How do you solve a problem like equal pay? You crowdsource it.
That's the message behind Sarah Silverman's latest cause-oriented video, produced with the help of the Women's Law Center. Created in her trademark dark — and borderline offensive — comedic style, the bit revolves around Silverman deciding she'd rather be "a dude" than pay the "$500,000 vagina tax" imposed on women simply for working while female in America.
Silverman said she got to that number by adding up the $11,000 a woman loses every year to the wage gap over an average life span. Upset about being paid only 78 cents to the dollar, Silverman jokes that she would literally have to change her gender to change what's in her wallet.
Of course, gender reassignment surgery is not a joke — transgender Americans don't choose to undergo what is in fact an expensive, intensive procedure on a whim, or to prove a point about the wage gap, for that matter. (And as an aside, a man's identity cannot be summed up by a singular anatomical characteristic.)
Since the video was published, members of the transgender community have voiced their concerns over the way Sarah Silverman treats the topic of gender reassignment surgery. As advocates like Janet Mock and multiple studies point out, transgender individuals in America continue to fight against discrimination and prejudice in the workplace, and are at disproportionate risk for hate crimes.
However, the video does make some valid points about the urgency of reaching pay parity in the workplace. Although the rather ambitious goal of the campaign — to pay back every single female American women for lost wages — seems improbable, the video will certainly raise awareness. Plus, all donations will benefit the Women's Action Law Center, an advocacy group striving to close the gender gap through advocacy, lobbying and policymaking.
Image Credit: Equal Pay Project
Will this video solve the gender gap? Probably not. But it can certainly make us care about it. The campaign also provides us with a good opportunity to talk about why the wage gap exists and how we can reverse it.
You can make your own donation by going visiting the Equal Payback Project.
Editor's Note, Oct. 8, 10:30 p.m.: The initial treatment of this satirical PSA attempted to acknowledge its highly problematic logic, yet Mic feels it is our responsibility to take the next step to ensure the real-world implications are clear for our readers.