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by Mimi Brickmeyer, staff reporter.  [July 6, 2003]





[]  Women are 60% of the population! -- that's the shockingly ignorant statement made by rock songstress Liz Phair in a recent interview in Venice magazine.

Her numbers are not even close!

According to the 2000 Census, women are less than 51% of the US population -- a far cry from Phair's blond-brained estimate.

While promoting her new CD "Liz Phair" in Venice magazine [June 2003, p. 71], Phair complained of the industry's lack of support for female singers.  Trying to bolster her case that the music biz should promote more women, Phair said:


"What annoys me just at the very bottom level is why women -- who are 60 percent of the population -- can come in and out of favor? How is that possible? It should be a type of female music that comes in and out of favor but women should always be represented. Why are we sort of a novelty that can either wax or wane as an entire gender? It's staggering if you really look at it. You know, it's a whole mentality -- "Women are in fashion this year." Men are always in fashion! Different styles of their own self-centered music are in fashion but women can come or go? It's a club that we don't belong to. We're like guest speaker subs sometimes."

While Phair is right about music biz sexism, she does her gender no favors when lacing her understandable outrage with such astonishing ignorance. Phair demands the music biz consistently promote women partly because they "are 60% of the population," but the truth is that, according to the 2000 US Census, the US population of 281,421,906 is composed of 143,368,343 women and 138,053,563 men.

The nice people at the US Census Dept even do the math for Phair: Men are rounded out to 49.1% of the population, women at 50.9% -- less than 51%.

For those who remember their grammar school math, a simple ratio confirms those percentages. (Remember, 281,421,906 is 100% of the population, and we want to determine the percentage of women from that total):


                     281,421,906         143,368,343
                    ---------------        ----------------
                             100                           x


Multiply 143,368,343 by 100. Divide the result by 281,421,906. The result is over 50.9 but under 51 -- the percentage of women in the US.

However, according to activist groups, illegal immigrants and the homeless are traditionally undercounted by the US Census. Illegal immigrants avoid responding to Census forms for fear of deportation; additionally, many are migrant workers or day laborers, their transient nature making them especially difficult for Census workers to locate. Likewise, many of the homeless lead transient lifestyles that makes counting them difficult.

Both groups, illegal immigrants and homeless, are disproportionately male. Hence, the ratio of men to women in the US is even closer than US Census figures might indicate.

Phair goes on to complain:


[I]t' still the men making the decisions.  They're the top dogs in terms of how culture is viewed … until my dying day that will bug me, and on my dying day it will probably still be the same.

Unfortunately, Phair's bizarre belief that women are 60% of the population pegs her as a classic dumb blond -- making her a poor advocate for her worthy cause.

Copyright © 2003 by


Mimi Brickmeyer is a Los Angeles based entertainment reporter who has extensively investigated Hollywood's biggest celebrities. Read about her adventures in tabloid journalism in Hollywood Witches.



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