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Cody Langlie
Professor Reed
RHET 1311
11 October 2015
Unequal Wage
Images have the ability to communicate complex ideas in a manner that text
cannot communicate alone. An images ability to be simple and comedic can make it
easier to sympathize with a sensitive or important topic. The Denver Post combined this
image with text to express the common issue regarding the gender pay gap.
The overall visual idea that the comic portrays is confidence and contradiction.
President Obama is speaking, stating, Its not a myth. Its math! While doing so he
pointing to political sponsored graphic saying women earn 77 cents on the dollar. This
suggests to the viewer that the President is confident in the information he is
communicating. However, the two men on the side of President Obama said, And we
only had to find a female speechwriter 88 cents on the dollar to write that whopper!
Saying that women should be paid equal to their counterparts is one thing. Another is
not actually practicing what you preach. Even though the speechwriter is making more
than 77 cents per dollar of a male, it is still not equal. Proof that although the message
should be clear, it is contradicted by the very people who are behind it.
The Denver Post is the source of this image, the comic was based upon a
speech by President Obama. President Obama gave the speech in 2014 addressing

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inequality. With the halo around President Obamas head it leads you to believe that he
thinks he is talking about the issue for just reasons, but he is also perceived as doing it
for political reasons. The Denver Post believes that he used the figure that women earn
77 cents for every dollar a man earns for campaign material during midterm elections.
The Denver Post said, Politicians use the figure because it fits the "women as victims in
need of a savior" narrative and it provides them campaign material during the election
season. It continues on to say that women are less likely to try to negotiate their wage,
and that the amount of hours worked plays a large role. While that could all be true, it
does not deter from the fact that women are generally paid less than men on average.
For example, in 2013 young adult males with a bachelors degree earned $51,900,
while their female counterparts earned $44,600. (U.S. Dept. of Education) By showing
the differences in pay it proves that even young educated women earn less than men
with the same education.
Narrowing the gender pay gap should be seen as the primary message of this
comic. Since President Obama has to state that its a fact women are paid less than
men, it can only be presumed that some people do not believe that. Therefore, one
could only be left to presume that President Obama would like to express the inequality
of pay. Also, the image has Equal Pay for Women as the title of the speech. Which is
seen as the primary message, but the two men on the other side interfere with the
message. The interference comes from them paying a female speechwriter less than
would a male counterpart. This leaves an impression that even the ones who may be for
equality are likely to fall susceptible to the common discrimination of women. Overall the
message is strong, but is impacted by the negative outliers.

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The message seems to be generally directed towards the working female


demographic, although it could be seen as being directed at both genders of working
people for various reasons. The working female demographic is most likely the largest
demographic this was aimed at because it addresses in issue that many working
women face day to day. Also, if what the Denver Post said about President Obama
trying to use this issue as campaign material, then it would most definitely be made for
an audience of women. However, the comic negative view of the men paying the
woman 88 cents to the dollar could also be viewed as controversial. Doing this could
grab the attention of men, causing them to think about the issue. Thinking about the
issue would raise more awareness to the cause. By thinking about the issue one may
be able to draw solutions to the problem, or at least value it as an important issue.
Many people may not be aware of the issue, maybe they dont even think it is an
issue. But, this image explicitly communicates that gender pay gap is a real issue. It is
an issue that is still relevant today, and although it may have been used for political
gain, its effective. Causing the viewer to reflect and evaluate what the image is
communicating.
The image uses comedy, so that the viewer is not distracted from the primary
ideal, but can focus on it without being bored. Its important for the viewer to recognize
this primary image because of its silliness that helps create his or her interest. This
silliness allows the information to change or improve their thoughts regarding inequality
of pay between men and women. By assuming that the audience wants equality, the
creator explains the issue using President Obama and proves it by using the two men

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on the side. The silly and basic image makes for comedic message, but its creativeness
puts a tone of simplistic seriousness that allows viewers to relate to the issue.

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Work Cited
"Annual Earnings of Young Adults." The Condition of Education. U.S. Department of
Education, 15 May 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
Kafer, Krista. "Kafer: Wage Gap Isn't so Simple." The Denver Post. N.p., 19 Apr. 4.
Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

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