The first headline in my newsfeed one morning this week was about pay inequality for male models. Top modelling agent says male models ‘suffer big pay gap’. Apparently the top ten female models all make millions, while only the top three male models make over a million. Awww. All the stories of women suffering as a result of gender inequality around the world, and that was the headline news? Screw that! was my first response. Then I started to worry – was I a hypocrite if I claimed to care about gender inequality but scorned this example of it? Probably. Damn.
So, to assuage my guilt a bit I forced myself to think about it some more. And decided that maybe the headline was a turning point to be welcomed. Maybe it’s a sign that men have realised gender inequality is a thing.
In the same way that terrorism started on September 11, 2001 for many people in the Western world, maybe this exposé of pay inequality for male models is when gender inequality will become real (and so a thing to be feared and fought) for a large number of men. Even men stridently opposed to gender inequality would have been excused until now if they tried and failed to conjure up a full-blown sweaty-palmed fear of it. It’s hard to fear something that you know can’t hurt you.
So thank you mainstream media for shining a spotlight on this issue. Maybe the new momentum to stamp-out pay inequality for male models will have a spill-over effect for other niche industries where women face a similar problem, like management, medicine, business, teaching, science and sport.