For every dollar a man makes, a woman makes only 77 cents. This is the main gender inequality issue that a few women brought to the attention of their fellow schoolmates at Jordan High School in Utah. These female advocates had a bake sale where males had to pay a full dollar for a cookie, while females only had to pay 77 cents. One of the members of the Young Democrats Club, Kari Schott, stated that “On social media […] people got really mad, like they came up and talked to me […]. They didn’t think it was fair and I said yeah, it’s not fair. That’s why we’re doing it” (ABC 4 Utah). The Young Democrats members received much feedback from the students who experienced the inequality first hand, some expressing that men and women deserve equal pay and some critiquing the statistics. This kind of talk is what the Young Democrats club wanted to achieve because it allowed people to consider their thoughts and biases towards the issue, then reevaluate their own opinions about the patriarchy that is still prevalent in today’s society despite the equality claims.
The women of the Young Democrats club at Jordan HS have blatantly brought out the fact that such gender inequality exists. In relation to Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, male privilege, the advantages made available to men because of their sex, is something that’s often be hidden from society, whether it intends to be or not. McIntosh states that “males are taught not to recognize male privilege”, which is exactly why Jordan HS’s Young Democrats club saw the importance of pulling attention to the issue. Often times, people do not recognize their own privileges, so Schott and the other members of the Young Democrats club ensured that this inequality was no longer invisible to their peers who otherwise may have thought that gender equality, equal treatment and access to resources for men and women (Aulette and Wittner), was fully implemented in society.
In “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, McIntosh highlights the fact that men won’t admit that they are over privileged, even if they know that women are disadvantaged. Jake Knaphus, a Jordan HS student stated in response to the gender equality bake sale; “I believe in what they’re doing. I believe in their standing for a cause, but I just don’t believe the statistics they’re using are correct. I would love to have a debate with them, about what they believe in” (ABC 4 Utah). Knaphus confirms McIntosh’s ideas almost word for word. Knaphus was likely feeling some degree of victimization from the gender equality bake sale and therefore tried to stand up for himself and his rights. This is the exact response that the Young Democrats club wanted to receive in hopes that people would realize that with every 77 cents a woman receives, she is made to feel significantly undervalued compared to men, especially when doing equal work.
After the Women’s Liberation Movement, a social movement that promoted gender equality in the mid-twentieth century (Aulette and Wittner), many people were under the influence that gender equality had been achieved. However, society proves to continue to be influenced by gender inequality. Several examples can be seen in Faludi’s “Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women”, such as the fact that the majority of women are being paid less than $20, 000 per year, nearly double the male rate (Faludi xiii). Or that female college graduates earn less than males who have high school diplomas, and a female high school graduate will typical earn less than a male dropout (Faludi xiii). According to Faludi, it is legal for husbands to rape their wives in 30 states, and only 10 states have laws against domestic violence (xiv). This patriarchy, when men hold the power and women are excluded from it, helps show that women’s rights were nowhere near liberated by the Women’s Movement because there is still a great deal of gender inequality that suppresses (arrests the development of a feeling, action, or expression) women and their rights as human beings.
When we think about the male privilege, gender inequality, and patriarchy that can be seen throughout society and proved by simple acts such as the gender equality bake sale, it leads us to the idea that if women are treated so unfairly when compared to men, then the inequality in regards to intersectionality, the connectedness of social categorizations, of race and gender, would be of an even larger issue. For example, if the same equality bake sale was conducted, but with females of colour versus white males, or even deeper as to cisgender, self-identity follows the gender that corresponds to their assigned sex, white males versus transgendered, when a person’s gender identity does not match their assigned sex (Aulette and Wittner), females of colour. These situations would produce an even larger response because the privileges in these situations would be much larger and in some sense much more invisible if no attention is drawn to them.
In order for improvements to be made in regards to the privileges that people have over others, the invisible knapsack must be unpacked, to use McIntosh’s terms. People need to pay attention to language and be aware of how they express their own privileges and the privileges they are trying to pull attention to.
Aulette, Judy R., and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. Third ed. New York: Oxford Universty Press, 2015. Print
Carlisle, Randall. “Gender Equality Bake Sale Causes Stir at Utah High School.” Good4Utah. Nexstar Broadcasting, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2015.
Faludi, Susan. “Introduction: Blame It on Feminism.” Backlash : The Undeclared War against American Women 1 (1991): Xi-Xxiii. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Web log post. Amptoons.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2015. <http://amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html>.