Screw Lean In. Women need to stand up and jump in.
Four years ago, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told women to lean in to be a leader, not a follower, in her bestselling book. A lot of leaning in transpired. A lot of nothing happened.
Sandberg’s admitted this week to USA Today that women are not better off despite all the leaning and support circles her book generated.
Maybe all that leaning in’s the problem. Leaning is polite. Alpha males aren’t polite. Leaning is passive. Standing up is assertive. That’s how the early feminists got us to the point where Sandberg could even be giving all that advice as the COO of a tech company.
At the time she wrote her bestselling book of the same name, Sandberg was criticized because as a rich, white, married women with a giant support staff to care for her children and her domestic concerns, she was totally clueless about the realities of hard-working single mothers and women who didn’t have an Ivy League education and an equally successful husband to er, lean on.
Since then, Sandberg’s husband tragically died suddenly, leaving her a single mother. But again, she’s a single mother who doesn’t have the financial burdens of most of the rest of the world.
While her book and support circles raised awareness of women’s rights, we still don’t have equal pay, or even an Equal Rights Amendment. And it’s our fault for not jumping in and standing up for our rights. Leaning doesn’t help us any more than rallying around clever slogans, or wearing those horrid pink pussy hats, which are as girlie as Playboy bunny ears.
“Women’s rights are human rights,” Hillary Clinton said in 1995. Clever slogan, meaningless outcome.
Twenty-two years later, only 11 countries are run by women. Worse even — the U.S. plummeted from 23rd to 45th of all countries for gender equality last year. We’re not a third-world country, we’re a 45th world country!
Chelsea Clinton (l.) was among Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s supporters when she released her book, “Lean In,” in 2013.
And women are still being sexually harassed in the workplace like we’re living in the age of “Mad Men.” Susan Fowler, who was a site engineer at Uber, wrote a viral blog a few months ago about how sexual harassment complaints there went unresolved, and that complaining women were passed over for promotion. When she left, the female employee population had dropped from 25% to 6%.
Yes, in many places things have changed, but women still need to stand up and fight for themselves when just leaning in — and getting nowhere fast — doesn’t do it.
When I took my first newspaper job back in the 1990’s, my then-editor-in-chief came by my desk and said out loud, to the amusement of the overwhelmingly male newsroom, “Hey, why don’t we talk under the air conditioning vent so I can see your nipples pop.” I swear.
Being a single mom with no other income, I knew at the time that going to HR would have doomed me, but I did stand up — in front of the the whole newsroom, and said, just as loudly, “OK, then we can all see what will shrink on you.” I was lucky. He didn’t fire me.
A few years later, another editor called me as a meeting was in progress. I stuck my head in the door and said, “Do you want me?” He sneered, winked at the guys and said, “Sure. Where?” I walked in and swept my hand over his desk, dropping his coffee mug and papers onto the floor, and said, “Here’s as good a place as any,” and walked out. I wasn’t as lucky that time. I lost my job shortly thereafter.
But what I didn’t lose was my self-respect. I nearly lost my car — yes — but not my self-respect.
“When they go low, we go high,” Michelle Obama said last year. Yet High-Road-Hillary lost the election to a man after beating him by 3 million votes.
It was the high road to hell. Screw that too. When they go low, we should go lower. No slogan intended.
Source: Ny Daily News