June 18 2013
One of the charms of watching a beauty pageant these days seems to be the inevitable YouTube moment when a contestant botches a question designed to show her bikini comes with a brain.
So no one can really be surprised by the torrent of tweets and snarks following Sunday’s Miss USA contest, where Miss Utah flubbed a question about the gender gap on wages. Yet as badly as Miss Utah may have answered, the question itself was dumber still. Because the idea that women in America earn less today because of some discrimination — implicit in this question — is a politically correct cliché.
Here’s what Miss Utah was asked: “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”
We’re not sure what this says about society, but it sure says something about the Miss Universe Organization that oversees the competition. We would refer them to the Web site for the Independent Women’s Forum, where there’s a terrific new video called “Straight Talk About the Wage Gap.”
It points out that when differences in education levels, in the fields of work, in hours worked and choices about family are factored in, the so-called wage gap largely disappears. It points out, too, that “younger, college-educated women in urban areas actually out-earn their male counterparts.”
So by all means, let’s all indulge our feelings of superiority toward a 21-year-old model. But what of the geniuses whose question sounds like it came straight from Ashley Judd’s Twitter feed?