@EleanorHiggsByson Sure, I'd say that her book offers advice and tells the reader what to do -- it'd be a strange book without that. But it doesn't offer it up as what all women must do. My point was, so much of what's said today is telling Women -- all women -- what to do, or else they're bad, failed women, that this book is read in the same way. It's not All Women Must Aspire to be White Male CEOs -- it's why don't women dream big as often, why do we call our little girls bossy, and how can a woman in business navigate this reality.
I don't think it makes feminism toothless -- I haven't finished the book yet, so maybe there's some bombshell that you've read and I haven't, but I do think it makes it approachable to those who've never considered themselves sexist. I find her message to look at, understand, and move past the messages that women who are successful and assertive are unlikable and terrible to work with very compelling. She's not saying that women have to be fake-likable over being good at their work (work being something I think she overvalues, but hey, that's her path), but she does share her experience navigating that. I appreciate that, as a mentor-less person who works in the business world. She speaks about having a full, rewarding career, without internalizing the BS (which, whatever, I found to be more fascinating and home-hitting than I anticipated), in addition to changing the system/having the system changed for me. If "women who ask for raises are perceived to be these specific negative things that hinder her career development, but negotiate anyway, here're some tips I've come up with" is defanged feminism, then I guess I'm okay with that. She's a wealthy, white woman at the top of her field, and she's writing about her experiences to other probably well-off (though that describes neither me nor my upbringing), possibly white women who either do or don't consider themselves to be high achievers, without looking at the plight of poor women or women/people of color. Maybe that'll be Lean In 2, maybe the success of this book will encourage HR departments everywhere to pick up the next book by a less silver-spooned, non-white Sandberg writing about her own experiences.
Oprah can say whatever she wants in that TV version of clickbait, but sure, it's not revolutionary. What it is is compelling and grounded in the reality of 2013, and I dig it.
@WorldofSass Hear, hear.
Maybe this won't be a popular comment, but I'm midway through Lean In, and I think it's great. I thought the book was the worst, then I saw her on the Daily Show, and then now, months later, I'm reading it. Most of the criticism that I hear about it is that it isn't all things to all people. Or that it urges the reader to take a career path that's different from the critic's own. I have no desire to lead a Fortune 500 company, but I also had never even considered that I could, and just thinking about that -- having the area of the map that my mind categorizes as somewhere between "for other people" and "there be dragons" as something that I could attain, or at least have a shot of attaining, is freeing.
The book itself lays out, in no uncertain terms, lots of ways sexism infects corporate and family and regular life. It also suggests to women that we consider ourselves as part of the "in" group -- something that I, for one, found novel. A lot of people who don't consider themselves sexist but who prop up the current status quo picked up this book, and that's amazing. And I bet a lot of them now see their world in a new light. It's incremental progress, and I for one think it's fantastic. So, it's not everything to everyone. It doesn't cover every woman's path, or even the great majority of women's paths. But it's powerful, it's started one hell of a conversation, and it has convinced me that I'm on the inside, even if my goal isn't COO of Facebook.
We're so used to telling women what to do. These types of discourses -- the Mommy Wars (shudder), discussions about Hillary Clinton's run in 2008, the recent talk about rape, etc -- are all about deciding what Women should do, or else they're bad women. From the outside in. Proscriptive. Unilateral. "Women" as a monolithic group isn't a thing, and we can discuss this stuff without telling women What To Do, or saying that their feminism isn't different, it feminist enough... or at least, I have to believe that we can.
It doesn't help that our finely honed senses are picking up all the marketing surrounding and infusing this thing -- it's unappealing. But the repulsion from that doesn't mean the message isn't worth hearing.
I'm not saying that this book doesn't deserve criticism. Of course it (and any other this-type book) does. I'm perplexed that it has attracted the kind of criticism that it has. I can't wait to finish the book, and I think "the workplace" would be a better place if more people had read it.
Anyway, added to Instapaper.
My brother and I got Myst from the library, and it blew our minds. We had no idea what we were doing, but I remember it being the BEST.
I've wondered since then if that game is actually playable. When we were kids, it was impenetrable. Literally impossible. Looks like it's available on iOS, so maybe I'll give it a go tonight...
For LW1, plenty of people get excited by stuff that they don't really want to have happen. Maybe you're responding to the taboo-ness or the realm-of-pure-imagination-ness of it. So, it's all good -- maybe it's a way for your sexuality to explore new ground that your regular-brain isn't quite ready for, and maybe your brain is just responding to sexytime stimuli!
@districter I did my undergrad at a liberal arts college, and I didn't realize how much a couple people -- often dudes -- dominate class discussions til I was in a class that had maybe 25 students but only a couple guys. Night and day, strangely.
I'm on birth control, so I don't ovulate, so I never vacuum! Good thing I have a Roomba.
A life of service, sisterhood, and contemplation sounds like an appealing alternative to the rat race -- look how well Teach for America and Americorps do, even while paying starvation wages and generally being really tough.
But I always had the sense that the Catholic church just totally did not have the backs of nuns. They do so much good work and lead such impressive lives, but I always had the feeling, growing up Catholic, that the men were the ones who ruled the show. That becoming a nun would be committing to gender roles of a long-bygone era -- that that was the cost of leading such a life.
And then they started all that nonsense with the Leadership Council of Women Religious, and I felt affirmed. The church leadership seems interested in itself and maintaining their power, and the ideas that gave them the power, not in doing good work and reveling in the beauty of God.
I say this as an atheist with a BA in religion who was raised Catholic. When I was a kid, I wanted to believe, but they made it impossible to reconcile the world around me and what was in my own head with the church, and it all came tumbling down. Someone like a rad nun affiliated with the Council could probably have made a difference, but it was very clear that the church wasn't interested in me or them or anything past their own (very impressive) noses.
Some of the reactions I've read to that New Yorker article seem like reviews of the writer's own self 15 years ago, when they first watched the show. We think back to ourselves sitting with friends in college dorm rooms (in my own case, and more recently than 15 years ago) and judge the show based on how embarrassing and unfortunate we were back then, and how much the show resonated (perhaps) with our then-embarrassing/unfortunate selves. So we describe and remember the show itself as embarrassing/unfortunate, as if coming to any other conclusion would peg us as "one of those girls," the Scary Sadshaw type, or someone who hasn't matured since then.
The fact that we talk about being "a Carrie" or "a Samantha" shows that there're (are? were?) so few other fully fleshed out, complex, nuanced portrayals of women out there. Many of those of us who were relatively young got so excited to see ourselves -- the good parts and the bad, and the parts we didn't understand yet -- without the male gaze attached for the first time. I remember watching, fascinated, because the characters would mess up and make stupid decisions and sleep around and yet still be worthy of love and friendship, and self respect. Turns out, that's a lot of what being an adult is -- you accumulate a history of good and bad and only-time-will-tell decisions, and life goes on, and you deal. That IS life.
Those characters were flawed and complex, and they helped shape my understanding of what it meant to be an adult woman. They were so open and honest with each other, they made mistakes and still were loved, free to trust themselves and do what seemed right (with or without discussion), and to hash out the big stuff and the little stuff and the dumb stuff with other people, because if it mattered to them, it mattered, full stop. All revelations to my then-college-aged self.
The show's imperfect, obviously. Again I feel the need to apologize for it, to show that I'm not one of "those girls." I'd later find portrayals of complex women in Elaine Benes (Seinfeld and the male gaze: discuss) and the ladies in Coupling and a bunch of other places, but SatC was the first for me, and the most far-reaching.