Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson
What do they all have in common?
They are all superstars known around the world. Their music is known, if not loved, by people of multiple generations, in multiple countries – English speaking or not – regardless of what kind of music anyone usually listens too.
Have you noticed the other thing they all have in common? Did you guess it yet? Yes, they are all men.
This brings to mind a couple other observations and questions that show up on social media or in the media in general:
- In many industries, women still have to work twice as hard to get half as much attention or reap half as many rewards as men. Why is that?
- Why are there not near as many opportunities for women as men in the entertainment industry, pro sports, or corporate America?
Either way, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t name one woman that has made the same impact on the Music industry as those three names I mentioned above. The same could be said for Professional Team Sports as well as White Collar Corporate America.
Why is that do you suppose? Well, this is what I think.
Before we get going here, keep in mind that the opinions I’m expressing in this document are mine, and mine alone. And they are just that, opinions. They are based on my personal experiences [as a straight woman vs. gay] and observations over my 60+ years of life. All of the numbers and percentages I mention simply come from talking with friends, coworkers, family members and acquaintances I’ve made while working as an IT Professional in corporate America for 40+ years, and are merely loose estimates. If you take issue with any of my opinions or numbers, I welcome your input and it’d be great if you could add your comments below and include links to sites that would help boost or shoot down my personal opinions; I’m still not too old to learn something new.
Again, this is strictly a thought piece and in no way am I intending it to be taken as fact. So I ask that as you’re reading, think about your own feelings, views, and behaviors, and be honest with yourself.
Professional Team Sports
Ok, now, let’s start with sports.
I’ll state right up front, as a woman, I could care less about any team sports, male or female.
How about you? Do you watch football on TV? Do you have a favorite team you root for? Do you buy team shirts and/or spend hundreds of dollars said shirts, tickets, or tailgating events? If you’re a woman, do you mostly participate in all of this to show support for your boyfriend or husband?
Now think about it and be honest: If there was a female football league, would you watch the games on TV? Would you spend the same amount of money on team shirts, tickets, and tailgating events?
I think there was an attempt years ago to form an all-female football league, but yeah, that didn’t go very far. Or maybe it was baseball. I can’t remember, but it really doesn’t matter does it? After all, it’s not around today.
There is a female Pro Basketball league… But do you watch the games? Do you know the players and their stats? Do you wear their team jerseys? Can you name a team or a player?
Pro Baseball, forget it. Women don’t have a chance.
The only time some women get excited about women in sports is if we’re talking about individual sports such as ice-skating, skiing, tennis, golf, or gymnastics. Even most of those only bring in the viewers and dollars when the Olympics come around every four years. (Oh, while I was discussing this with my very male friend, he pointed out that he’d watch women play golf because most of them look like models.)
See the thing here is that men get all excited about male-dominated pro sports, but women, well, they are about 50/50 on any of these, if that. And when it comes to pro female sports, I’ve not talked with a single man who cares about them. And, well, you can barely get women interested in playing them, let alone get excited about them. (Although a few female athletes want to play on the men’s teams.)
To summarize, men and women support men in professional sports; Men don’t care about women in professional sports and less than 10% of all women care about them.
Let’s take a look at the entertainment industry again.
What names have stood the test of time like Elvis, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson?
I think some others are working on it: How many of you get excited about Harrison Ford movies? Or Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman or Denzel Washington, the “Terminator,” Sly or the Rock? It was pretty easy to pull these names out of my hat. These guys and their movies have gained popularity around the world thus, are a sure-fire box-office hit. They are all a “man’s man” and it’s safe to say that both men and women would get excited to hear that any one of them is making a new movie.
Notice any female names on that list? Sorry, but none really came to mind when I started typing.
But if we look at female actors, the only name that came to my mind that hasn’t faded with time is Marilyn Monroe. (Although her talent can’t compare to the multitalented Elvis.) After that, I really had to stop and think again. Ok, Cher and Dolly Parton are pretty well known and their talent could be said to be on par with Elvis.
I mean seriously, the Wonder Woman movie kicked ass but how many of you can remember the name of the female lead? And be honest, how many female actors’ names get you all excited when you hear they’re making a new movie? Most men could say Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Anniston and stop. But would they run out and buy a ticket as soon as they hear that one of these ladies is making a new movie? Would a woman?
I think it’s safe to say that it’s pretty sketchy as to how many men or women are ready to open their checkbooks just because of a female lead. So I’ll be generous and put it this way:
100% of men and women will support men in music and movies.
Only about 25 – 50% of men and women will support women in the entertainment industry.
Now, how do things work in the white collar, corporate world?
When you hear talk about “leaders of the industry,” whatever industry it is, some names that might come to mind immediately are Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Rob Reiner, George Lucas, and even Donald Trump before he was president. It appears to me that men always look up to men…rarely do they look up to women.
Oh wait, some women might look up to Oprah, or Ellen? Yeah, that’s a short list.
Do you ever hear anyone, male or female, talk about how much they could learn from a female CEO? How many men get all excited about working for a woman? They don’t…they joke about it, re The Proposal, or make them out to be a bitch, re The Devil Wears Prada.
I think that it’s safe to conclude that few people, men or women, are excited about women in Corporate America.
Both men and women will watch men, and everyone gets excited about male singers, athletes, actors, and leaders, but it’s very rare that men or women will get excited about women being strong (physically or mentally) or outstanding at anything.
Which means, here it comes…
It’s all about MONEY!!!
With less than a quarter of the people in this country (maybe even the world) willing to put their effort, therefore their money, into women’s interests, there’s not nearly as much money to be made by pushing to have more women in any of these areas. That my friends is why are there not more opportunities for women in the entertainment industry, sports, or leadership in corporate America.
Why do you suppose men and women support men in everything, but less than half the men or women support other women?
(Here’s an interesting article on the subject that just showed up on my Twitter feed: Dear Feminists: I’m already a woman in combat )
There’s the million dollar question!
Based on my observations since the mid 60’s, this is what I think:
I think it’s the nature of both beasts.
No, no, now don’t get all pissed off and indignant. Hear me out.
Again, based on my experience and observation over 45 + years, the basic male ego still doesn’t play well with strong women.
Yes, there are some men who are very secure in their maleness and are confident in their knowledge and abilities so they don’t have a problem with women in positions of power. But those are still the exception, not the rule. That said, I’m pretty sure all straight men love looking at beautiful women regardless of their relationship status (the man’s or the woman’s).
Straight women overall, well, they just aren’t too fond of strong women either. And while most may appreciate and look at a beautiful woman, they sure don’t want “their” man looking at or appreciating her.
Generally speaking, women really don’t want other women to have what they can’t have such as a man, the attention of men, the big office, or the better job, even if they don’t want it themselves. There’s the kicker! (Oh, and women are very competitive but no one talks about that and no one will admit to it either – unless it’s regarding sports – because it’s still considered “unattractive.”)
And we all know how nasty men or women can be if they simply feel someone is encroaching on their “territory.” Men, as well as women, will do their best to sabotage their perceived enemy whether it be by lying, backstabbing, or teaming up against them. Both have the ability to be sneaky as hell in the process.
Do you disagree? Jot a quick note in the comments below and let me know.
Can This Be Changed?
In my opinion, yes and no. I think it’s a matter of evolution driven by desire.
Hmm, the desire… Well, I still see a lot of conflict between men and women regarding traditional roles, so the desire of both parties is not 100%. I think the desire might be about 50% women and 25% men. Which is a lot better than it was in 1950. And I think it’ll change even more in time. (Although I remember when my mom (who is 85) hoped this would all change by the time I grew up. I’m 60 now and nope, the numbers haven’t changed. Maybe when my granddaughter grows up.)
However, there are still a lot of men and women out there who are very much OK with traditional male/ female roles. When I say “traditional” I mean there are many women who still love the idea of a big, strong man taking care of her and bringing home the paycheck, while she keeps their home in order and raises the kids. And there are many men who appreciate this lifestyle as well. For women like me who raised kids as a single mom and worked full time, I still appreciate a man who can do the heavy lifting that I physically can’t do. Not only does that help me, but a hard working man working up a sweat is nice to look at. (And I notice that he likes me looking at him!)
Should we really begrudge those for whom these roles work quite well?
Regarding the evolution part of this, I think we all know that evolution takes millions of years. And things evolve usually based upon a physical and probably a little emotional necessity. (I’m just trying to draw on my evolution and dinosaur classes from way back!) So I think that until that desire and necessity to have all male and female traits be exactly the same on both sides of the coin, we could be waiting a long-ass time. Maybe men and women will be further evolved in my granddaughter’s lifetime.
Hmmm but, this poses another question:
Do you really want a society where all people have (what is still considered) male AND female traits?
Hmm, I got nothing for that one. Sounds like another debate for another day.
Either way, until these things change, I honestly believe that women will continue to have to work twice as hard to reap half as many benefits as men (recognition and financial) because they don’t get nearly as much support (financially or emotionally) from men or women, that men get.
I’m dying to hear if you agree or disagree with these views, and how it all makes you feel:
Add your thoughts below!
Janet M. Carter