LeanIn.org and the Girl Scouts’ campaign to ban the word “bossy” certainly has good intentions. The word “bossy” is often used as a negative term to describe girls and women who speak and act with authority, while it’s rarely used to describe boys and men who act similarly. But is banning the word really the answer, or is changing the perception of it a better approach? But perhaps before we can really answer that question, we should be asking a younger generation of girls what the word bossy means to them. Check out this awesome video from She Knows featuring a bunch of adorable and smart little girls answering that very question. [She Knows]
I am decisively “meh” on Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In foundation and its focus on a feminist movement driven by/benefiting capitalism, but I can get behind their latest PSA campaign to ban the word “bossy,” as it’s frequently used to describe and diminish ambitious women. Beyonce is down with it too, appearing in the PSA above (along with Jennifer Garner, Diane von Furstenberg, and Condoleezza Rice, amongst others) in which she states, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” I just decided that Beyonce needs to do a song called “Bossy,” with that line as a lyric. And then it can be added to her soundboardt. Please? [NYMag.com]
Mass media (along with [Sheryl] Sandberg) is telling us that by sheer strength of will and staying power, any woman so inclined can work hard and climb the corporate ladder all the way to the top. Shrewdly, Sandberg acknowledges that not all women desire to rise to the top, asserting that she is not judging women who make different choices. However, the real truth is that she is making judgments about the nature of women and work – that is what the book is fundamentally about. Her failure to confront the issue of women acquiring wealth allows her to ignore concrete systemic obstacles most women face inside the workforce. And by not confronting the issue of women and wealth, she need not confront the issue of women and poverty. She need not address the ways extreme class differences make it difficult for there to be a common sisterhood based on shared struggle and solidarity.
It’s never too late to hear from bell hooks! The author, feminist and social justice activist just penned a review of Sheryl Sandberg‘s best-selling book Lean In, which many have celebrated for encouraging women to break the corporate glass ceiling, and it is on point. I read Lean In and while I found it had some interesting and helpful advice for someone like myself (a white chick in a managerial position at a media company), I was also bothered by how much more hoopla surrounded its publication in comparison to the many other truly radical and revolutionary books from feminist thinkers who take women of all races and economic statuses into consideration. bell hooks full review of Lean In is well worth a read — or three. [Feminist Wire]
Most of talk around women in the workplace of late has been of the Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In variety. Women, argues Sandberg’s book, can break through the so-called glass ceiling by simply being more tenacious, proactive and self-empowered. The dialogue is often framed around getting women into positions of power, pushing for more female CEOs, and urging more women to brave the climb up the corporate ladder.
How wonderful for feminism to rally around the cause of elevating women to shake their fists against the vaunted glass ceiling, we think, abstractly.
But that’s not how most women live. Keep reading »
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? That’s what LeanIn.org, the organization established by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In: Women, Work And The Will To Lead, wants you to ask yourself. Would it be calling yourself a writer or a musician? Would it be asking for more money? Would it be standing up to men who sexually harass you? In this touching video and accompanying essay by Sandberg herself, Lean In challenges women to face our fear and stop being afraid to take risks. The ode to ambition is not an all-encompassing solution, but it’s a great start — just the encouragement a lot of us need. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? [LeanIn.org, IfUWerentAfraid.Tumblr.com]
Last week, The New York Times published a fairly straight forward news piece on the bountiful array of studies conducted here and in other parts of the world that suggest that offering paternity leave to new fathers could actually help stimulate the U.S. economy while also supporting women in their quest for work/life balance. The piece starts off with a brief anecdote from writer Catherine Rampell’s personal experience, about having two relationships come to an end because the men she was dating expressed a desire to see her eventually put aside her career, at least temporarily, should their relationship become so serious that they get married and have children. She writes:
I don’t pretend to know how common this situation is, and how many other young women have found themselves in it. But it clarified not only the choices that future mothers must make about their careers, but also how early in their careers they must begin to think about them. And while fairness and feminism may urge us to find better ways for women to balance work and life — Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter have certainly made impassioned cries — the most convincing argument seems to be an economic one.
The rest Rampell’s piece focuses on how women who hope to have children someday have a better shot at being successful at “leaning in” at work if their male partners are “leaning in” more at home, and are being given the support to do so via things like paternity leave. And, more importantly, should the United States follow in the footsteps of countries like Sweden and Norway and offer paternity leave, it would not only benefit those straight couples who chose to partake in more balanced work-life accommodations, but the economy as a whole. Men would be given the flexibility to spend those precious early weeks with their children, women wouldn’t find putting their careers on the backburner the more financially feasible option, and, by keeping more women in the workforce, the economy would grow. Rampell offers a whole bunch of supporting evidence and, all in all, it is one of the least objectionable pieces I’ve read on the benefits of our society striving towards equality for men and women at work and in the home.
But lo and behold, one person managed to be deeply offended by Rampell’s article: Tom Matlack, the founding editor of The Good Men Project, who published a response called “What’s A Guy To Do?”, which, among other things, calls Rampell’s piece an “attack on dads-at-large.” Say what? Keep reading »
There’s been a lot of discussion as of late about Sheryl Sandberg‘s bourgeois and somewhat apolitical version of feminism, Lean In. It seems like everywhere I look, the feminist discourse has been taken over by discussions of the ways in which women hold themselves back at work, how we need more women at the top, why Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer won’t call herself a feminist, etc. As a feminist with some serious socialist leanings, I am mildly annoyed by this, but I’m also kind of happy, because it gives me a chance to discuss how and why feminism must go beyond talking about how the most privileged women should be allowed to self-actualize at the highest levels possible, to the issues that concern that vast majority of the female workforce.
As I see it, there are really two issues here: 1.) “Lean In” feminism isn’t feminism in any traditional sense of the word, and 2.) even if we do decide to think collectively (and hence politically) re: women in the workplace, that’s not going nearly far enough. Read more at The Gloss…
No, that’s not the headline of an Onion article. It’s proof that sometimes people can admit they’ve done wrong and try to change it. Case in point: Cisco CEO John Chambers, who released an impressively candid memo to his company admitting that he hasn’t exactly “walked the talk” when it comes to supporting women in the workplace.
Chambers released the memo after he and his executive team met with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, author of the new book Lean In, about women in the workplace. Sandberg’s book (which, full disclosure, I haven’t read yet) outlines the dilemmas faced by women in trying to move forward in the work world while still raising their families. Keep reading »