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hostessNYTimes has decided to explore the exotic world of Japan and a new “trend”–women there it seems “are often limited to low-paying, dead-end jobs or temp positions.” And thus these “well-paid flirts” are stuck with the job of drinking with men.

I see several problems with this piece.

My first, what qualifies a “well-paid” flirt. How much is flirting worth? Apparently “$100,000 a year, and as much as $300,000” is considered a good salary for faking affection for men, according to Hiroko Tabuchi.

Good to know, I think some of us are underpaid.

How many times are you expected to smile for a man, simply because you’re a woman. You’re supposed to be happy, you’re supposed to at times fake enjoyment of a man’s company. I’ve never been a good faker, but think about it. A job interview? A meeting with a professor? Someone’s uncle? Some man says a joke and regardless of the level of hilarity, a certain level of enjoyment must be shown or else names get called. And this isn’t something just experienced by young women like myself. Female politicians must laugh a little to avoid looking “bitchy”. Female waitresses are often forced to accept harassment simply to get their tips (which keep in mind is actually their salary). It’s the sort of situation I suspect anyone who has been in the presence of someone with more power, regardless of gender, has felt. But unfortunately sex alone can create this sort of subtle imbalance in everyday situations. Everyone laughs at the King’s jokes. And unfortunately for women, there are many Kings.

My guess is that this “trend” is not new for the women of Japan. And it’s certainly not limited to Japan’s borders. And I’d wish that oppression of women would be treated as a world wide and local problem as opposed to an exotic concept.

While Hiroko Tabuchi seems to be mildly concerned about this “less-than-glamorous reality” of women “lavishing adoring (albeit nonsexual) attention on men for a hefty fee,” hoping they would instead get a job as a “civil servant” or “nurse,”  I hope the civil servants and nurses are charging that “hefty fee” for their attentions to men as well.

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