The Sexist

“Mancession” Acheives Phallic Gender Parity

Yesterday, the New York Times' Cahterine Rampell detailed how the current recession has nearly achieved a "bittersweet" parity between the genders in the workforce—because men are more likely to lose their jobs than women in hard times. Rampell accompanies her analysis with this graph:


Commenters on the Times' Web site offered celebration, concern, and schoolyard commentary:

"Great …they can pay for dinner, vacation, etc," wrote one commenter, writing under the name "$".

"Careful lest people think you not only want gains for women, but losses for men. As long as women are ahead, it’s all good!" snarked another.

And the inevitable: "Is it just a coincidence that the first chart looks like a horizontal phallic symbol?"

Sigh. Of COURSE the "mancession" yields clearly phallic statistical data! If there's any silver lining to men losing, it's that they'll have a lot more time on their hands to uncover all the secret penis line drawings hidden in everyday objects. Too bad only I get paid to do shit like that!

  • Mrs. D

    Given a few basic facts: men are more likely to work in manufacturing, young women are now more likely to have a college degree, the hard hit financial sector is overwhelmingly male; this is totally not shocking. What I DO find interesting is the point in 2006 where male employment increased while female employment decreased. I'd like to know what happened there more than what's happening now...what's happening now is just obvious.

    And doesn't Mr. $ realize that one of the main reasons why women DON'T pay for dinner et al is because of men's contrived notions about social roles. You whip out that credit card in front of him and it'll be over faster than you can say "breadwinner" 99% of the time. Coming from the perspective of "all my friends are educated and successful women"...I RARELY hear anyone complain about a man not paying for stuff, but frequently hear complaints that the ladies are not permitted to pay (and the dudes get really insulted if we offer to). And from the other side of the table, while you often hear "we wish women would pay more often," I also RARELY hear a man talk about "our" house or "our" car, even when the wife is contributing.

  • Amanda Hess

    Here's some more information, from Calculated Risk, about why this particular statistical data is a bit misleading: It's a representation of the number of positions that men and women hold, not the number of actual humans in the work force. So, when a woman holds two part-time positions at a time (which Calculated Risk posits), she would be represented as 2 points for the positions instead of one point for the person. Calculated Risk says "perhaps women are more likely to work two jobs"---though I don't have any figures on that. Here's their analysis of the data (accompanied by a significantly less phallic graph):

  • Dave

    I'm curious if there's any sort of correlation between virility and employment. Does my joblessness make me more of a man?

    "I also RARELY hear a man talk about “our” house or “our” car, even when the wife is contributing." I hear women bring this up, because it's generally true, but often misinterpreted. It's not sexist, but territorial. I frequently mention "my town," although I hold no political office, and I enjoy a beer or two at "my bar," despite the previously mentioned unemployment.

  • Mrs. D

    Yes, Amanda, there are a number of factors causing this, the 2-jobs thing possibly one of them. I was just pointing out the most obvious. A larger percentage of men are likely to lose their jobs than women in this recession given the industries hit, while the newest entries in the workforce feature well-educated females who compete directly with and displace men. But the 2-job thing might explain the opposite trends circa 2006...maybe, MAYBE, as more men are employed women less frequently need to work 2 jobs and THAT causes the hit, not women leaving the workforce altogether. Actually, I like that explanation, it gives me hope that it's not some Bush-era baby boom or something. :)

    And Dave, while I disagree with the comparison between "my town" and "my house (that my wife also lives in, takes care of, and pays 50% for)," I can admit that I have no evidence that the word choice is patently sexist. It might be latently sexist in the sense that men DID own their homes exclusively not so long ago and we just haven't revamped the language. Or it could be territorial. But could you send out an FYI to cut it out? Respect the woman who helped put you in that home by acknowledging her existence. :)

  • Amanda Hess

    @Mrs. D --- You're quite right, of course. I meant the comment as an addition to your analysis, not a rebuttal. As a word-minded person, I can use all the economics help I can get :)

    @Dave --- I'm confident there's some penis-shaped graph to be made from this virility vs. employment hypothesis.

  • Jim

    "@Dave — I’m confident there’s some penis-shaped graph to be made from this virility vs. employment hypothesis."

    And I suppose there is a vagina-shaped graph that could be made from the economy circling the drain.

  • Q™

    @Jim, LOL! Most of the research points gathered hear make sense, but really...REALLY did it take a graph to bring that to one's consciousness? I have a pretty good imagination but when I looked at the graph initially, I didn't see a phallic symbol. It's obvious where some of your minds are, LOL!

    Extrapolating current trends, sometime in say Jan 2010 the graphs will converge and there goes your phallic image. Enjoy it while you can.