I was inspired last weekend listening to a podcast from Matt Walsh. The Matt Walsh Show is not one of my regular podcasts, but #besthusbandever was driving and it's his truck so I gave it a listen (when I drive we listen to rap. or Steely Dan Yacht Rock, or Murder podcasts.)
This episode if you would like to check it out:
The whole thing was pretty great, and then we got to the last few minutes and boy did I get fired up because my friend here discussed a topic near and dear to my heart. Basic economics.
Apparently Scarlett Johansen, thinks she isn't getting paid enough for her action films:
Apparently she was asked how she has "been her own ally."
From the daily wire: Johansson, who topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid actresses, earning $56 million in 2019, said, “As a woman, you have to be [your own ally] all the time. Because we are underminded, and underserved, and under-appreciated, and underpaid – you have to be your own ally.”
To begin she said "underminded" (I listened to the clip from the interview and my head almost exploded at that point) I get that grammar may not you be your bag, Ms. Johansson, but what about math? basic economics? Also not your cup of tea, I guess. There are a lot of ladies out there that aren't getting it, let me see if I can break it down for you real quick.
Let's say you have two cars for sale:
Someone shows up at your house and asks, "how much for the absolute badass Civic Si in Energy Green Pearl?"
You respond with: "I'll let her go for $320,000."
"Wow if the Civic is $320K (even the specialty Type R doesn't sell for that much) How much do you want for the Mercedes?"
How? They aren't even the same thing. Not even close. One of them is an amazing and beautiful work of art, designed to turn heads and blast you through traffic and the other is a V8 720HP Mercedes, that probably has hand stitched leather interior and virtual reality control panel.
I spent a few years in the car business, and I used to own one of these cars, (guess which one). So let me tell you - while both of them are cars and both are green, that's where the similarities end. They don't perform the same, they don't PRODUCE the same results. In a race, head to head, one of them will win, and as much as I adored my very conspicuous lime green turbo Honda coupe, my 4 cylinder baby would be the one that the State Trooper pulls over, because that powerhouse Merc would be long gone before the 5-0 even knows what's happening.
You can get $320K for the Merc because it produces results, you can sell the Civic for one tenth of that, because as popular as it is with giggling little girls in the Wal-Mart parking lot, or among the climate conscious in the Starbucks drive through, it does not do what the Merc does.
Let's look at another example, comparing something else that people love to yammer on and on about, sports salaries.
This is a photo from the 2016 NBA Finals, the greatest time to be alive if you are a Cleveland sports fan. One of these guys gets paid more than the other. Because even though they wear the same uniform and both play the same sport, one of them simply plays the game better than the other. One of them puts more butts in the seats, and more MONEY in the pockets of the team owners. One of them PRODUCES more. Regardless of what he does outside of the arena, LeBron is the best that ever played the game (don't @ me, I've been watching basketball since I was an infant, I know what I'm talking about) (EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS WRONG, LeBron is NOT better than Michael Jordan, not even close). To further illustrate my point, that year I bought a Kevin Love jersey, because I'm cheap and his was on sale. One of them is worth more.
Now let's look at some more sports examples, I promise we are getting to the point, bear with me.
Two of the best soccer players in the world. One of them gets paid more. Why? They both play the same sport, they should make the same, right?
I went to a university that was super, super into soccer. Our men's and women's soccer teams were the shit. Our men's team drew players from all over the world, Ireland, Trinidad, Brazil etc. Our women's team recruited the best from all over the US, some of them were my friends and they were badass bitches who went the NCAA tournament my junior year, (they were our only team that qualified to be in the NCAA) It was a thing, a big deal. And as great as those ladies played the game, and as proud of them as we all were, our mediocre men's team always drew a bigger crowd, sold more tickets, sold more concessions, brought more visitors, who pumped more money into the local economy.
That was college and at that time they did not get paid to do any of this, aside from the free college and all the beers people bought for them.
Professional soccer, elsewhere in the world is a moneymaking phenomenon. That fellow up there, Messi, is going to make 71 million Euro this year in salary alone, approximately 83 million USD. (if the calculator is correct) His stats are mind blowing, in 2019 he was the highest paid athlete in the world.
Contrast that to Ms. Rapinoe, also impressive stats, also a much lauded and awarded player of the same sport, and to be fair she said she isn't asking to paid what Messi makes.
Her salary is just under $200,000 per year and most of her net worth comes from endorsements and such. In fact her partner Sue Bird of the WNBA (considered to be the best player the league has ever seen) makes a higher salary than Rapinoe does. Comparisons of Ms. Bird and the GOAT of the NBA (EDITOR'S NOTE: Again, this is insanely wrong) have also been made.
Before we go on, Feminists please calm your tits (or your moobs if you are a soy consuming feminist adjacent bro) I'm looking at this whole situation from a purely economic view. My economic view comes from a life spent in sales, and a belief that everything we do all day, as part of our jobs and life in general earns us a commission. At work if I sell more stuff, I make more money. If I sell more than the man doing the same job, I make more than he does. My earnings are directly related to the amount of money I bring in for the person who signs my check. The more money I make for the boss, the more money I make for me. Out in the world, I am kind and generous with the people I encounter, most of the time it gets me better service and occasionally a good referral so I can sell more stuff. At home I make sure my husband has clean clothes for work and I pack his lunch every day, why? Because he pays the mortgage and mows the lawn and buys me top quality appliances, and every day when I come home from selling stuff, I get the most amazing end of day hug, the best bonus of all.
None of that is to say that Ms. Rapinoe or Ms. Bird puts in less effort than their male counterparts, but they don't PRODUCE the same results. Like the Honda vs Merc road race, it isn't even close. The average attendance (to be fair I went with pre-Rona stats) in 2018 of a WNBA game was 6,712 per-game. The NBA drew an average in 2018 of 17,742 per game. almost three times as many. Televised games for the WNBA in 2018 averaged 266,300 viewers, the NBA for the same year averaged 1.89 million. That's nearly 8 times the WNBA, its math.
But the NBA has more teams, they play more games! Sure, but that's a function of the interest that's generated in watching them play. Its a real life illustration of basic economics, SUPPLY AND DEMAND. The NBA didn't have this many teams from the jump, They added them as demand grew. Let me repeat, DEMAND. The people wanted more NBA. The NBA added more games and then the NBA made more money, commissioned expansion teams, player's salaries grew, the NBA was everywhere, Jordan happened and we all bought Air Force Ones, more people watched, advertising dollars increased, more people bought merch, salaries went up again, commensurate with the crowds the teams drew in person and on telly. Supply and demand. The NBA is exciting, I know I spent a lot of time in 2016 repping the 216 and wearing my Cavs gear. I didn't even know the WNBA was on TV.
Its the same with Soccer. And I am sorry to report Scarlett, Its the same with Hollywood, except that you get paid a shit ton more than Rapinoe and Bird, less than the Rock maybe, but exponentially more than any female athlete. Why is that? Because your films earn more money than their games ever will. More people watch Black Widow than Ladies Soccer. Or the WNBA.
So what's your beef? You think you should be paid what Captain America makes? Or Iron Man? Your movie didn't beat Black Panther (which is awesome by the way) in fact Disney had to add streaming numbers, to make it appear more substantial (I get it, pandemic movie watching is a new dynamic) but Black Widow has already gotten her ass kicked by Space Jam 2. Great Job Scarlett, but this weekend you didn't even beat LeBron at your own game.
Should Scarlett be paid like Robert Downey, Jr.? HELL NO, he's awesome. Despite the great opening weekend, Black Widow isn't going to go the distance. I think its great that we get to see more cute leather outfits and chick fights and stuff, but I definitely don't go to watch a comic book movie to get schooled about women's rights. Wokeness is what created the demand for this film to begin with, but it cannot sustain the interest. A lot of people went to see it, and bought the streaming, because it was all about novelty, but action fans want more shit blowing up, and irreverent humor as the world gets brought back from the edge of destruction over and over.
I challenge Scarlett and the rest of the whiners out there to start looking at their salaries like I do, as commissions. The amount you earn is directly related to production. Generate interest in your work. The average person who goes to see your movie does not want to hear that you didn't get paid enough, when you earned more in a few months of filming that they will ever see in ten lifetimes.
Start being a real PRODUCER, give the public what THEY want, not what YOU want. The public wants you to kick ass and take names, we want minimal mention of your feelings, minimal crying and ZERO morality lessons.
Or you can keep whining, just know that at some point there will be no market for whining, and then you wont be getting paid at all. That, ladies, is basic economics.