The world’s highest paid TV actors: take a wild guess about gender balance

Big Bang Theory cast. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Big Bang Theory cast.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

There’s a list out today of the world’s 15 highest paid tv actors.

Big Bang Theory actors are the world’s highest paid television stars in 2015

Before you take a look at the list, take a really wild, out there guess about the gender balance in that list. 50:50 male female?

Knowing what you do already about pay equity and gender pay gaps, perhaps you’ll go for something a little more skewed in favour of men. 75:25 male female? Maybe even 80:20?

Well, thank you for playing.  Those of you who guessed 100:0 are right.

1. Jim Parsons – $US29 million – male

2. Johnny Galecki – $US27 million – male

3. Mark Harmon – $US20 million – male

4. Simon Helberg – $US20 million – male

5. Kunal Nayyar – $US20 million – male

6. Ashton Kutcher – $US20 million – male

7. Jon Cryer – $US15 million – male

8. Ray Romano – $US15 million – male

9. Patrick Dempsey – $US12 million – male

10. Simon Baker – $US12 million – male

11. Ty Burrell – $US11.5 million – male

12. Jesse Tyler Ferguson – $US11 million – male

13. Ed O’Neill – $US10.5 million – male

14. Eric Stonestreet – $US10.5 million – male

15. Kevin Spacey – $US9.5 million – male

All four main male characters from Big Bang Theory are on the list, but not Kaley Cuoco.

I’m guessing that may be a problem with the way the list was constructed, because reports have said that Ms Cuoco is paid over $1million an episode, like her male co-stars.

But that’s the other problem with the list. If it’s inaccurate, then it’s helping to reinforce the idea that women are worth less than men.

Grump grump grump.

Thank you for playing, but you’re wrong!

My university has an on-going series of quirky ads, presenting young people as innovative and fresh-thinking and deeply interested in ideas and technology and science and study. Some of the creative material puzzles me a little, but I figure I’m not really the target demographic.

The latest ad features a young woman walking on water.

Massey2

I love it. The young woman in the ad is Catherine Cater, a Massey university student. She looks like so many of the young women I see around campus. Happy, confident, focused on their own work, doing some extraordinary things. In the ad, Catherine is very much absorbed in what she is doing. She looks reflective, and deeply engaged. She is not there as decoration to sell something: she is there as an active part of the narrative about the university.

But of course, there’s someone who thinks that the ad is a travesty.

She came to me as if in a dream. She was beckoning and calling to me like a pixie vixen, tempting me to move away from the House of Waikato. She wanted me to surrender and be with her kind. But where was she from? Was she real? A fantasy? A sorcerer’s trick? What game was she on and how could mere mortals play?

She was tempting and titillating. She was feminine and full of grace. She appeared to be from the House of Massey and she was perfect.

My fairy queen appeared as a deity, an academic goddess, the perfect maiden of Massey. She is the temptress. And I was caught by her charms.

Without saying so in as many words, it’s clear that the writer thinks that this ad is sexist, and that it’s all about using sex to sell Massey. He carries on to worry about the way that universities advertise themselves, but it’s curious that he’s only chosen to engage with this advertising campaign now, when it has been running since sometime last year (as far as I can recall).

So, thank you for playing, sir! But YOU”RE OUT!

The writer has totally eliminated the young woman in the ad from his analysis, and dreamed up a fantasy woman instead. Where I see a young woman who is doing exactly what we hope young women will do, that is, focus on their own hopes and dreams, focus on the extraordinary things that they can achieve, focus on achievement, the writer turns her into some kind of sexual object. The objectification going on here is done entirely by the writer. From the writing, it seems that the only way he can react to the young woman is by casting her in a sexual way. He focuses entirely on her as a sexual object, in a way that I think is well beyond the image in the advertisement.

The only problem here is the writer.

Catherine Cater herself puts it so well.

University is evolving, students are changing, and perhaps if you were to step away from the games you seem to enjoy – judging by your use of language – you yourself would see that too. But what would I know? I’m just a stereotypical ‘hot chick’ with no real intelligence and use besides marketing ploys, why would my opinion matter?,” she wrote.

Your aim was to call Massey out on a sexist ad, but in doing so have shown your views to be outdated and sexist all on their own.

For the record, I’ve written this post entirely on my own, my employer has nothing to do with it, and I was only alerted to the opinion piece because a story about it popped up in the local newspaper: Massey University’s new “I am” ad sparks debate. That is where I found Catherine Cater’s own defence of the ads.

No girls allowed

There’s a new man in the Vatican, and he seems to be a humble man. He’s not interested in all the pomp and glory, not does he want to lead an isolated life. So instead of living in the grand (grandiose?) papal apartments, he’s going to live at St Martha’s House.

Pope stays put in St Martha’s House

His reason for doing this? He likes living in community.

Pope Bergoglio’s fondness for community life in St. Martha’s House is quite obvious to everyone. The chance of meeting people, sitting down for meals with them, sharing parts of his day with the other residents and celebrating mass in a chapel that is able to hold a good number of people: all these reasons contributed to Francis’ decision to stay, which he communicated to the other guests of St. Martha’s House, first of all to the fifty priests and monsignors who work in the Roman Curia and were able to return to their rooms following the Conclave.

Isn’t that nice? The Vatican Insider certainly thinks so, saying that:

Bergoglio has essentially chosen normality. A normality and approachability that has struck representatives of other Christian denominations in recent days, particularly the Orthodox delegations representing the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow, who were glad to have had the opportunity to sit down to table with the Pope.

It’s all about “normality”.

Except there’s just one critical facet of “normality” that Pope Francis and the Vatican Insider have overlooked.

St Martha’s House is a no-girls-allowed zone. The hostel is for priests and prelates. And in the Roman Catholic church, those priests and prelates are all men. So there will be no chance meetings with women, no possibility of a casual conversation that might give the pope an insight into women’s lives and women’s realities, no passing the time of day with members of half the human race.

Mind you, it’s not quite true that there are no women in St Martha’s House. The House is run by members of the order of Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. That’s right. There are women there, to do the housework.

And that’s normal, isn’t it?

How bankers save money

I never knew that you could save so much money through such simple measures.

Twenty money-saving tips from bankers and their wives

So many helpful hints. Like, take the kids to a cheaper ski resort this year, or sell your country home. Or (and this one is very revealing)…

“Stop carrying a wedge of cash around with you,” said the ex-Goldman banker. “It reduces the temptation to tip people so much.”

But I think that this one was my favourite one – Make Your Wife Do The Ironing!

Another banker, who used to work at Goldman Sachs and now runs his own business, said he gets his wife to iron his shirts nowadays. “At Goldman there was a service in the basement where I dropped my shirts off for a fee, but now I ask Jane to do it for me,” he said.

“The wife is doing the ironing,” another banker told us. “She’s not loving it, but she doesn’t want to get a job herself so is having to accept it.”

Alas, I don’t have a wife to do the ironing for me.

H/T: Pharyngula

So what could Seth McFarlane have sung about, and actually been funny?

Apparently we are supposed to excuse Seth McFarlane’s misogyny and racism on the grounds that he was being funny, and sending up Hollywood stereotypes, and it was edgy and really we should admire him for being so transgressive.

Here’s what Echidne of the Snakes had to say about his monumental fail.

I think MacFarlane wanted to shock. That’s why the built-in false-angry reactions by a few of the women mentioned in the song. We are supposed to admire his gall at shocking those famous actors and being naughty while doing so. Except that jokes about boobs or talking about boobs or pictures about boobs are not shocking. They are boringly universal and impossible to avoid on the Internet. There’s nothing subversive about such jokes. Indeed, they are as traditional as white sliced bread and Miracle Whip.

So what would something really subversive and transgressive look like at the Oscars? Something that really set out to subvert the dominant structures, and speak truth to power?

There is so much material. Here’s a suggestion. What about a song based on the Bechdel test? As it turns out, just three of the nine pictures nominated for best picture at the 2013 Oscars pass the Bechdel test, and even then, some of those three movies only scrape in by meeting the technical requirements of the test. And those standards aren’t even very high: all a movie needs to do to pass the test is to have two or more female characters, who have names, who have a conversation, that is not about a man.

I can imagine a great routine based on parodying movies that don’t pass the Bechdel test. And I can imagine senior movie makers squirming in their seats as they are called out for their on-going insistence that women don’t matter, or that they only matter as accessories to men. That would be speaking truth to power.

And you could run a similar routine with respect to people of colour in Hollywood movies. That would be very telling indeed. How many mainstream Hollywood films have characters played by people of colour, with names, who have a conversation, that is not about a white person. Even The Help struggles to pass this one.

Of course, you would have to do a bit of thinking, and a bit of research, to carry these routines off. And you would be in danger of offending people who have power in the industry you work in. But that would be truly subversive and edgy humour.

Also, before you say, “Can’t you take a joke?”, the answer is, as I said to my lovely friend Megan, “Yes. I can. But this wasn’t a joke.” There’s a reason why “Can’t you take a joke?” is the centre block in anti-feminist bingo.

How to illustrate a story about falling sperm counts

So how should one illustrate a story about falling sperm counts?

Headless pregnant woman

Headless pregnant woman

With a headless pregnant woman, of course!

Well done, New Zealand Herald. Well done.

Tick the tropes: men’s illness = women’s problem, women as bearers of fetuses, women responsible for the human race, women reduced to a state of pregnancy, women reduced to body parts. Any more?

Cross posted

Singing our song

Women in Australia, and all throughout the world have been chortling with glee today, delighting in every word of Julia Gillard’s truly wonderful speech calling Tony Abbott out on his appalling misogyny.

For nearly three years now, Abbott has used the most sexist epithets against Gillard, and against women. He has tolerated the use of words such as bitch, witch, “that woman”, allowed his supporters to use vile language against her, told Australian women that they ought to get back to doing the ironing, that they just don’t have what it takes to be a leader.

Gillard has simply taken it all. She has had to. We know what happens to women who dare to fight back. They are simply subjected to a further round of abuse, derided as shrill harridans who can’t take a joke. Abuse, followed by dismissal. She simply could not afford to fight back. She had to (pretend to) ignore it all.

How demoralising that has been all of us. When Gillard took power, my daughter and her friends raced around the oval (playground) at their school, thrilled that a woman had become prime minister. It was a tremendous moment of liberation for them. They could aspire to anything!

And then they watched. And I watched and other women watched, as Julia Gillard was attacked for the sin of being a woman. Each time my daughters watched, and each time I watched, and each time women in Australia watched, we learned the lesson that to be a woman in a public role is to invite abuse, for the crime of being a woman in public.

Finally, Gillard hit back. Hard. In a forum where her chief tormentor was forced to sit and listen. Just for once, a woman could tell a man exactly what she thought of his despicable beahviour, and he couldn’t simply walk away. At last, he was being held to account for his misogyny.

Didn’t he hate it?

It gets so wearying, day in day out, watching and listening to women in power being derided simply for being. So often we just shut the rhetoric out, try to let it not get to us. But it is so very, very tiring.

And this is why women everywhere are cheering for Gillard. Just for once, a woman has had a chance to tell it like it really is, and the bloke has had to sit and listen. And be held responsible for the hate he has been spewing.

Today has been a good day.

Should you not have watched the speech yet, make yourself a cup of coffee, or pour yourself a glass of wine, and take 15 minutes to enjoy it.

Julia Gillard’s speech in the Australian House of Representatives, calling Tony Abbott out as a misogynist.

Or you can read a transcript: transcript of Julia Gillard’s speech on the Sydney Morning Herald site. But seriously, if you have time, watch it.

Mum, you will *love* this. And so will you, my beautiful daughter, who was so pleased when Gillard became Prime Minister.

Cross posted