I respectfully dissent with your thesis, but I’d like to focus on one point you make: the point about the 23-cent wage gap between women and men. You’re right; the statistic is misleading. We can’t compare the salaries of elementary school teachers to the salaries of tenured Ivy League professors. But shouldn’t we be questioning WHY the elementary school teachers are the women and the tenured Ivy League professors are the men?
I once heard a man use the argument that “men tend to be more ambitious and outspoken in the workplace, asking for promotions, taking initiative, while women are listeners; they don’t actively seek pay raises.” If we take this generalization as fact, it still raises a big red flag. Why are men more ambitious than women in the work place? That has to do with socialization, and institutionalized oppression, that manifests itself in the 23-cent wage gap. Regardless of the reasons for the gap existing, it still exists, and that in and of itself is a problem.
Moreover, the 77-cents-to-the-dollar statistic is, as you pointed out, the wage gap between the average American woman and the average American men. It should be noted that the gap is much, much larger for women of color, trans women, etc. Likewise, men of color and trans men make less than the average man, so that should be considered too.
It’s important to question the statistics we are fed; I agree. But I think we need to focus less on disproving the statistics and more on figuring out what the real problems are.
This, at least, is in accordance with your thesis — at least I hope. I believe that these conversations can and should be more constructive. I also believe that there exist overly-aggressive advocates of social equality. But as you point out, we millenials value our identities a great deal. We have a right to be angry about social injustices, particularly ones we as individuals face. The aggression comes from a place of justified outrage towards our positions in society. We get aggressive because these topics are deeply personal. Please keep that in mind.