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‘Dilbert’ creator says asking for equal pay is like children demanding candy


Summary of story from Comics Alliance, and Feministe March 25, 2011

The creator of the ‘Dilbert’ comic strip, Scott Adams, gave us all a piece of his mind in a post (since deleted) about men’s rights, saying that he thinks men suffer a level of social injustice equal to women.

Adams said women might get paid less for the exact same amount of work as men in our society, but men die earlier, teen boys have to pay higher car insurance, and sometimes women want men to open doors for them.

Adams went on to say, “The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone.

“You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first.

“And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.”

To recap: He’s comparing women asking for equal pay to the selfishness and unreasonableness of children asking for candy, or mentally handicapped people lashing out violently.

He’s saying that women’s concern for pay equity is a petty desire levied by an irrational group of people, and he’s also suggesting a very specific strategy for the men in the audience: Remember not to care.

Adams goes on to state, “I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group. So I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying women are similar to either group.

“I’m saying that a man’s best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar. If he’s smart, he takes the path of least resistance most of the time, which involves considering the emotional realities of other people.

“A man only digs in for a good fight on the few issues that matter to him, and for which he has some chance of winning.

“This is a strategy that men are uniquely suited for because, on average, we genuinely don’t care about 90% of what is happening around us.”

When his comments caused controvery, Adams (or someone posting under his name, but at this point it seems pretty reasonable to think it’s him) responded to the backlash against his post by showing up on Feministe and telling the commenters there that they were simply too emotional to understand what he was saying, and lacked the reading comprehension skills of his regular readers.

Those readers, by contrast to the posters at Feministe, were according to Adams, “pretty far along the bell curve toward rational thought, and relatively immune to emotional distortion.”

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