Sheryl Sandberg

Of course, personal effort is hardly the whole story. I know women who have leaned in for a lifetime and been passed over. But it’s hard to see what’s wrong with encouraging big dreams, giving pointers on sexist bosses and salary negotiations, and telling women who join the mommy track before they even have a boyfriend not to lean back: “Don’t leave before you leave.”

I really like the sound of this much maligned book. It may have its failings but it is far superior to what I was taught:

♦ You should not do your best in college, because that might be too hard for you — you should use this as play time
♦ You should not have gone to graduate school, as it is so selfish — you should be taking care of someone
♦ You should not have a research program, but just try to have acceptable articles
♦ You cost too much money and you spend it on things like school
♦ You should not want a career, but only job security — it is the most you can aspire to, and you will barely make even that; any higher goal is laughable in your case
♦ You do not have the capability for more, anyway, so just rest, dear
♦ Life is suffering and sacrifice, but once in a while you can have a drink or go on vacation — you should get high sometimes, that is, but mostly you should suffer
♦ If you do not believe the above you are naïve, or of below average intelligence, or “vicious,” or mean, or mentally ill

Specifically, all the lecturing about “resting” and “taking care of yourself” that I got from official feminists of the 90s was even more demeaning than what I had heard from the most infirm members of the older generation — and that was already bad enough, as you can tell from the list above.

I insist that it is not I who misunderstood. What the official, mainstream, alleged feminists had to say was an utter reiteration of an older line. I think the people denigrating Sandberg now are from the same group.

I am afraid to read the book because I fear I will find I have fallen prey to every snare and committed every error, and will be even more depressed about time lost than I am now. But I am sure it is a good book.

Axé.


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