A Paleo-Feminist on Transgender Sexism Studies

| Mon Oct. 6, 2008 5:49 PM EDT

An extremely 'well intentioned' young white guy I work closely with said to me the other day that, appalled as he was by this "new" notion of white privilege he'd just heard of, thank god he'd never been its beneficiary. Others had, of course, but not him and man! would such a thing suck if it actually did exist.

While trying not to either laugh at him or slit his throat, I informed him about a study done by U of Chicago and MIT professors. In that study, identical resumes were sent in response to their local papers' want ads. Identical, that is, but for names like "Jennifer" v. "Tanisha," and "Jamal" v. "Joe". Let's just sum it up thusly:

The authors find that applicants with white-sounding names are 50 percent more likely to get called for an initial interview than applicants with African-American-sounding names. Applicants with white names need to send about 10 resumes to get one callback, whereas applicants with African-American names need to send about 15 resumes to achieve the same result.

"Testers" (fake applicants sent out to rent apartments, buy cars, etc.) find basically the same results.

He could only stare at me in silent bewilderment that his white skin had ever, ever helped him. Him, with his Martin Luther King T shirts, pants sagging off his ass, and tongue stud but white bread name, let alone skin. I love the kid but he doesn't yet know that anybody can cover up their piercings, but only some of us can lose melanin for the brief duration of an interview. C'mon white folks. Tim Wise can't do it alone. Get a clue already.

Now comes an equally delicious way of proving that sexism and male privilege are all too alive and well (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.) From Time:

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A new study looks at this problem in a wonderfully inventive way. In previous studies, academics have looked at variables like years of education and the effects of outside forces such as nondiscrimination policies. But gender was always the constant. What if it didn't have to be? What if you could construct an experiment in which a random sample of adults unexpectedly changes sexes before work one day? Kristen Schilt, a sociologist at the University of Chicago and Matthew Wiswall, an economist at New York University, couldn't quite pull off that study. But they have come up with the first systematic analysis of the experiences of transgender people in the labor force. And what they found suggests that raw discrimination remains potent in U.S. companies.

Schilt and Wiswall found that women who become men (known as FTMs) do significantly better than men who become women (MTFs). MTFs in the study earned, on average, 32 percent less after they transitioned from male to female, even after the authors controlled for factors like education levels. FTMs earned an average of 1.5 percent more. The study was just published in the Berkeley Electronic Press' peer-reviewed Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Sew on a penis, get what you're worth. Hmmm...Wonder how long it takes living a man's life to pay off all that surgery.

And since I'm on my hairy-legged, humorless, Paleo-Feminist kick, check out my girl Linda Hirshman at The Nation on how Sarah Palin (i.e. history's most unqualified candidate for ANY office) is just a sad retread of the hideous "Rules" girl.

Then read Hirsh's serialized post-abortion, apocalyptic-abortion novel on HuffPo on Tuesdays and Fridays. Here's the first installment and a Washington Post piece on the same subject.

Still not afraid of a McCain-Palin White House? Well, just stay tuned here.