Is Business Sexist? Er…no

On the treatment of women, in terms of pay and other matters, I think women today should understand the pay gap isn’t motivated by ‘sexism’ and should shut up.

I recommend to anyone interested the collected letters of Valeria Belletti.

These are published in the book ‘Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from inside the Studios of the 1920s’ (Yes, I know, the title’s awful.) This fine lady got herself a job as Sam Goldwyn’s secretary, and sent many letters back East to her friend Irma.

Consider this from September 1 1925:

‘I’m just so disgusted with men in general that I’m devoting my entire time and attention to work now – of course the problem still presents itself at the studio – all the men in our production unit are married – but that doesn’t prevent them from attempting to make love to you at any opportunity possible [..] Occasionally, when I have to go on one of the stages or some other department someone will try to hug and kiss me, but I manage to wriggle out of their reach most of the time [..] I blush furiously and then of course this incites much laughter and then men get a great kick out of seeing me blush. Of course I realize it’s all done in fun and sometimes I think I’m just a little too narrow.’

On the topic of cash:

‘Colman [Ronald] gets $2000 a week, Belle Bennet $500 a week, Frances Marion [female screenwriter] gets $10,000 for each continuity she writes, Fitzmaurice gets $50,000 for each picture he directs and 50% of the profits of each picture. King gets $75,000 for each picture and 25% of the profits. As for the other big stars [..] Gloria Swanson gets around $15,000 a week, Thomas Meighan about $10,000 a week.’

(Miss Belletti raked-in about $65 a week and that was a very good salary indeed.)

Notice Gloria ‘I’m ready for my close-up Mr De Mille’ Swanson and Frances Marion are beating smoothie Colman in the wedge stakes. Pay is linked to the value you create. The fewer persons there are who can do what you do, the more you’ll get paid for what you do. It really is simple. Does anyone think Goldwyn didn’t know his business? Add to this that business passes costs along to the customer – and staff in some instances – and you get a pay gap. It’s a biology thing. If men gave birth the gap would run the other way. But who wants to know this? Certainly not the whining Libbies at the BBC.




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