Monday, 4 January 2016

Why The Wage Gap Argument Persists

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn.

Quickie here as it's a response to a tweet. I hope my shorthand here is understandable:

"no-one has refuted the pay gap" (pic of bemused looking manga girl)

My response
It hasn't. Studies showing there are POSSIBLY other factors do not constitute a refutation.

Response (combined from 2 tweets)
taking in all factors beside gender it minimizes to 6 or 2 cents. and even then there is no evidence its caused by gendered discrimination on the wages. god in the gaps is your answer

Rather than attempt to condense my response into a tweet or a few tweets, I'll do it here.

First, a clarification of my tweet. I've looked at the studies that have been done that are normally cited to try to discredit the wage gap. When I said that the studies POSSIBLY show that the gap can be explained by other factors, what I'm referring to here is the fact that just because a study, or studies, have been done purporting to show that the wage gap can be explained by other factors, doesn't mean you've debunked the wage gap argument. In order to debunk the argument, you have to show that the gap CANNOT be explained by gender discrimination. None of the studies I've seen at least ever try to claim this, in fact, when it comes to studies in general, I tend to find repeated disclaimers about not over-interpreting the results.

Now you may argue that this is not possible to do, and you'd be right. This is precisely why the argument persists. My own position is that I think the studies have a lot of merit in explaining MOST of the wage gap AT PRESENT, but, having made my point that the wage gap argument CANNOT ever be fully debunked, I believe we should always keep an eye on it, keep doing studies to assess why there is an absolute wage gap, what explanatory factors are involved, and that as little of it as possible is caused by discrimination, implicit or otherwise. This leads me to my next point: the statement that there is no evidence it's caused by discrimination is flat-out false. It takes nothing more than looking at the Wikipedia page to find links to studies that have demonstrated this. Even if I grant that, however, the POTENTIAL always exists. We do not live in a police state. Businesses, no matter where you live, have some degree of freedom to hire and fire, and no regulatory process will ever screen out discrimination entirely. A counter-balance is always necessary to make sure that discrimination doesn't run rampant, and, in following on from my earlier point, I think a reason why the argument is still made is precisely to provide this counter-balance.

Finally, "god in the gaps" is not relevant here. "God in the gaps" refers to science eliminating the number of possible contexts under which a god can exist and religious people squeezing it into the remaining ones. The existence of a supernatural god is practically unprovable by definition. On the other hand, we know that gender discrimination happens. We know that it has happened in the past. We know that we have subconscious and conscious attitudes that may lead us to believe that women are not just physically weaker than men, but possibly psychologically too. In order for feminists to have a valid point, they need only demonstrate that there is doubt that the wage gap is FULLY explained by non-discriminatory causes, and, as I've said, this doubt always exists.

To summarize, the issue of whether the wage gap "exists" isn't one that interests me. It fundamentally misses the point. The point is that discrimination can and does happen. We need to keep doing these studies and we need to realize whether you're feminist, anti-feminist or indifferent, that the wage gap isn't a weapon to use against the other side, but a tool to help vanquish the discrimination that we all agree shouldn't happen.


On New Year's Resolutions

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn!

Also, happy new year.

I'm uploading a video while typing this and the two things are related. The video was surprisingly hard to make. Back when I was still living with my parents (from 2 years ago onward), I got overheard making videos twice. They didn't know what I was doing, and still don't, but it permanently affected how I made videos from that point on. I've given many excuses about why I don't make videos, and many of them are true, but fear in general plays a large part. Moreover, this fear is only tiny portion of a much larger reservoir of fear that affects my life.

I've met 2 people from YouTube. I was unusually talkative around them, but mostly I don't talk much at all. I've found that the "rules" set by my fear work like this: I can respond to questions people ask. I can respond in conversations as long as I'm loosely within the same topic. In the 10 years that have passed since I discovered this fear (I'll explain about that later), I have improved by being able to say hi to people, parrot back questions about how they're doing by asking how they're doing, and I would say I'm almost normal online with people I know well. There is still, however, much work to be done.

As for making videos, the neighbours I have in the flat closest to me are very loud. I can hear them talking all the time. This makes me self-conscious about the fact that they can probably hear me, calling to mind the situation I mentioned earlier about my parents. I had to face that fear to make the video. In addition, it is a video which I can practically guarantee will receive backlash as it is, at least in part, defending a feminist view. While I have always encouraged constructive criticism, and always will, less constructive criticism has affected my attitude to making videos in the past, most notably and recently, concerning the hypotheticals I posited about rewiring the brain. There were 2 videos: one about the use of the technology on prisoners, the other about improving yourself. This was met by particularly strong criticism: they claimed I didn't understand the neuroscience (although no further explanation was given), they opposed the technology on ethical grounds, and they pointed to suffering as something that is to be admired for its ability to build character, whereas the technology could bypass this process.

Clearly, this fear is toxic to my attempts to make videos, something that I continue to maintain that I want to do. This is why my one resolution for this year is to dismantle all of these fears, and to give myself the psychological tools to prevent it from returning. A lot of resolutions fail either because the original goal was too lofty, progress wasn't happening quick enough regardless, the routine of doing this new thing you don't really want to do (you only want the end benefits) becomes impossible to commit to, or you just like pizza and burgers too much. This isn't a resolution in the traditional sense. I want to overcome this fear but, more importantly, I NEED to. Each day that passes is another day that I've wasted due to this, and, now that we are arguably in the "late 2010s", I am inarguably in my late 20s. The idea of becoming 30 and to still be afflicted by this is unacceptable. That is why the fear must not survive another year. I wouldn't simply "quite like" to lose this fear the way people would "quite like" to lose a few pounds. I MUST DO IT. I will not accept failure. I'm posting this here to hold my future self accountable. From personal experience, there is no question I will feel like I want to give up. It is then that I read to myself the following passage:

"You are 26. Possibly even 27. With each passing day, another possibility is out of reach because you didn't commit now. Your fear is irrational. You know better than that fear. I am you on a better day telling you here and now that you are not done. You will not do this to us. You will continue. This is not just self-help advice you came up with on the spot, this is what you need to drill into your head right now to regain your belief that you can do this. Your 30-something self, your 40-something self, and everything after that depends on you taking this fear to the ground now. Don't let these future selves look back at you with regret and shame. Make the difference now."

Since my return I promised to hack that return so that I would stay back. There have been lapses but I have still made videos and posted here. I must continue to do that, and this post is the end result of some of that self-hacking. I will continue in 2016. The Orygyn at the end of the year has always been different to the Orygyn at the beginning, and that will be more true of this year than any of the previous 8. I am, as of this moment, singularly focused on that being the case.