is it really true?

Two thoughts, as I head off to bed to start reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.

I commented to Husband tonight that the three most loyal and vocal followers on my blog are all men* (and he’s not one of them; guess he hears enough from me in the real world). He replies that he thinks that there are quite a lot of men out there who really appreciate and enjoy women, and that women, often, are not really all that supportive of each other.

While I think this is not true in terms of personal relationships — except for him, all of my truly close friends in my “real” life are women, I do think it can be true professionally.

And this got me thinking about something Ms. Sandberg apparently says in her book (I am remembering this from an interview; perhaps the NPR one I referenced a few posts ago) — that women look around at the few other women around “the table,” and realize that only one of them is going to get promoted, as the token Woman in a Position of Power, so, therefore, the other women are her direct competitors. And not in a we’re-all-going-to-do-our-best-and-whoever-does-it-best-gets-the-prize-GO-Team!!!; but in a we’re-all-going-to-do-our-best-and-whoever-doesn’t-piss-off-the-most-men-by-appearing-to-be-shrill-or-godforbidbossyassertive-is-g0ing-to-get-the-prize.

She wants us to demand a place at the table, to raise our hands, to speak our minds.

But what about when we’ve done that, over and over and over again, and it’s only hurt us?

Then what?

. . .  Guess I’ll have to read the book and find out.

Or maybe not.

*Thank you oldblack, Quieter Elephant, and TEStazyk

6 Responses to “is it really true?”

  1. March 13, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I struggle with feminism. I believe the best person for a job should get it, irrespective of their X-chromosome count. I accept that this is often not the case and needs addressing. But then I struggle that “positive discrimination” weakens the fundamental argument, because now it’s about ratio not best for job.

    I had a small chuckle today when I told my staunchly feminist friend (a software team lead looking for new recruits) that I was going for dinner with an old friend who was back in town for a few days. One of the best programmers that ever worked for me, I noted.
    She said “it’s a shame he lives in Texas – I’m recruiting”.
    I simply replied “She :)”.
    Even staunch feminists fall into the sexist traps our society lays, it seems…

    • March 13, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Yes, we do. Job type = gender.
      A little bit like everyone thinking our dog is a girl because he’s white and fluffy.

    • March 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

      I replied already today, but I’m thinking about this more and more this morning — about your “struggle” with feminism, and the concern that lack of discrimination actually means what you call “positive discrimination,” and I think you’re looking way further down at the “ends” than I am, rather than the “means” — the long road of sexual discriminatino that begins when we’re babies, and girls are “so pretty” and boys are “so strong.”

      Girls who assert themselves are called bossy, show-offs; boys are leaders, strong. Women who speak up in the work place are called pushy, aggressive; men are ambitious, assertive. The differences/connotations are sometimes subtle, but they’re there.

      When I informed the chair of the department where I was teaching 3 classes a semester and working as a staff acccompanist that I was going to be starting work on my doctorate the next year and planned to adopt a baby, he removed me from the roster of adjuncts for teaching (it was “ok” for me to still accompany), after advising me that I was going to be “too busy” to teach and that “my place was with [my] new baby.” Not even would he not dare to say such a thing to a male, it wouldn’t even have occured to him.

      Quite recently the NYTimes actually ran an article where they explained to women how best to behave in the workplace so as not to make men feel insecure or threatened. IN THE NEW YORK TIMES! I blogged about this, but I’m not on a device right now that would allow me to link to it. Somewhere under Gender Roles/Women I’m sure

      The point is, there is discrimination everywhere. Even in modeling/cinema — men are muscular, virile; women are supposed to be wisps (and not allowed to go to the bathroom — see “Versace”); men are portrayed as vibrant, sexual beings well into their 70s, female actors start playing “character” roles in their 40s.

      The deck is stacked, and frankly sometimes I’m just tired of it.

      • March 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

        I have no issue with any of that. I’m certainly not an apologist for sexism. And I definitely agree it begins at an early age. I’m reading Jared Diamond’s “Why is sex fun?” at the moment. He lays out some pretty interesting evolutionary ideas for what we now term sexism. Drivers for menopause (so women can be active grandmothers – nurturing their genes – without the burden of further children of their own) – which is itself very rare in the animal kingdom. Just us and Pilot Whales have menopause I think.
        Why men hunted (it’s a very inefficiency way of gathering food for the family) – and women preferred the successful hunter.
        Why women’s bodies do not overtly advertise their estrus as other mammals do. Again – it doesn’t excuse us now we have science and communication, but it goes some way to explaining why we’re not as far away from other (extremely sexist) animals as we’d like to think…

  2. 5 Jackie
    March 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I read them all, I am just not really a “commenter” about most things, so maybe women (some at least, like me) just take it in, think about it, and try to apply what works for them to their own lives. And sometimes I just smile and enjoy the moment and the funny bits, because a lot of them happen to me as well (because I am a woman). Maybe men fell more compelled to have their voices heard. Just a thought…….

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