I wasn’t going to read Lean In — too much hype, too much angst, too much infighting.
But, Sheryl Sandberg is keynoting BlogHer ’13 so I figured the least I could do would be to read her book.
I’m glad I did.
No Sandberg doesn’t represent all women, or even most women I know. It’s impossible for ANY woman to represent ALL women, that doesn’t mean her message isn’t valid or appropriate or important or… right.
Yes, the point she’s addressing is that women have to step up errr lean in and make things better for themselves and for other women. That’s totally true. No, she’s not addressing the bigger systemic issues, the patriarchal issues, but she mentions that right up front (and several times) — she never suggested that the ONLY solution is for women to change. She said (several times) that these are things we can do, right now.
Things. We. Can. Do.
And I like that.
Because lord knows the system isn’t jumping up and down to change. Rich, white, men in power aren’t jumping up and down to change. Institutional discrimination. Cultural expectations. Psychological issues. Yea, there are a lot of things that have to change before the working world (and the world at large) is a better place for women (and as a result, a better place for everyone.)
But how do you change those things?
Slowly. Very slowly.
And, by doing the things YOU can do right now.
I get that.
Lean In isn’t a perfect book. I groaned a lot. I rolled my eyes at Sandberg’s stories because they are so … privileged… it was hard to look beyond the surface and really hear what she was trying to say.
Which is a problem I think most of us have.
When we try to talk to each other about race or religion or gay rights or women’s rights or any other social issue, we have a hard time relating to what others are saying and sharing because those aren’t our experiences. We have a hard time letting go of the details and looking at the big picture.
Sheryl Sandberg is a powerful, wealthy white woman none of which means she shouldn’t be sharing advice with those who aren’t powerful, wealthy white women.
Have you noticed powerful, wealthy men who give advice and talk about all of the things we can do to change, get ahead, succeed, don’t get slammed because they are powerful and wealthy and can’t relate…?