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Before LinkedIn, before Monster.com, there were Help Wanted ads in newspapers. Divided by sex. Most of us have gladly forgotten those days when work was as sexually segregated as drinking fountains were racially segregated in Alabama.

We are happy to forget the days when a woman could not get a mortgage, a loan or even a credit card without a male co-sponsor. It is not that we were unreliable credit risks individually, but everyone knew that as women, our main purpose in life was to get married, quit our jobs and have babies. This was just an accepted fact of life. And we were expected to deal with it.

Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique was the spark that lit the fire of the second wave of feminism that had been building since the end of World War II.

After the war, men came home and women left the work force to move to suburbia and raise children. Regardless of their educatonal level or prior work experience, they were told to go home. And most of them were happy to do so. Happy to have their man return from war, happy to have a home, and most of all, happy to have children. But something was missing.
The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night— she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—“ Is this all?”
The unhappiness of the American housewife was often attributed to the fact that they were over-educated and among others, one solution was to just not let them attend colleges. Another was to educate them only in Home Economics, instead of stuff like calculus and physics or even literature which would only serve to make them unhappy with their lot in life. Seriously.

In order to refute this common wisdom of the unhappiness of the college educated suburban housewife, Betty Friedan expanded the survey that she sent to her Smith classmates in advance of their 15th anniversary reunion, to include graduates of Radcliffe and other college educated women. What she found provided the backbone of the Feminine Mystique.

Her book was revolutionary and led to the women's movement, NOW, NARAL and the fight for the ERA.

Betty Friedan was a college educated middle class woman who wrote about other middle class college educated women and has been criticized for this narrow focus. I find it ironic, as in the past, it was the middle class women who agitated for the right of women to attend college and then the right of women to vote. It always made sense to me, because who else had the time? I can't imaging the young women of the Triangle Shirt Factory or the mills of Lowell, MA devoting their time to organizing protests and speaking out in public on women's suffrage. Not that they didn't, but their lives were already so exhausting that just getting through the day was hard enough. And the same was true for their mothers.

But even with her focus on this single class of women, Friedan spoke to the yearning that existed for women of all classes and colors who were deprived of the ability to pursue their dreams if any of those dreams led them out of the home. Trust me, the women in the suburban neighborhood of my youth were not college educated, but the message in The Feminine Mystique resonated with them as well.

It amazed me to realize that I had never read it. When I did, in honor of the 50th anniversary of its publication, I wondered what would be next. The ills that she described were real, and some of them have been changed. As have many of the attitudes she reflected (homosexuality is no longer listed in the DSM, nor blamed on a frustrated mother). It seemed to me that now, instead of being bored in the home, a woman was assigned small tasks in the business world, a cheap source of corporate labor, on a constant treadmill that demanded she "have it all" when she could barely keep her children in decent clothes. Friedan was all well and good, but was her work relevant to women today?

Yes. It is the foundation upon which we build. We must know what life was like for women in the 40s and 50s so that we fight returning to that era. Betty Friedan's work is well researched and gives a very clear history of that time. And she is an engaging author, which made her work a compelling read. But today's women need more than the identification of the issues, they need solutions.

It is not enough to know the world is unfair, we need some help in changing that unfairness. Who will lead the next charge? I don't know but I do believe that it will look and be very different from the last one.

I had heard the buzz about Sheryl Sandberg's Lead In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead that many of you may have heard as well. Written by an elitist with a double Harvard degree who was mentored by Larry Summers (gasp!) and is worth hundreds of millions in stock from Google and Facebook (oh no!), she couldn't possibly have anything to say to women in less fortunate positions. It was a vanity book designed to elevate Facebook (really?). I have to admit that it has been a long time since I remember a book being so roundly condemned by so many who hadn't even read it. The fact that a book authored by a woman about women was raising such a stink intrigued me. If I hadn't planned to read it before, I certainly looked forward to reading it now.

I should be used to pundits being wrong.

Honestly, there were some points in this book that almost had me wishing I were thirty years younger and still working. It takes a lot to do that. I am happy with my life (except for the grief part) and I don't generally envy the lot of today's working women.

Lean In is not so much a feminist manifesto, as it is a hands-on guide to how a woman can think about and alter her chances for success. From the cultural inhibitions that women internalize to the social judgments levied on our performance, Sandberg presents possibilities for change. She addresses many of the same issues I tried to deal with in my career. And although I did okay, I know that some of the advice she offers would have made it possible for me to do a lot more. (Of course in those days she could not have attended Harvard. Or Yale. And COO of Facebook? Not likely.)

Times have changed since Betty Friedan. Women can now attend Harvard. Women can become the COO of Facebook. But not enough of them do. And that is what Sandberg is trying to change with Lean In.

In her NYTimes book review, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the first woman director of policy planning at the Sate Department under Hillary Clinton, and author of "The Atlantic" article Why Women Can't Have it All, says:

Her point, in a nutshell, is that notwithstanding the many gender biases that still operate all over the workplace, excuses and justifications won’t get women anywhere. Instead, believe in yourself, give it your all, “lean in” and “don’t leave before you leave” — which is to say, don’t doubt your ability to combine work and family and thus edge yourself out of plum assignments before you even have a baby. Leaning in can promote a virtuous circle: you assume you can juggle work and family, you step forward, you succeed professionally, and then you’re in a better position to ask for what you need and to make changes that could benefit others.
Well researched and documented, Sandberg uses statistics, personal anecdotes, and stories from other successful women to present her case. She then uses some common sense, more research, and creative thinking to propose solutions.

 


I am fully aware that most women are not focused on changing social norms for the next generation but simply trying to get through each day. Forty percent of employed mothers lack sick days and vacation leave, and about 50 percent of employed mothers are unable to take time off to care for a sick child. 21 Only about half of women receive any pay during maternity leave. 22 These policies can have severe consequences; families with no access to paid family leave often go into debt and can fall into poverty. 23 Part-time jobs with fluctuating schedules offer little chance to plan and often stop short of the forty-hour week that provides basic benefits. 24

Too many work standards remain inflexible and unfair, often penalizing women with children. Too many talented women try their hardest to reach the top and bump up against systemic barriers. So many others pull back because they do not think they have a choice. All of this brings me back to Leymah Gbowee’s insistence that we need more women in power. When leadership insists that these policies change, they will. Google put in pregnancy parking when I asked for it and it remains there long after I left. We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.

(Emphasis mine)

Yes, Sheryl Sandberg has had a storied career, leaving her worth close to a billion dollars, named as one of Forbes top five most powerful women in the world, but then, who would want to read a book by a failure? Who wants advice from someone who hasn't succeeded in making a difference?

Maybe this is all just an evil plot to grow Facebook's audience and the value of her stock.  Or maybe it just is what she says it is. A way forward for women and their life partners. (She devotes an entire chapter to how important a life partner is to anyone's success in life.)

Lean In doesn't have to have all of the answers in order to be pointing in the right direction. It is clear that the women's movement has stalled: on Friday North Dakota passed the most repressive anti-women laws the nation has ever seen, virtually denying women the rights guaranteed by Roe vs Wade, and we learned that NYPD officers have been ordered to run criminal record checks on the victims of domestic abuse. Clearly we need to do something. Until we have a greater share of power, our rights will continue to be dictated to us by others. It is time women started reaching for the levers of power in corporations, institutions and governments.

Lean In doesn't stop with the last page. In addition to her TED talk, she has set up, of course, a Facebook page, and a website looking to continue the conversation. She envisions women meeting in small (8 to 10) Lean In Circles to learn from each other and support each other's growth. Small circles that have been disparagingly referred to as a throwback to the consciousness raising of times gone by. What her critics forget is that those consciousness raising parties did a lot of good back in the day.

Jodi Kantor, of the New York Times, in an attempt to show how evil this plot is, published a copy of the document that is being circulated to potential corporate partners in the Lean In movement. (BTW, said corporate partners are only asked the use of their logos and endorsement, not funding, and their support for their employees who chose to join the circles.) I read the document. And wish that when my girlfriends and I got together during the 70s in an informal support group at a nearby watering hole that we could have had access to the material and format of the new Lean In Circles. We got the job done, and helped other women move along their career paths, but not nearly enough and not quickly enough.

All profits from her book go to Lean In.org which is a non-profit public benefit corporation that runs the website of the same name.

Lean In is not for all women. Nor is it meant to be. Not all women want a high powered career and a family. But for those who do, and their partners, it is a book well worth reading.

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule




DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
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alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
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FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I should mention that I have never taken a (40+ / 0-)

    Women's Studies course (they weren't offered when I was in school) and there are a lot of women here at DKos that can probably speak to these issues with more authority than I can. I hope they will add any corrections and additions that are needed.

    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

    by Susan Grigsby on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 10:35:34 PM PDT

  •  Nice review on NPR (19+ / 0-)

    On a long-distance drive yesterday, I happened to hear a review of this book on NPR, by a male reviewer, I didn't catch his name. He recommended the book to men, to make them more aware of the inequalities that women face in the workplace, and asked them to work toward reducing and eliminating those problems. It was a very encouraging thing to hear.

  •  Thank you, Susan! (10+ / 0-)

    Very interesting!

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:23:19 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Susan. Although I am of a certain age, (10+ / 0-)

    I never read The Feminine Mystique either (although I've read every issue of Ms. Magazine since its inception.) I did, however, find a copy of it with my husband's books. I saved it to read from the 76 bags we gave to the library book sale. I'll move it up the list in honor or the anniversary.

  •  thanks. i just bought this book for my three (8+ / 0-)

    grad students.  i loved the ted talk. Frankly the push back does not surprise me in the least. THanks for the positive review.

    "None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps" Thurgood Marshall

    by UTvoter on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 10:48:00 AM PDT

  •  Marvelous diary, Susan! And THANK YOU for saying (14+ / 0-)

    this:

    I find it ironic, as in the past, it was the middle class women who agitated for the right of women to attend college and then the right of women to vote. It always made sense to me, because who else had the time?
    [Emphasis mine]

    Who, indeed?

    I often marvel at how different my work life was compared with those of my son and daughter. In the early and middle years of his career my son asked for a raise if he did one single extra thing outside his job description.  And he got it!  I was too afraid to ever ask for a raise. Society had convinced me that I was so unqualified to do anything more than be "a girl" that I had no courage at all.  This viewpoint was confirmed many years later by a study that found women who ask for raises or who negotiate higher starting salaries are considered to be "not likable."

    As recently as the 1980s a TV anchorwoman was fired for "not being deferential enough to men."

    I stopped wanting to climb the corporate ladder after I was laid off for the second time.  I turned my thoughts and energies elsewhere, deciding to do a decent day's work for a decent day's pay but not to invest my psychological energy in an environment that wasn't going to reward me.  

    Where are the solutions of the early 1970's that suddenly burgeoned after Betty, Gloria, and other feminists burst into national consciousness? Where are the on-site day care centers, the "job sharing," the 4-day, 40-hour work week?  Gone with the wind, apparently.

    We need a Congress and POTUS who are female and progressive Democrats.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:48:13 AM PDT

    •  Injustice is so corrosive to self-confidence (11+ / 0-)
      I stopped wanting to climb the corporate ladder after I was laid off for the second time.  I turned my thoughts and energies elsewhere, deciding to do a decent day's work for a decent day's pay but not to invest my psychological energy in an environment that wasn't going to reward me.
      How many million women would have risen much higher if this hadn't happened to them; or they rose until they met a boss who couldn't quite believe in their abilities, and would never, ever promote them further - whatever they did to prove their worth; or quit the best job they ever had because of sexual harassment?

      And if you're lucky, and none of those things are getting in your way, you'll still see them happening to friends of yours, and come to believe less in the rigged system, and your opportunities within it.

      I do think society's getting fairer, slowly and with frequent backsliding along the way.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:17:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sandberg directly addresses that confidence gap (7+ / 0-)

      between men and women using her brother as an example. She also deals with the way society praises men who are ambitious but disdains women who are the same. How we tend to find successful men to be "likable" but not so much successful women.

      Not only does she describe these issues, she presents some ideas for solutions. I can apply her tips on negotiations to those that I conduct in my life, even if it is not in a corporate arena.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:26:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, not really. Working-class women DID (4+ / 0-)

      organize on their own behalf, regardless of the long hours they had to work. Their interests really were quite different from those of more privileged women. It wasn't the vote per se that was a high priority as much as workplace safety and fair wages for women. The more things change....

      Their organizing efforts were in part possible because working women at the turn of the century--say, during the era of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory--tended to be young, unmarried women. (Married working-class women generally contributed to the household income doing piecework they could do at home, sometimes with very young children helping out.) Sometimes the female labor activists remained single for one reason or another (lesbianism being one real possibility) and that reduced their domestic responsibilities to some extent, not having to be concerned about children.

      I do have quite a bit to say about the history of women and work in the U.S., but some of it is a little rusty and it would take me a bit of time to get up to speed. In the meantime, let me point you to this good, short bio of Rose Schneiderman, who was a major labor union activist and already well known at the time of the Shirtwaist Fire. She gave one of the eulogies for the dead workers that was to become widely circulated.

      Speaking of the Triangle Fire, this site sponsored by the ILR (Industrial and Labor Relations) School at Cornell is a very fine resource.  

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:23:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, I was paraphrasing Betty Friedan: (3+ / 0-)
        That image of empty gentility was also undermined by the growing thousands of women who worked in the red brick factories: the Lowell mill girls who fought the terrible working conditions which, partly as a result of women’s supposed inferiority, were even worse for them than for men. But those women, who after a twelve- or thirteen-hour day in the factory still had household duties, could not take the lead in the passionate journey. Most of the leading feminists were women of the middle class, driven by a complex of motives to educate themselves and smash that empty image.

        ...

        As the battle to free women was fired by the battle to free the slaves in the nineteenth century, it was fired in the twentieth by the battles of social reform, of Jane Addams and Hull House, the use of the union movement, and the great strikes against intolerable working conditions in the factories. For the Triangle Shirtwaist girls, working for as little as $ 6 a week, as late as 10 o’clock at night, fined for talking, laughing, or singing, equality was a question of more than education or the vote. They held out on picket lines through bitter cold and hungry months; dozens were clubbed by police and dragged off in Black Marias. The new feminists raised money for the strikers’ bail and food, as their mothers had helped the Underground Railroad.

        We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

        by Susan Grigsby on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 09:45:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I had the opposite experience as a female (11+ / 0-)

    professional.

    We got the job done, and helped other women move along their career paths
     It was rare that women I worked with, or for, tried to help me up the business ladder.  Rather, they went out of their way to oppress me, sometimes more than my male counterparts, because they wanted to be among the small percentage of women at the top.   Apparently they saw me as their primary competition.
      And then there were the times women dumped their work onto me (a single women) so they could go home to their husbands and kids to "have it all", as if I didn't have enough of my own work to do.  Another reason I'm still single today is because I had to put in so much OT doing other people's work I didn't have time to date.
       So when it comes to people idolizing the Marissa Mayers of the world, they should think about the women she stepped on along the way to her throne.  
      And when it comes to Sandberg bashing women for not working hard enough, she's lacking data (to put it kindly.)

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:54:52 AM PDT

    •  She doesn't bash women for not working hard enough (6+ / 0-)

      and she addresses your concern about the early (and still) Queen Bees who saw other women as competition. Sandberg also discusses the issue of the single person who gets dumped on by those who have to go home to care for children.

      During the early seventies, we consciously developed a support network as our own response to the good old boy network and actively sought out younger women to mentor. Because we knew that we would not get promoted unless there was someone around who could take our place. The few of us who did this probably were unusual because we were hard core feminists working undercover in a male dominated industry and we felt like we were prying the doors open for the next generation.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:05:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I wasn't even (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29, greengemini

      going to comment in this diary because of my horrid experiences with women bosses and co-workers.

      The notion of women supporting women is just laughable...they are every bit as discriminatory as men are on the same illegal bases [age, race, sex].

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 02:21:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and marriage, too, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, greengemini

        they discriminate on the basis of marriage too.  I was also expected to work many excess hours [>40 hours] because my female boss excused Mrs. Married from working extra hours because, as my boss said several times, "she's married."

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 02:37:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  First, get your facts straight. Then, consider... (6+ / 0-)

    "After the war, men came home and women left the work force to move to suburbia and raise children. Regardless of their educatonal level or prior work experience, they were told to go home. And most of them were happy to do so. Happy to have their man return from war, happy to have a home, and most of all, happy to have children. "

    Actually, that is merely the propaganda put out by the Office of War Inforamtion after WWII.  

    What actually happened was that the women doing war work ("men's work") were by and large heads of their households already, did not have a Johnny-come-marching-home (remember, a lot of them died, and a lot were permanently disabled) and actually needed their jobs to continue to support their families.

    By propagating this myth, the OWI essentially made it easier for corporations to fire and demote women en masse in favor of hiring returning veterans in their place.  

    This is documented in excruciating detail in Maureen Honey's book, Creating Rosie the Riveter

    Now about that "Leanin In" thing.  While coming up with cute little political strategies with the other gals at work might work where there are a bunch of gals where you work, the "Lean In" advice speaks nothing of the male-dominated workplace where "leaning in" is likely to get you nothing but a bunch of jackasses looking down your shirt.  

     It speaks nothing of how to handle the widespread incidence of sexual assault and rape, which may bell be the biggest factor discouraging women from high-paying work in mining, oil and gas (you can make six figures on the oil patch, but not if you're on the rag half the time and only gonna quit anyway, honey),  on the battlefield, in engineering (and I mean real engineering -- on heavy construction sites, in shipyards, and in electronics manufacturing firms), in big science research labs (particle colliders, supercomputer centers) and oh, yeah, in CS.  

    It's all about fucking office politics.  Really?  Like we're all glorified secretaries?  Talk about reinforcing the Pink Collar Ghettos.  

    "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

    by bekosiluvu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:55:19 AM PDT

    •  The thesis is that there are not enough women (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, bookgirl, RiveroftheWest

      in power positions in corporations, institutions and in government. Many of the issues you correctly describe will only be changed when women have enough power to do something about them.

      And actually, there was a huge demographic movement from the cities to the suburbs where women who worked during the war had homes and babies. There was even a name for those children. And yes, those women knew something was wrong. Something was missing.

      After the war, men came home and women left the work force to move to suburbia and raise children. Regardless of their educatonal level or prior work experience, they were told to go home. And most of them were happy to do so. Happy to have their man return from war, happy to have a home, and most of all, happy to have children.
      You left off the last sentence of that paragraph: But something was missing.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:14:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And women won't rise to power positions... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29

        In engineering, the military, in the hard sciences, in heavy construction, in mining, in  -- if they're not getting any experience necessary for promotion in those fields.

        With this strategy, the "Leanin' Gals" be forever the boss's favorite nepotee who hasn't really done the hard yards...at best.  Leanin on Uncle Bob.  

        Which is part of the problem.  So you say that we let a bunch of clueless arts majors kiss the boss's ass, fail to get any hard experience, and then thank them for the fricking layoff they'll treat us to, given half the chance?  Because they're a Woman With Power?

        Remember, Power corrupts.  And Facebook has a COO with zero -- ZERO -- experience in Data Center Ops.  That is not leadership.  That is mere social climbing.  

        And yah, something WAS missing: - your complete lack of research into what happened to Rosie the Riveter after the war.  And no, the women who were fired were not "happy" about it.  The DOL did surveys and studies which documented the fact that they were NOT happy about losing their war work -- which is why the OWI conducted a massive propaganda campaign in a lame attempt to isolate those women from each other, and prevent them from e.g. unionizing.  

        "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

        by bekosiluvu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:31:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What makes you think I don't know they were (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bekosiluvu, glorificus, bookgirl

          unhappy about it? I was raised by one. I'm afraid you missed the sarcasm in my words, but they start with this:

          Regardless of their educatonal level or prior work experience, they were told to go home.
          It was the forcing of women into what Friedan actually described as similar to concentration camps that caused the dissatisfaction and gave rise to the feminist movement.

          But don't kid yourself, they were not all unhappy to get married, go home and have children. That is what they had been raised and trained to do. Some women today want the same things. That is not wrong nor is it bad, if it is freely chosen. These women weren't given a choice. And after they moved to the suburbs and had all those children, they realized just how much was missing from their lives.

          We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

          by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:41:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The DOL gathered statistics. (5+ / 0-)

            And a statistically significant greater number of women losing their jobs after WWII checked the box "would prefer to keep working".  

            And a substantial number indicated that this was because they needed their jobs to support their families.  

            These are simple economic facts, not interpretations of whether or not someone "should have been, coulda been" happy.  

            Many "Rosie the Riveters" were women of color, don't forget, and they were overwhelmingly working-class women.  

            Working-class women have always worked outside the home, and rarely have the "choice" of "being happy" to be a stay-at-home housewife.

            These were not white college girls out on a lark, remember.

            But this is exactly the kind of obliviousness to the real problems real women face, that we've come to expect from the white upper-middle-class "Womens' Movement."  

            Maternity leave only because an issue when they needed it.  

            Child care is not an issue because they can afford to get it privately.  

            When the biggest problem you face is getting a parking space closer to the door,  well cry me a river.  

            Try enforcing the FMLA.  Try expanding it to the people who actually need it.  Try enforcing Title VII and Title IX.  Try taking FML and having to invoke the law, in an all-male startup engineering firm.  In Texas.  Try fighting off an attacker at work.  Try keeping your job after you do.  Try engineering school.  Try getting a co-op job while female while in engineering school.  Try filing a sexual harassment suit without getting blackballed.  

            None of these very real, and very damaging issues that women in nontraditional work face every day will be addressed with "Leaning In."  Believe me, we have had to push our way in, and hard.  

            And have gotten nothing but a BS "show a little leg, dearie" or (ahem) advice to "Lean In" for it.   Sorry, but I was an ONR Postdoc at Harvard when Sheryl Sandberg was a freshman there.  

            She has no idea what she is talking about.  

            "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

            by bekosiluvu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 01:16:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Have you read the Feminine Mystique or Lean In? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              glorificus

              We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

              by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 01:23:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes. And, I have also read (6+ / 0-)

                Delusions of Gender

                and

                Detective Marie Cirile: Memoirs of a Police Officer

                and

                Maureen Honey's Creating Rosie the Riveter

                Margaret Rossiter's History of women scientists in America, volume I and volume II (and volume III just came out month before last) and met to chat with Margaret many times when I was a postdoc at Cornell -- and she was fighting a battle of her own, to get on the tenure track.  Now she has a named senior chair, and an award named after her.  

                The fact is that there are many, many women who have a great deal more experience than Sheryl Sandberg in male-dominated environments, and have had to fight far harder battles than she will ever face.  

                By addressing primarily women in office jobs, with primarily only "office-y" problems to solve (there is not a single engineer or academic research scientist in her "Lean In" website's stories -- and only one firefighter), and by pretending that getting experientially unqualified women into office jobs that nominally "leadership", she is really not doing anyone any favors.

                Men will not follow a woman who has not done any time in the trenches, and women will not follow a woman who is blithely oblivious all the decades we spent smashing against locked doors just to be able to get into the room -- telling us we just have to "sit at the table."  Please.  

                "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

                by bekosiluvu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 02:15:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Would you consider writing a diary covering some (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tardis10, glorificus, bookgirl

                  of the things you have gotten out of those books for this series?

                  I would love to read your thoughts about women's issues based on your reading and your life experience.

                  We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

                  by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 02:24:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I am serious, by the way. It frightens me how far (5+ / 0-)

                  back we have fallen. I don't think Lean In is the answer, only a part of the solution for the women to whom it applies.

                  Meanwhile, women's rights are being stripped every day by a power structure that largely ignores our voices.

                  I think we need a conversation. And that conversation has to include different perspectives and voices. I'd like to hear yours.

                  We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

                  by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 02:37:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh absolutely! No problem! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Susan from 29

                    There are things I like about the whole "Lean In" thing --

                    and one of them is encouraging young women to talk to each other about the things they see going on.  

                    Unfortunately, I really don't trust a protege of Larry Summers.  

                    After all, he basically engineered the financial market deregulation that so negatively impacted heads of households, women and people of color disproportionately.

                    Not to mention what he said about women scientists and engineers.

                    So I'm not sure how helpful it will be for women in nontraditional work,  particularly those of us who aspire to create new knowledge, make new discoveries, patent new technological innovations.  

                    One of the most common excuses you hear for the gender gap in pay is that women don't major in STEM fields, don't take dangerous or overseas jobs, don't like to get their hands dirty.  

                    I really struggle with the ability of a C-suite cutie in high heels to help us with that.  Not all of us are interested in being the amanuensis to The Great Man in The Great Company.  

                     And, I am particulary concerned that "leaning in" means, necessarily, giving the Mighty Bell and LeanIn apps access to all of our facebook contacts, personal data and posting streams.  

                    "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike.” -Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

                    by bekosiluvu on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:25:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I hear what you are saying, I had to put aside (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      glorificus, bookgirl

                      my feelings about her work for Larry Summers (her mentor) and Robert Rubin, and her connections to Facebook and Google.  I just wanted to hear what she had to say that upset so many women pundits.  

                      And yes, I too am concerned about the general privacy issues with Facebook and Mighty Bell. But I wonder how much of that is my age and my own bias. I know a lot of younger women who don't see the same problems that I do and freely share on Facebook.

                      I would love to have you contribute a diary expressing these opinions and ideas and the books as a counterpoint to this one. Not so much condemning Sandberg (of course you are free to do so) but presenting the real Rosie the Riveter and the work of some of the other writers you have mentioned.

                      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

                      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 06:00:21 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  How wonderful to hear that you knew Rossiter! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Susan from 29

                  I very much enjoyed her histories of women in the sciences, and now that I know that there's a third volume I will track it down. I am very pleased that she has continued her important work.

                  Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

                  by peregrine kate on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:04:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting comment, thanks. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29, glorificus, Brecht, liz

      Actually, I read this diary's review of the author's work, and feared it might go too far in the direction of what I consider to be "1980's Feminism," or, holding out the traditional, male-dominated workplace and culture as some kind of "given" ambitious women should try live with and accommodate.

      Women who lack conventional career ambition, of course, aren't even talked-about.

      Far better, in my book, to REFORM the sexist culture than to try to "fit into" it.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:30:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not a woman. Why should this matter to me? (9+ / 0-)

    Because I believe in humanity, and want to see a more humane USA.

    I love that line you bolded:

    We must raise both the ceiling and the floor
    If you apply that across the board, it's most of what the Democratic party needs to fight for.

    I'm pretty lucky: I was born a white man, with a professor as a Dad, and I've found more opportunities than obstacles in my life. But the biggest opportunity, which was getting closer in my childhood, but has been (in too many respects) receding since 1980, is to belong to a country where women, minorities, those who are different, young and old, and those who struggle with poverty, all belong equally and together.

    You can't get there, as Scalia would have it, by calling equal voting rights "perpetuating racial entitlements". You get there by getting more Americans to pay attention to the floor and the ceiling, and keep pushing until we're all standing in the same room.

    Thanks for an illuminating diary, Susan from 29.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:04:35 PM PDT

    •  Earlier in her book she discusses the chicken and (7+ / 0-)

      the egg issue of women's rights: do we change the laws and institutions first to enable women to get power, or do we get power first and then change the institutions and the laws. Although her book is focusing on helping women get power, she is highly supportive of changing the laws and institutions to make that achievable. We need to work at both at the same time.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:17:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A great post Susan (7+ / 0-)

    When I was a young, closeted gay man, just starting out in "professional" jobs, I felt intimidated, perhaps in a similar way you describe above, that I would probably not get promoted because I was not a man with a wife (and or children); families needed the money more than I did, I was once told.  And I was once graded harder, and told to my face that I received a harsher review because I was more educated than those in the same position.  

    This started an unfortunate cycle for me.  If I just worked harder and longer than everyone, I would achieve.  Well, this worked, until I settled into a committed relationship, and my partner sat me down and told me that I really only needed to give 100%, not 200%.  He told me it was damaging to my self-image and it was hurting our relationship.  Perhaps it was the 'drone" aspect of bosses valuing those busy little bees who  appear happy in their jobs, but once I gained more self-confidence and could look at the job more creatively,  the promotions began.

    I think more men than you might guess can identify in many ways with the points Sandberg is making.

    Susan, your devotion to the Readers and Book Lovers group is amazing.  I loved the initial diary on the bookstore series, and, of course, I am looking forward to your mystery series tonight.  A big thank you.  

    Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

    by jarbyus on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 01:35:20 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for your kind words. Sandberg quotes a (4+ / 0-)

      life partner who said something very similar to what yours did. That fear and lack of confidence is very destructive.

      She also spends a chapter talking about how important our choice of life partner is and what we should look for in him/her. Sounds like you already know.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 01:47:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Susan! Friedan's book was HUGE in my life (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Brecht, glorificus

    As was Robin Morgan's Sisterhood is Powerful. They came along at the perfect time for me, when chafing against the constraints was just unbearable. I was so frustrated and angry about the stupid limitations on women that I held those books very close. And even though meetings always drive me nuts, including so-called "consciousness-raising" sessions, I went to them just so the top of my head wouldn't blow off.

    I was so nervous in the period in between that push and today's nearly universal acceptance of feminism (in the Dem party, anyway). Those years when younger women, having heard so much ridicule and stereotyping, claimed to reject "women's lib" while living feminism? Maybe it was a necessary phase, a way to eventually make feminism their own, but I'm glad that's done.

    Anyway, really enjoyed this diary!

    "I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love." Mitt Romney

    by scilicet on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 02:02:47 PM PDT

  •  SO lucky to have read The Feminine Mystique at 17, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Brecht, glorificus

    to have attended consciousness raising sessions AND to lead the way for Women's Studies classes in the 1970s. I even had to go back to school just to  take some of those classes ten+ years later. But I often wonder where it all went. The successes were NOT in becoming a part of the good ole white boy money system but in telling those "elitists" white boys we didn't need them or their money to be happy.  SOME men have caught on.... but sadly they are not the ones seeking "power" these days.

  •  All for ambitous women (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Brecht

    giving reign to their ambition and "grabbing levers of power" in business and government and whatever.

    But I'm even more in favor of examining underlying social programming that denigrates traditional "women's work"--homemaking--so that men will take up the slack more, and feel only pride and a sense of accomplishment in doing so.

    I'm very wary of the promotion "super mom," that creature who sits on a Board of Directors at a Fortune 500 company, and comes home to a spotless house and cooks a 5-star gourmet meal for her delighted family and her gifted children complete their homework in stellar fashion...

    This creature must be scrutinized. (I think feminism was going in the right direction in the 1970s, before it got hijacked in the 1980s...)

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:19:09 PM PDT

    •  You mean like this: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, glorificus, oceanview, Brecht, antimony
      As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home.
      And this:
      We all need to encourage men to lean in to their families. Unfortunately, traditional gender roles are reinforced not just by individuals, but also by employment policies. Most companies in the United States offer more time off for maternity than paternity leave, and men take far fewer extended breaks from work for family reasons. Our laws support this double standard. In the United States, only five states provide any income replacement for the care of a new baby (which is a large problem in and of itself). In three of these states, this benefit is only offered to mothers and is characterized as a pregnancy disability benefit. Only two states offer a paid family leave benefit that fathers can use. In general, fathers do not take much time off for a new child; a survey of fathers in the corporate sector found that the vast majority took off one week or less when their partners gave birth, hardly enough time to start out as an equal parent.
      Sandberg does not claim all of the answers. But she is willing to try something to get the conversations started. And we really need to have these conversations again.

      Sadly.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:44:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My apologies for not reading every word (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, glorificus, Brecht

        of your review. Thanks for highlighting these passages.

        I'd add, in fairness, we're already moving in the right direction. I was raised in the Age of Divorce, during the 1970s. I remember very well what dad did following a divorce: he split. He basically vanished out of his children's lives. He sent child support, if he was a good guy, and his kids came to visit him during the summer. Nowadays, the role of father is maybe taken more seriously than it was back then. Following a divorce, it's not unheard-of for a father to move to be closer to his kids, and to have some kind of "joint custody" with the kids' mother. It's not unheard-of, either, for married couples to have household responsibilities worked  out somewhat equitably. This was certainly rarer back then.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:59:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, those were not in my review, but in the (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karmsy, glorificus, oceanview, Brecht

          book itself. She also tells a story of a friend of hers who was basically snubbed by the Mommy & Me club when he brought his child to a meeting. She thought that was wrong.

          But it was passages like that that brought me down in favor of this book.

          Sandberg discusses the need to work from both directions; women working the system to gain power and at the same time working to change the system to make it easier for women to share power with men.

          We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

          by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 06:16:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome overview of both books (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this.

    I read Feminine Mystique before I spent years as a stay-at-home mom. I bet I'd get more from it now in hindsight than I did as a 20-year-old. And Lean In ... honestly, it's been so panned by current crop of women pundits I was scared off of it. You've now made me want to read it! Good job!

  •  Who in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    footNmouth

    world, that most women live in, gives a rats ass about breaking glass ceilings for the player's we call success. Yeah Hillary your such a bad ass, so liberated. Go you female players in the game that looks at corporate success as a measure of liberation for women.

  •  At 20 I read the Feminine Mystique (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Brecht, RiveroftheWest

    It was my door to growing up.  I knew that the life my mother had was to small but I didn't have any concept of what I wanted.  In 1950's and early 60's women weren't encouraged to have a career path.  I knew I would work all my life because I wasn't going to ask someone else for money.  but what was I going to do.  I read all the major feminist writers and they gave me the strength to make my life the way I wanted.  The hard part was having a partner and lover that supported me too.  that was not an easy path but I am happy that I have lived the full life that I imagined. I was fortunate that the laws began to change, abortion was no longer a backstreet trip to possible death. Other women were on the same path and gave me courage. My mother a smart, engaged women did not have the  choices i did.  I hope our children will take up the challenge and keep women moving forward to full partnership and opportunities.  Even though I am no longer running my business, I am going to order this book.  I want to know the next chapter and feel part of it.  Women hold up half the sky we need to be  full participants with all the  choices and rewards.

  •  My Cynical Reaction to all this --- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

     Sadly, I see this as deja vu all over again.    I have the feeling that the brouhaha over Sandbergs book has a kind of plastic and unnatural feel about it.   I suspect that a large part of it is a coordinated campaign at very high levels that integrates publishers, internet mavens, opinion makers, big business, the fashion industry, women's magazines and religious social organizations in an effort to stimulate the will of women so that we will continue to work really hard to continue to produce and stay in harness to maintain status quo for people like Larry Summers and the Koch brothers.
        We are at a very vulnerable economic/social balance these days, with growing awareness of how ordinary people are being screwed, glued, and tattooed.  The Occupy movement was a symptom and contagion that had to be capped.   Substitute movements are being developed to channel all that dissatisfaction into more benefit for the elite.  Wake up, people, your dreams are being manipulated in a vast connected concert.
         A revived women's movement fantasy of board rooms and highheels is now created by the Media for our consumption with Marissa and Sandberg as star attractions.  Got to keep those women workin' and producing and holding it together while the men get more fed up, closer to figuring it out, and thow in those towels.

        The same Media that has coordinated tight straight skirts, high heels,  bright and colorful women's wear in yellow, emerald green, and abstract patterns all at once in every TV sitcom, newsroom, crime drama, every newstand magazine, every Movie screen is also coordinating the thought memes we process on the internet.  
        There's also a big push right now for men wearing hats, although I don't know the implications for that.

         A new fantasy of Big Religion is also being created, with joy in poverty, humility,and acceptance of fate as the  new bywords.  Even the global warming mother earth people might warm up with the references to St. Francis, friend of birds and dumb animals.  Roll over for totalitarian government?

         Anyhow, I think that everything in Sandberg's book needs to be taken with a grain of salt,  there are life changing risks for a woman to 'lean in'  that she should be made aware of before she does, it's not all so clean and easy as it looks.  

    •  Thank you for your thoughtful comment. (0+ / 0-)

      Sandberg's work will help some women, other women will find nothing they didn't already know but had never verbalized, and still others will find nothing of value.

      Personally, I found the snide, condescending critiques of the book by the Very Serious pundit class to be irritating. Especially  since so many had clearly not read it.

      She has a lot to say. She says it well. Take what fits into your life and leave the rest.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 01:05:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those snide and condescending remarks are part of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        the build up, a way to keep the issues simmering in the public consciousness, just like the 'mommy wars' that have been so ably stoked by the Media to keep women on edge and spending.   Bad PR is good PR.  

        The Very Serious pundit class makes it's money with clever comments, no matter which side of any debate.  They are so removed from the nitty gritty people shouldn't credit them with much real knowledge.

        After having worked in Silicon valley for forty years, I am incredibly suspicious of the managment of most companies out here.  Nothing is as it seems.

         Sandberg's book, to me, is another career capstone memoir -- at a certain point, the 'really great'  C level people are expected to product a book about their success, usually a group effort with a lot of paid consultants shaping it.  "From Pepsi to Apple" comes to mind.  

        Kudos to you, Susan from 29, though, for remaining present for comments after delivery of your Diary!  So often people here drop off their thoughts and run.  

  •  If enough women refuse to bear children (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    Because they can't deal with the poverty and privation, then I'm thinking that more would be done to support them.

    Of course, the right wing way is to do everything they can to force them to live with abusive cruel men to survive. They would take away all reproductive rights to force girls/women into that.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 07:14:51 PM PDT

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