What does a woman REALLY want?
Underarm laser hair removal! Purses! Botox! Cleaning products! These apparently are What a Woman Wants. If there’s one thing I would not say about my woman friends, it’s that they’re obsessed with finding underarm hair solutions and bent on doing an even more awesome job of cleaning the house. If I were going to presume to name an event What a Woman Wants, or What a Girl Wants or What Women Want or any of the other monikers this type of trade-show event goes by in Utah, I might ask some actual women what they want. I don’t mean to imply that we don’t use purses and enjoy a bubble bath once in a while — many of us do. But in my experience, a list of what women actually want would be a good deal lighter on innovative consumer products — if not exclamation points — and a good deal heavier on substance. Equal pay for equal work! Eradication of rape! An end to domestic violence! A college education! Child care! Affordable health insurance! Clean air! Possibly even equal opportunities at church! Gun control! Marriage equality! A graduate degree! And no male legislators trying to control our bodies! One of these women’s events proclaims that it is THE FUNNEST [sic] WOMEN’S SHOW IN UTAH!, adding, "We know what women want; something to enjoy, someone to enjoy it with, and things that helps [sic] her be her very best." (Good grammar! —it’s optional!) Women in Utah earn just 69 cents for each dollar a man makes for doing the exact same work. In Washington, D.C, it’s 90 cents to a dollar. In Utah, one of these expos promises to teach us "How to enbrace your inner hottness!" (Yes, enbrace and hottness.) Maybe that’s why we’re only worth 69 cents. Then again, maybe a man wrote that. If he did, he made 45 percent more than the woman who could have written it. Of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., women in only one state fare worse financially than Utah women. (Sorry, Wyoming.) I’d like to see an expo about that. The American Association of University Women analyzes gender-equity issues in education and the workplace. They also challenge sex discrimination and provide education, lifelong learning and leadership development opportunities for women. And they work to level the playing field for women and girls in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, math). In addition, the AAUW staff, along with some members and students, attended Global Initiative University, a three-day annual April meeting where people from around the world get together to address education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health. Note: Those are things that women want. Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when women’s earnings catch up with what men made the year before, is another focus for AAUW. Equal Pay Day was April 9, by the way. Unless you live in Utah. Then it’s June 7. So Utah women have worked from the beginning of the new year and will work until June 7 to catch up to what men doing the exact same work made last year. Then we have to start on this year. These women’s trade shows are money-making opportunities for the people who have booths and give presentations there. And if women want to go and entertain themselves inside a giant commercial for an afternoon and come home with samples of bubble bath, that’s fine. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a pointless activity of my own occasionally. But the way these events are named, given what they are, defames women and gives the impression that we are shallow and insubstantial. --- Barb Guy is a regular contributor to these pages.