Funny Business with Jane Wells

Batgirl Still Waiting for Equal Pay

Photo: AMC

You've come a long way, baby.

Keep walking.

The Census Department claims women on average still make less than men, $0.77 to every dollar. However, the Washington Post has done some digging and says it's more like $0.81. In fact, in some cases, the Post says Black and Hispanic women are getting pretty close to par when compared to salaries earned by men of the same ethnic group, and for college grads making hourly wages, "there is virtually no gap at all." 

So it all kinda depends.

Even so, a federal law mandating equal pay for men and women once again failed last week in Congress. It always does. It's not free-market. Look, if I'm making more money than male co-workers, I don't want them paid the same as I am just because the law says so.

If someone’s discriminating against you because of gender, there are already laws against that. Maybe the best way for women to make equal pay is to do what men do: produce, demand, band together, gain power. It's not rocket science, and a lot of women are clearly succeeding at it.

Are they Superwomen?

Maybe they're Batgirls.

To give you an idea of how long women have been fighting for equal pay, check out this hilarious-yet-still-relevant public service announcement made nearly 50 years ago by 20th Century Fox.

In it, Batgirl considers whether or not she should help Batman and Robin escape a ticking time bomb.

"I've worked for you for a long time and I'm paid less that Robin," Batgirl (Yvonne Craig) complains as the clock ticks down. "Holy discontent!" Robin (Burt Ward) replies.

(By the way, that is apparently not Adam West playing Batman, but a darn good copy.)

Batgirl certainly chose the right moment to negotiate from a position of strength! Zok!! Crash!! Oooof!!

However, should she really make the same salary as Robin? Legend has it that Batgirl's character was introduced by DC Comics after producers of the TV show asked for her. They felt a female crime fighter was needed to boost ratings. Aha! They needed her! Whamm!! However, she didn't help. Ratings stayed low, and the series was cancelled. Batgirl failed to deliver. Pow!!

Batman tells Batgirl that choosing such a dire moment to demand a raise is "no time for jokes." She replies, "It's no joke. It's the federal equal pay law!" "Holy act of Congress!" pipes up Boy Wonder. The PSA ends with the bomb about to go off, and Batgirl wondering if she should defuse it...or let Batman and Robin die. She could get fired for that.

But a gutsy move! Batgirl, I totally appreciate your hardball negotiating tactics. However, you may be fighting a losing battle. Sure, you've been working for Batman "a long time," but not as long as Robin has. More importantly, Robin is Batman's nephew. Third, riddle me this—is Robin actually paid? Equal pay of zero is zero.

Finally, let's be honest. Catwoman was always more popular than Batgirl and probably made more money. She was bad. Sexy. That kind of woman often did better in the marketplace back then.

Oh, who am I kidding? She still does!

Let me leave you with a case in point. This week, hockey fans suddenly discovered porn star Taylor Stevens, who strategically placed herself behind New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer's bench at Staples Center during Games 4 and 6 to distract his team and help the Kings.

Her "distractions" were seen many times in cutaways shots of DeBoer—unintentionally, I'm sure. Well, faster than you can say "silicone," Stevens is already getting a boost to her career with this Funny or Die video.

In it, she explains her hopes to broaden her career by heckling other teams in other sports. I suggest she take up crime-fighting instead. She'll be much better than Batman, Robin, and Batgirl combined in stopping bad guys in their tracks. Whamm!

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