‘Lazy-girl jobs’ creator hits back at allegations of elitism — says these jobs are ‘not a privilege of the middle class.’ Others disagree.

“Lazy-girl jobs are not a privilege of the middle class. Work-life balance is common in higher-earning economic classes. Work means many different things to different tax brackets.”

Those are the words of Gabrielle Judge, the 20-something TikTok influencer who coined the latest viral workplace catchphrase, “lazy-girl jobs,” a term designed to recognize a toxic workplace culture, and to encourage people not to define themselves by their job. She has cited marketing associate, account manager, or customer success manager as examples of such jobs.

Judge, who has nearly 150,000 followers on TikTok, responded to criticisms on the platform that the term portrays young women in a negative light and reeks of elitism.

“I just got asked in this, like, ‘gotcha’ journalism way if I feel ‘lazy-girl jobs’ are a privilege of the middle class, which is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard,” Judge said.

“What is a ‘lazy-girl job’? It’s work-life balance — being a bit more discerning about, hey, where is my time going, and why am I working so hard for nothing in return?” she added.

But she also acknowledged that the phenomenon is a direct result of pandemic-era remote work, which was mostly a luxury afforded to those who work in offices. “Now employers are, like, ‘Hey come back into the office,’ and we are, like, ‘Heck, no way,’” Judge added.

Criticisms of ‘lazy-girl job’

That may be easier for some rather than others. Millions of service-industry jobs — a sector dominated by women — largely require people to show up in person, just like they did during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Employment in services such as health care, non-governmental education, leisure, and other services account for more than four in ten women’s jobs (43%), but only one in four men’s jobs (nearly 25%),” according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a non-profit research organization in Washington, D.C.

Restaurants and food services, retail and apparel, manufacturing and logistics, hospitality and education are among the least flexible industries when it comes to allowing remote or hybrid working practices.

That’s according to a survey of companies carried out by Scoop Technologies, which creates flexible-workplace software. And the most flexible? They are largely higher-income industries: technology, media and entertainment, professional services, and financial services.

Oregon, Washington and Colorado took the three top spots for the states with the most flexible jobs. Such jobs were primarily located in the West and Northeast of the U.S. Companies in the South and Midwest — Arizona, Alabama and Louisiana — more frequently required full time office work.

‘Lazy-girl jobs’ may be easier for some rather than others. Millions of manufacturing and service jobs require people to show up in person, as happened during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Men obviously dominate in other industries that are not conducive to remote work. The construction industry accounts for 11% of men’s jobs and 1.3% of women’s jobs, while the manufacturing industry accounts for 14.4% of men’s jobs, and 6.6% of women’s jobs, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research says.

#lazygirljob has over 21 million views on TikTok and features videos from mostly young women talking about their take on hustle culture, including a day in the life of a data analyst.

Serena Smith, a writer at Dazed.com, wrote that the idea of lazy-girl jobs is nothing radical. Instead, she said, it’s just a romanticization of the status quo and the drudgery of work. 

“Lazy-girl jobs are roles which are undemanding and stress-free, where you’re allowed to take as many breaks as you want and there’s no pressure to work overtime,” she wrote. 

Another writer, Hailey Bouche, wrote on TheEveryGirl.com that she has a problem with the lazy-girl job hashtag, saying such jobs should not be considered luxuries.

“We all deserve jobs that give us access to the benefits, flexibility, and salary,” she wrote, “and having or wanting a job that allows us all of those things does not make us lazy.”

Gender gap in pay and conditions

Whether you like it or loathe it, the lazy-girl job hashtag, by Judge’s own definition, is a call to action to empower women to take control of their work lives and to address the gender power imbalance in the workplace.

It’s an important, if long and steep, mountain to climb. The International Labor Organization, for example, says most unpaid care work around the world is still carried out by women.

The wage gap between men and women in the U.S., meanwhile, has barely changed over the last two decades: Women now earn around 84 cents on the dollar compared with men.

Women earned 65 cents for every dollar earned by men in 1982. That gender pay gap closed by 14 percentage points from 1982 to 2002 — but has remained virtually unchanged in the years since.

‘I just got asked in this, like, “gotcha” journalism way if I feel “lazy-girl jobs” are a privilege of the middle class, which is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard.’

— Gabrielle Judge, who coined #lazygirljobs

“Mothers ages 25 to 44 are less likely to be in the labor force than women of the same age who do not have children at home,” according to the Pew Research Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

“Much of the gender pay gap has been explained by measurable factors such as educational attainment, occupational segregation and work experience,” Pew said, and any narrowing of the gap is largely due to gains women made in those areas.

The National Women’s Law Center says that women earning 84 cents on the dollar compared with men means they make $9,954 less per year in median earnings.

That equates to two months of child care ($1,883), three months of rent ($3,573) and health-insurance premiums ($1,544), two months of student-loan payments ($544) and six tanks of gas ($316).

The female worker revolution 

On Medium, writer Vanessa Torre said “this was not the revolution we’re looking for” and called for caution before adopting terms like lazy-girl job, which she called derogatory. 

“The last thing women need right now is false empowerment cloaked in a cute saying destined to be emblazoned on dozens of shirts in Etsy shops,” she wrote.

“In short, adding a gender tag to any part of women’s work experience is degrading and sets women back more than it empowers them,” Torre added.

On TikTok, Judge said more people — regardless of their place in the corporate food chain — should feel empowered to work towards a better work-life balance, especially after their world was turned upside down during the pandemic.

Executives, she said, make work fit around their lives, “not the other way around, so that’s a crazy thing to say that it’s a privilege to have work-life balance for the middle class.”

Related: There’s a new star of the U.S. economy this summer: women. ‘Is this how men have always felt?’

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