Wednesday, 9 May 2018

THAT'S THE THING ABOUT EQUALITY - IT ISN'T ALWAYS EQUAL...



I see ol' BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH is bleating on about equal pay for women in movies and saying that he'll be trying to ensure payment parity in whatever projects he works on.   What a d*ck!  Now I happen to like Benny, but on this, he's being a d*ck.  Why doesn't he insist that he gets paid as much as his AVENGERS co-stars, because it's a safe bet that a few of them will be paid much more than him - more, even, than he received for starring in his own DOCTOR STRANGE movie.

Let's pause here for me to make a point.  I've worked in a few shop or factory warehouses in my career (though the last time was around 42 years ago), and whenever any woman co-worker (who were all usually older than me and hence paid more - but let's imagine for the purpose of discussion that we were on the same rate) was required to do some heavy lifting, they invariably asked a man (me) to do it for them.  So it was me who had to climb ladders or clamber over shelves and bring down (or put up) heavy boxes for them.  In effect, I was doing part of their job for them, so don't let's hear any of this equal pay rubbish.  Equal pay only applies when men and women are doing (and by 'doing' I mean actually doing, not just filling the position) the same job.  If a guy has to do part of their job for them (because they're women, and apparently can't be expected to physically exert themselves in any way) then it's not an equal situation.  (An office job would, of course, be an entirely different scenario.)

But back to Benny.  The reason why he's spouting rubbish is because it's the film and TV industry we're talking about, and as everyone and their granny knows, there's a pecking order amongst actors.  Some 'stars' are more bankable and therefore command higher pay packets for their contribution.  TOM CRUISE, for example, is always going to be paid more than just about any female co-star you can think of, because Tom puts more bums on seats.  If Tom (or any other big-name actor you care to name) asks for a certain fee, and the movie-makers are prepared to pay that fee to ensure his services, does that mean his female co-star (or even male co-star come to that) should automatically receive the same amount?  Of course not, because 'market forces' are in operation here.

Consider the recent stushie over the NETFLIX TV show, The CROWN, where actor MATT SMITH was paid more than co-star CLAIRE FOY.  Why?  Obviously, Matt Smith has a better agent than Claire Foy (or perhaps the same agent who does a better job on Matt's behalf), and LEFT BANK and SONY (the production companies) were prepared to pay what his agent asked for, as was presumably the case with Claire.  Or, for all I know, amounts were offered for each part, and it's then down to the actors and their agents to decide if they wish to accept.  Isn't that how it should be, or are production companies now obliged to pay one co-starring actor the same amount as the other one they were really keen to have (and were prepared to pay quite a bit more to get), simply out of some ill-conceived notion of so-called 'equality'?  That would mean that, because Tom Cruise was being paid a certain amount, then, if his co-star happened to be MIRIAM MARGOYLES, she would get the same.  Is that fair?  Movie and TV makers have to take into account 'star pulling-power' when choosing actors, and it's simply a fact that one star may have more pulling-power than the other and therefore deserve a higher fee.

But notice how it's been turned into a 'battle of the sexes' in the media.  Actually, you can substitute male co-stars in place of female ones in this discussion.  Note, however, that, so far (as far as I'm aware) no male co-starring actor is demanding that he should receive the same fee as the lead actor in any production.  For example, SIMON PEGG isn't demanding parity with Tom Cruise for his MISSION IMPOSSIBLE appearances.  Once again, women have seized the opportunity to bash men over the head for so-called gender inequality, when, in a lot of cases, it doesn't actually exist.  For every woman who doesn't receive equal pay with some man, there's at least just as many men in the same position.  If you're an actress  (a word now under threat of extinction because of the anti-gender distinction loonies) who receives less renumeration for your part than your male co-star, it's not necessarily due to you being unfairly discriminated against because of your gender, it may simply be because you're not as big a star with the same pulling-power.

If SHARON STONE and Miriam Margoyles were co-starring in a movie where they had more or less equal screen time, but Sharon was paid more than Miriam, would anyone turn a hair?  No, they wouldn't, because it's readily recognised that there's a pecking order in operation, and that Sharon's name is a bigger draw than Miriam's.  It's only when the actor being paid more is a man, that any controversy arises from the situation.  Men, you see (according to some women), should never be paid more than their female co-stars on a point of principle - that principle being that all men are b*sta*rds, rapists, perverts, and paedos - and overpaid ones at that.

And what about those daft male TV presenters who offered to take a pay cut to reduce their wages to that of their female colleagues?  @rseholes to a man.  So keen to appease misandric feminists, that next they'll be offering to castrate themselves rather than incur any form of female displeasure.  Taking a pay cut only achieves a quasi-equality, and reveals the misguided philosophy that lies at the root of the problem.  You see, if women are satisfied with men taking a cut in wages, it shows that their objection isn't so much that women are undervalued and underpaid, it's that they object to men - simply because they're men - getting something that they're not getting.  Their objections spring from the politics of envy - the belief that men shouldn't get anything that women don't seem to be getting (that's their perception anyway), regardless of whether either gender deserve to get it or not.

What will probably end up happening is that lip-service will be paid to pay equality, with two leading co-stars of different genders being paid the same basic fee, but with the bigger star (usually the male) getting a percentage of the profits, or some kind of bonus to offset his lower upfront amount.  At the end of the day, it really should be up to who's paying the bills.  If you're employing two actors to do a job, shouldn't you be allowed to offer a higher amount to the one whom you believe will bring more to the project, to secure his or her services if that's what it takes?  It's always been like that in the film industry, and any attempts to impose an artificial equality on what people are worth (regardless of their gender) aren't based on the realities of the situation.  

Anyway, that's my view on the matter.  Feel free to dispute it if you wish, but I warn you - if you do, I'll give you an intellectual kicking.  (Hee hee - that should start things off.)             

17 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I've got no interest in female film stars bleating about being underpaid because all film stars are obscenely OVERpaid, both men and women, and they should all get massive pay cuts.

Kid said...

Given the lack of response to this post (though not visits oddly enough), CJ, then it would seem most people agree with you. (And me, surprisingly.)

Lionel Hancock said...

Movie stars live in a world of their own.. Same as the studios. . A few months back Jennifer Lawrence was hailed as the biggest draw card in Hollywood demanding 20 million plus figures yet her last three movies were turkeys... Over inflated egos demanding more money. It needs someone to say NO!

Kid said...

I don't think I've ever seen in her in anything outside of a Marvel movie, LH.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell are you guys to say someone's earning too much? WTF is it any of your business?

Kid said...

Well, who do they HAVE to be to have an opinion on the matter? By that logic, you could well ask who the hell is one actor (though it's mainly actresses, isn't it?) to say that another actor is earning too much (compared to them). And what about politicians? Are you saying that members of the public have no right to say that politicians earn too much compared to the ordinary man in the street? Name, next time, please, if you want published.

Lionel Hancock said...

Marvel have taken over the movie industry like they were the dominant force in comics from the 60s onwards. I believe including Marvel heroes in the power comics let to Odhams demise. I am not putting down Marvel just saying the British comic writing talent was taken away when Hulk Spiderman FF hit Smash Wham Pow etc. There were some really talented writers pushed to the side in the 60s . That's my tuppence worth.

Kid said...

I'm bound to say, LH, that including Marvel strips in the Power Comics likely had nothing to do with their demise, as it was probably a cost-cutting exercise that led to them being included in the first place. Steve Holland's book, The Power Pack, details what happened to them, and it's an interesting read. It's even possible that the Power Comics would've ended sooner WITHOUT the Marvel strips. And remember, back then, there were numerous British comics that British writers could (and did) get work on. However, what about the foreign artists who worked in British comics? One could argue that employing them (because they were less expensive) meant that British artists were 'robbed' of work, but our dearly-loved comics of yesteryear wouldn't have been the same without the likes of Solano Lopez, Luis Bermejo, etc.

Lionel Hancock said...

I wonder if anonymous is Jennifer Lawrence ?

Lionel Hancock said...

I guess the possibility of getting an autograph from her are now next to none.heh

Kid said...

Bound to be, LH - I know she's a huge fan of mine (cough). Yeah, I reckon you've blotted your copybook with her.

TC said...

Professional activists are uninterested in facts and statistics, e.g., that Mr. X is a bigger box office draw than Ms. Y.

It is not just the entertainment industry, either. The activists complain, for example, that engineers (most of whom are men) get paid more than social workers (mostly women), therefore it must be sexism. If you try to explain that the supply of engineers is relatively low and the demand is relatively high, and that with social workers it's the other way around, you are a misogynist. Period. No discussion allowed.

The same if you try to explain variables such as seniority, overtime, shift differential, hazardous duty pay, and certification at different skill levels.

The activists will never be satisfied. They will always need an issue to justify their sinecures.

Kid said...

Too bloody true, TC - and it's getting tedious having to listen to them witter on about it all the time. Some numpties even say that women should be paid wages for being housewives. (No mention about men being paid of course.) Here's an idea, missus: if you find the concept of being a wife and mother so onerous that you think the rest of us should pay you for it, don't become a wife or mother you daft bat.

Lionel Hancock said...

Salma Hayek calls for male stars to take pay cuts for equality . News item... As if.

Kid said...

I don't like to disagree with the goddess Salma, but that's impoverished thinking. You don't improve the lot of the 'poor' (Hollywood stars? As if!) by dragging the 'rich' down to a lower level; you lift the poor up to a higher level. "I don't have it so neither should you" is the wrong way to go. But, hey - Salma - what a woman!

TC said...

In the late 1970s, James Garner and Mariette Hartley co-starred in a series of TV commercials for Polaroid cameras and film. When Garner found out that Hartley's salary was a tiny fraction of his own, he threatened to quit unless she got a better deal. They agreed, re-negotiated her contract, and gave her a raise.

Lifting her up obviously was a better solution than dragging him down would have been.

Kid said...

True, TC. Thing is, I've heard of James Garner (of course), but I don't know who Mariette Hartley is, so maybe they WERE each being paid what they were both worth before Garner intervened. (The same would apply, obviously, if it were a more famous actress and a not so famous actor.) Sometimes I think people need to be responsible for negotiating a better deal for themselves from the start, instead of just saying "I want x-amount just because he or she is getting it" after the fact. (Or in this particular instance, someone else saying it for them.)

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