retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Well, we might as well end the year with a bit of controversy…

Yesterday, MNB took note of a Washington Post report that “a new analysis of government data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a surprising disparity” when it comes to job loss and creation in the retail sector - “the retail industry, which shed the most jobs last year (54,300), seemed to push women out while offering more opportunities to men … Between October 2016 and October 2017, women who worked in the country’s stores lost 160,300 jobs, while 106,000 men found new work in the field.”

One theory about this disparity: “As hiring ramped up, so did spending on big-ticket items, including furniture and appliances — and men tend to dominate those sales roles, which have historically come with higher commission payments.”

But there’s another theory that isn’t so great for men: “Women now outpace men in college enrollment … so they might be leaving some retail jobs to pursue more lucrative options.”

I commented:

Women in general are smarter than men and better than men, so it makes sense that they’ll evolve into career paths that will serve them better than men. I’ll buy that.

Some folks took exception to this.

One MNB reader wrote:

Your left, liberalism is often annoying. But you reached a new low today. Women are in general smarter and better than men? Common on. What a statement. I can only Imagine if a Republican, Trump or a man said men are smarter and better than women. You and the left national press would be condemning that statement with everything you had. You should be disgusted with your self.

And, from MNB reader Rick Charles:

KC, your view is sexist.  Very disappointed, switch the word woman for man and your career would end very quickly.  You are not as smart as you think you are.

That last sentence scares me a little bit, because I don’t think I’m all that smart.

But let’s leave that alone for a second.

I have to admit that I’m pretty comfortable with my original statement. One of the things that I hear college professors say is that they find that the women who attend their schools tend to be way ahead of the guys in terms of motivation and work ethic. Not every woman, and not every man. But in general. (Note that I said “in general” in my original commentary.)

Indeed, I talk to a lot of folks who believe that women tend to work harder and smarter, in pat because they have had to in order to succeed and advance in their careers. It is the old Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers metaphor … Rogers actually had to be a better dancer than Astaire, because she had to do everything he did, except that she had to do it backwards and in heels.

Women who succeed, in many cases, have to be better simply because they are women. Recent stories about sexual harassment in a variety of industries have illustrated just how much crap so many of them (some studies put it at more than half the female workforce in this country) have to put up with in their careers.

Let me also come at it from another, albeit anecdotal, direction.

Pretty much every man I’ve ever talked to about this kind of stuff will admit that he “married up.” I’ve never, ever heard a man say that he “married down.”

We all know it. Women are smarter than we are. They put up with our nonsense, and we’re lucky they do.

A friend of mine yesterday said that men shouldn’t be worried about a Planet of the Apes scenario as much as they should be worried about women deciding that they just don’t need us anymore, and dispose of us. (I think he was kidding.)

Anyway, I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my comments about women.

You are right about one thing. If I said that “men in general are smarter and better than women,” I would be out of business … because I would have shown myself to be utterly delusional. I’m a lot of things, but I try hard not to be that.

But I’ll try even harder in 2018. Happy New Year.
KC's View: