The Good 4 Utah, Gender Equality Bake Sale article opened up with he following line, “Here’s a quiz. 2 cookies, 2 chocolate chip cookies, exactly the same. Yet one sells for a dollar, the other 77 cents. Why? Because in America, for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 77 cents. So we’re raising awareness for this…” said Kari Schott with the Young Democrats Club at Jordan High School.” (good4utah.com) It is great that this bake sale was organized to spread awareness about the gender wage gap, it’s problematic that the chocolate cookies are the same. Why? Well since the cookies are the same it implies that men and women are exactly the same and that other factors such as race and sexuality for example do not have an impact to a person’s pay wage, when in fact it does. The bake sale fails to acknowledge intersectionality or gender diversity and it’s role in society and thus perpetuates a white cis-gendered feminist agenda, as opposed to a feminist agenda that acknowledges the differences amongst the population of all feminists. Whilst I acknowledge it is a great idea for awareness, it definitely fails in many ways.
Intersectionality is hugely overlooked within today’s society and perhaps because it makes introducing and educating others about these issues so complex. The bottom line is you cannot look at a situation through a single lens. For example, let’s say Fred is a queer, Jewish, cis-gendered man. Fred can only be viewed within the contexts of being a queer, jewish, cis-gendered man. His queerness can not be separated from his Jewish and cis-gendered perspectives and vice versa. We must view Fred on a whole as a queer, Jewish, cis-gendered man and we must observe how the different planes of his identity intersect, overlap, and interact with each other. The bake sale fails to do this by only breaking up the categories into Men and Women. This is also problematic because there are a wide range of gender identities that are not simply cis-gendered men, and a cis-gendered women, when in fact there are transgendered, intersex and other genders to be considered. Gender and Race have been known to affect pay wages and employment rates, for example in Canada, “…all racialized groups—except those who identify as Japanese and Filipino—tend to find themselves on the unemployment line more often than non-racialized Canadians. Racialized men are 24% more likely to be unemployed than non-racialized men. Racialized women have it worse: They’re 48% more likely to be unemployed than non-racialized men. This may contribute to the fact that racialized women earn 55.6% of the income of non-racialized men.” (Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market, 2011) That is only amongst racialized populations, non-conforming gendered and disabled people are affected as well, again the bake sale has simply oversimplified the gender wage gap issue.
I personally felt that the bake sale was neat idea to raise awareness, after all anything yummy does attract people’s attention especially within the highs school setting. Though there should’ve been an attempt to diversify the baked goods, because in life not everyone is a chocolate chip cookie. The world has been made for chocolate chip cookies! So what are the brownies, cakes, Nanaimo bars, hard candies, baklava, tongyuan, mochi balls, cakes and pies (etc.) supposed to do? Surely the Chocolate cookies can’t speak for everyone. With the lack of representation and acknowledgement of these other diverse groups and issues that pertain to those groups, fixing these problems will be even harder if these issues are not brought to the forefront. We cannot fight for the equality of all women, for by saying so is assuming that all women have the exact same issues which homogenizes the group. Within that homogenized group some women’s issues a hierarchy will appear and some issue’s will become more of a priority than others for example white feminists’ priorities will be taken more seriously over a radicalized feminist’s priorities.
For some constructive criticism for the bake sale, I do not expect a high school bake sale to have a massive, diverse plethora of desserts to represent each non-white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, straight person out there. However, what I do expect is some attempt at demonstrating diversity. Have different desserts for the racialized, the disabled and queer gendered, and include a disclaimer that all groups are not represented due to the diversity of lives in America/ North America or wherever. It’s OK to acknowledge the impossibility of representing everyone at a bake sale. The fact that there is some acknowledgment to diversity opens up the opportunity for bake sale buyers to learn about the different groups out there. I would want the bake sale organizers to let it be known that the gender pay gap in America is not as black and white as being an issue between only men and women. It is an issue that involved all the parts of a person’s identity and we must investigate and acknowledge that.
(I apologize for the lateness 😦 Also I love the theme of food)