ them instead otherwise many of them will be staring at massive pay cuts. Or will that mean it is every man and woman for themselves again!?

Enough!

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Social Justice actor Benedict Cumberbatch typifies the stupidity within Holywood. Box office takings have been driven by key actors/ actresses for decades. Top drawer female leads like Meryl Streep have seldom taken a back seat to her male costars when it comes to pay. This equal pay for equal work malarkey is insanely obtuse. Assuming an extra works 1/10th the time that the lead does, by rights they deserve 1/10th. If the lead makes $10mn then surely the extra is entitled to $1mn on the equal pay for equal work metric.

This type of posturing is so typical of the new age. Will Streep accept a pay cut to equal out her male peers in movies? Unlikely. Hollywood reeks of hypocrisy on most levels. To take Cumberbatch at his word suggests 1000 caveats  that will only filter to those he would deem worthy. He’d never expect the extra to be paid anything near what he earns even on an hourly basis. Only those that might inflate his social justifiablity.

Perhaps male supermodels should howl in protest that their female equivalents smash them for pay. Or is that female supermodels are plainly more desired than men by the end user – cosmetics, luxury goods and apparel.

Diversity in Japan

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Mizuho Bank was one of the first Japanese companies to openly embrace diversity and LGBT in a pride parade it promoted around 6 months ago . All the placards of ‘diversity is our strength’ and ‘inclusive society’ were displayed. The bank says it is the first in Japan to offer products which include housing loans that can be taken out jointly by same-sex partners, as well as principal guaranteed trust products — under which assets can be passed on to a same-sex partner.

According to an online survey by Dentsu in 2015, 7.6% of the population identified as LGBT. LGBT is not necessarily frowned upon at all. In fact many celebrities make a small fortune for being so. Matsuko Deluxe is a great example. She maintained her top spot in last year’s edition of the Nikkei Entertainment’s annual “Talent Power Ranking“.

For a culture that appears on the outside excessively conservative, variety shows embrace the very characters that shatter that myth. In such an orderly, consensus driven society their popularity stems from the fact they so brazenly buck the cultural stereotypes. After 20 years living here there would seem to be little evidence of blanket ‘discrimination’ against LGBT communities. Japan has existed more on a “don’t tell” mentality.

In the workplace more Japanese companies are embracing ‘nadeshiko’ to promote women. It was not uncommon to have a Japanese company look to marry off females to the legions of salarymen. So women were often overlooked for promotion for fear they’d raise kids and quit. While a terribly weak excuse to be sure one would hope that Japanese managers today  focus on hiring the best talent rather than hit predetermined gender quotas. There are plenty of talented Japanese women who can comfortably be selected on ability not gender. Although some will argue hard quotas will be needed so as to make companies feel comfortable they aren’t seen as ‘behind the times.’ Having said that government guidelines saw 90% of corporates adopt independent directors on their boards. Peer pressure seemingly works here.

However following ‘guidelines’ for the sake of it makes little sense. Were females more competent than the similarly ranked males on a 3:1 ratio in one company why not promote on that basis rather than a state suggested 2:1? If another company saw men 3:1 more skilled than women why wouldn’t a company want to rationally promote on those grounds? Indeed if companies look to succeed they should make decisions based on what is best for profitability and shareholders.

One corporate was asked this question of hiring more women at the AGM.  The CEO said he’d be only to glad to do so provided he could source suitable candidates. Hard to hit targets if the slew of applicants is 99% male. Indeed the company hires based on what it perceives as best fit for the business.

Things are changing in Japan on many fronts.

With marriage rates dwindling and childbirth nudging the 1mn mark per annum, more women are choosing to put the career first and have kids later and later.  Shotgun weddings now number 25% of all marriages and several companies are capitalizing on this trend by offering express matrimonial services. Society is changing. Note the report we wrote on the breakdown in the ‘nuclear family’ which tables in detail those seismic shifts.

Diversity in Japan. Far from wearing pussyhats and protesting with hostility there would seem to be many awaiting some centralized guidelines. While most would expect CM to tear strips off Mizuho for lining up for politicizing the workplace for once I’d credit it for “PROACTIVITY”. Indeed it wasn’t so long ago that then PM Koizumi had to tell corporate Japan that it was ok to take ties off in sweltering summer with power shortages in what was coined as “cool biz”.  Such a decision of common sense couldn’t be formulated by proactive management.

Mizuho’s credit doesn’t so much revolve around its appeals for more diversity rather for making a bold step to decide to do something like this without waiting for external guidance. With more internally driven open mindedness like this it paints a better role model for creating change.

This does not call for indoctrination of social ideals in the workplace. By all means provide hiring managers with better training on identifying talent but do not force identity politics in the office. Individual ability trumps identity every time.

So full marks to Mizuho. The message for Japan Inc to grasp from it is proactivity and common sense, not awaiting to be told what to do by some bureaucracy that is probably a worse offender of the guidelines it will inevitably seek to push.

One of the best interviews on identity politics you’re likely to see

Probably one of the best interviews of liberal logic being tipped on its head. The interviewer Cathy Newman defines everything about why identity politics is so divisive. From 22 minutes on you can see the guest, Jordan Peterson, utterly (but politely) destroy her illogical and hypocritical arguments after enduring 22 minutes of her nastiness. A joy to watch.

Oprah – fantastic delivery to those lost in fantasy

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One can’t fault Oprah for delivery. Her Cecil B. De Mille award speech justifies her position as the highest paid performer in Hollywood. She’s eloquent! Despite her speech to an audience full of hypocrites who applauded every aspect of the victim culture that has not held 99% of them back. She is unsurprisingly lighting up liberal social media feeds. Hail the identity politics!

Oprah is the poster child of how America rewards talent no matter what background one comes from. She earns $140mn a year. While she can talk of the importance of the civil rights of the 1960s from a lino floor watching Sidney Poitier win the same award, the America today (and decades ago) hasn’t  held her back. She should be celebrating and acknowledging that change not rattling off how unjust the world still is. Sure it isn’t perfect but the injustices of the 1960s are virtually non existent by comparison. Show me a perfect society and we’d all move there.

After all a black president served two terms in America. Had he not won those elections would civil rights in America been immeasurably worse off since 2009?  Would parents of African-American descent have told their children to hold tight to their injustices had he lost? Or did they tell them to chuck them away when he won? Why wouldn’t Oprah cheer that? Afterall the virtue signallers in the audience would smile, cry and swoon on anything she said so out of touch with the world they are

While the washout from the Weinstein saga has yet to finally flood them out, here was Hollywood trying to sell themselves as paragons of virtue. Champagne socialism is alive and kicking.

It was so ironic that immediately after the Oprah speech Natalie Portman introduced the “all male nominees for best director” which only amplified how full of it Hollywood is. Could it be that most directors are male? The Golden Globes said that Barbara Streisand was the only female winner of a best director award in 1984. Could it be that Spielberg or Ron Howard pulls movie financing  more adeptly than others regardless of gender? Previous track record -> future sales expectations -> higher financing -> better cast -> more sales etc. it’s based on economics not gender.

Then Jennifer Chastain jumped in with the 23% gender pay gap quip in a room where they all get paid millions. Leading actors get paid more depending on movie, budget and a whole host of issues. I doubt Meryl Streep has suffered a 23% pay gap to her male actors in any of her movies since Sophie’s Choice or Kramer vs Kramer. Geena Davis added to the pay gap nonsense in her introduction. Yawn.

Yes, Oprah grew up in Jim Crow times. Indeed she witnessed first hand those injustices. Once again isn’t a night of virtue signaling better served by focusing on positives than nothing but negatives. Of course not. It’s terrible being a multi millionaire.

Frances McDormand talked of the time for a female president. Barbara Streisand banged on about gender inequality. By her own admission she won an award 33 years ago.

So the Golden Globes was all the same rubbish. 100s of Hollywood celebrities thinking their words carry any meaning or weight. Every social justice case was put to full effect. If they actually believed their own nonsense they’d do their utmost to repeal the very civil rights thy fight so vigorously to defend.

Iceland legislates equal pay for women

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Google statistics on the gender pay gap and you can find an endless supply of stats supporting women earning a fraction of that of men. Iceland has now made it law. Companies with 25 members of staff and over are obliged to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies or face being slapped with financial penalties. It makes absolute sense to pay equally for identical work but we all know from our own experiences that all workers don’t perform equally in the same role. That goes for both genders.

Take two salespeople (ignore gender for now). They both work the same hours, are both the same age and have exactly the same qualities. Over whatever time period set the first outsells the second person on a 2:1 basis. Competition in their industry is rife and the employer is worried that it might lose one of is better performers if it can’t reward them appropriately.

In a previous role as head of a sales department, the top saleswoman was paid considerably more than male counterparts for “performance”. Same role, same rank, similar age and tenure. Better pay. It was rational. Gender was irrelevant. Performance was what mattered. Would the Iceland law makers censure the gender discrimination against the men in the team? Not likely. Surely it would turn a blind eye and inwardly celebrate an overturn of decades of perceived injustice!

Companies will get tied up in irrelevant, costly and onerous red tape to defend common sense. That is time consuming. Companies will need to hire a whole department to protect them from behaving too commercially or rationally. All of a sudden instead of dealing with customers staff and management spend a growing amount of time ticking internal boxes so the company doesn’t get into any trouble. Customers lose and ultimately the company becomes less profitable as a result. Lose lose.

Take it a step further. If companies could hire one group for 20% less than another for exactly the same output why would they bother paying a premium for it? Makes no sense. So the argument that women are paid less for the same role is nonsense. Why would companies bother to hire men?

Take the world of super models. The top 20 females get paid north of $1mn per annum. There are two males that achieve it. Where are the masculinists screaming for equal pay? Is it not the corporation that sees more value in having Giselle Blundchen’s sultry looks than some 6-packed dude from the Polo Ralph Lauren catalogue? Same work? Not same pay! Still Giselle’s agents know her value to the ultimate revenues of a cosmetics company that Joey Sixpack simply can’t generate. Is that unfair? Surely if Giselle has her pay capped at 1/10th current pay she might refuse to work.

Regardless of the debate over gender balance, it is not strange to see men dominate the numbers in the military, emergency services and construction. These are workplace choices. If 80% of the people who want to apply for a particular industry are men or women then why force gender balance? Doesn’t the sheer number of men or women applying for a particular type of job speak volumes about real interest? Should army recruiters in Australia face demotion if they don’t hit gender targets? Should we want our military to be a social experiment or the most capable force of defending a nation? If more men are willing and capable to serve in artillery battalions why should we deny them? Isn’t motivation a desirable trait?

Another flaw in the gender pay argument is that of classification. Stanford Professor Thomas Sowell suggested personal and workplace choices account for much of the gap…perhaps the biggest reason is biology. Women make up 50% of the workforce but give birth to 100% of the babies. And if women choose to have children, their incentives change and this affects their choices of jobs, careers, continual service and hours spent on the job…and data compiled from the Census Bureau, unmarried women who’ve never had a child actually earn more than unmarried men…according to the Labor Department, “of men and women who work 30 to 34 hours a week, women make more, 109 percent of men’s earnings.

Of Sowell’s points, continual service is important. If a woman takes 10 years out of the workforce to raise kids while her husband is able to continue in his job one would imagine prospects for promotion would be on balance higher than hers if she returned to the workforce after a long absence. It doesn’t preclude women couldn’t climb a ladder or overtake her hubby but on balance this is but one factor.

The gender pay gap is a statisticians dream. One could slice and dice it to get the result one wants. However isn’t it an insult to women to think they need a regulated leg up in life? Some of the most successful women Known to CM are determined and the last thing that crosses their mind is that being a women is an impediment. Their drive and determination was an inspiration.

The left leaning Fairfax Media is already pointing fingers at Australia to adopt Iceland’s lead. Just what Australian industry needs. More red tape.