Male pseudonyms and women in jobs

December 21st, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

Cupcakes and Mace linked to a blogger that used a male pseudonym and instantly saw a rise in the job offers and a pay increase.

To be honest, I don’t know how that makes me feel. Men still do earn a little bit more for doing the same jobs but to see such a spot on example of this prejudice in action is a lot harder to ignore that a statistic.

I just finished reading Malcom Gladwell’s book, Blink, which goes in-depth about the judgements humans make in the first impression. One study he talked about had symphony judges choose musicians through their music alone – with a wall set up between the musician and the critic. Women were suddenly getting offered positions in the symphony playing instruments that were considered manly, big cumbersome, low sounding things.

Gladwell suggested that in order for everyone to have a fair go at a job, we should remove gender, race and any other personal factor out of the applicant choosing process, leaving the bare bones of accomplishments to pick the best person for the job.

Here, here.

It turns out that by choosing a male name: James Chartrand, the pseudonym the female blogger used, she removed the inevitable questions that come with gender. A relationship, kids and family responsibilities seem to be a weight on only the female workers backs. Which, I believe, with all of me, is bullshit.

I don’t know how we can over-correct this. Fact of the matter is, it takes nine months of incubation for a woman to pop out a child. And sadly, most mothers do the hard legwork of raising the chubby balls of flesh while it’s acceptable for a male partner to go about as business per usual.

I know the Aussie government, and maybe the Brits as well are looking at extending male partner’s maternity leave to that of the woman involved in the child-making business. Which is great.

Feminism hasn’t even been around for a century. I don’t know how long it will take for equal opportunity to sink into our brains. It will be a slow, evolutionary process. At least, that’s what I keep on telling to myself when I see a reclining semi-nude woman selling toothpaste or beard shavers.

Will we have to use male pseudonyms until our collective human brain has been rewired? I’ll tell you one thing, our anonymous female blogger certainly made more impact by going out and being successful when she was believed to be male. Imagine if she had just written up a scathing blog post claiming prejudice because she was a single mother of two and wasn’t getting paid enough for her skill set. We’d blame it on the economy and think nothing of it.

What do you think?


December 13th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

© Denzil Jayasinghe

© Denzil Jayasinghe

Consistency, the last refuge of the unimaginative according to my idol Oscar Wilde.

Up until six months ago, this was my mantra. I think my career projected this: I now have a passionate appreciation of timber furniture and can use subversion in a pinch. But I’m now beginning to doubt this famous saying (isn’t every Oscar Wilde line famous?)

In an environment where you can’t control the people you deal with, which I suppose is work, school, family, basically everything but friends – it sucks dealing with erratic people.

If a person is persistently grumpy, you sympathise or come into the room guarded for the worse, if someone is consistently calm and friendly, you gravitate towards them and are more inclined to help them in a pinch. But either way you know where you stand. Unless, there is the token passive-aggressive. Oh my god. Then it fucking sucks. Especially for me, for you see, I don’t pick up on nuances.

I once flirted with a man for ten minutes before my dad took me aside and told me my future lover was gay. So subtly and me, not good. When you add a passive-aggressive person to my lack of subtlety cocktail why then, it’s painful to watch and could be made into a television series that lasts for ten years.

Inconsistency is awesome when you get lost in the middle of the night with your friends or you discover a love of peking duck pancakes but on a day to day basis, it kinda sucks ass.

Snow puddles

December 7th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

Snow puddle from Tash Jayasinghe on Vimeo.

My 15-year-old sister is staying with me for seven weeks. The first time she saw snow, she must have been two years old. We went to the Snowy Mountains, she spent her time eating the brown slush off the ground while I bruised my ten-year-old bum on rocky toboggan slides.

Today, we jumped around the three day old slush, 15,989 km away from the Snowy Mountains while we waited for a bus. If she ate the snow, I didn’t see it.

We’re on a grand adventure as of Saturday, off to Aruba, New York and Canada. Hot then cold. She asked for a white Christmas and Toronto is going to give it.