There are so many reasons not to venture out today–constant threat of some rain, live old-school filibuster on C-SPAN (not at diaper stage yet, but KEEP WATCHING), and, of course, the distant rumble of the Mommy War a-brewing. Mommy Wars are the best kind of war: Everyone pretty much does what makes them happiest, there are few casualties, and everyone gets to shake their heads judgily at the personal lives of others. And: People are willing to buy books about it.
Ruth Marcus’s salvo is as peaceful as things get in Mommy Wartime, a thoughtful high-five to Facebook honcho Sheryl Sandberg’s book about fighting the good fight for women in the C-suite (a term PostScript learned from a guy she sat next to on a plane recently and has been itching to deploy. It means executives whose titles start with C–EO, FO, OO, etc. Knowledge is power!) But in the comments, things get very sticky, as things do for people whose personal decisions and books about their personal decisions get public scrutiny.
byrneinhell53‘s criticism of Sandberg has nothing to do with work/life balance:
Perhaps some of the distaste for Ms. Sandberg has to do with what she actually does. In spite of the hoodies, the faux-hipness, and the bromides about ‘interconnectness, Facebook is actually concerned with abolishing our last vestiges of privacy in the service of hyper-targeted marketing. It’s a brilliant strategy, and they reap huge rewards for implementing it. The company adds no real value to our global culture, and it can be argued that they are drowning the real possibilities of the information age in digital snake-oil. Ambition and empowerment do not exist in a vacuum – intent, and the results of one’s endeavors should be part of the discussion.
FloridaChick, for contrast, is MORE interested in Sandberg’s history because it’s at Facebook–a nontraditional company where, apparently, some of the standard rules that got broken were about sexism:
A counterpoint is the excellent [Facebook employee since the boys’ club days of 2005 Katherine] Losse autobiography “Boy Kings.” about Facebook. Sandberg, who gamely fielded Zuck’s Aspie-like social gaffes, once heard herself introduced at a key juncture in her FB career as having great skin. Losse is at her best describing this kind of “glad she’s at the management table, but why does she have to field this weird bull poo?”
Sandberg shut down a persistent R-rated harassing coworker who was up in Losse’s grill. Sandberg used smarts, social skills and masterful Alpha Male management skills to make her name, and her fortune. Zuckerberg? Who focused FB as a chick-rating tool from the beginning? Summers, the strutting peacock who presumes his own primacy as a given? Please. The woman deserves a Nobel just for dealing with them. Good on her, and on Losse.
wtf123 is happy with her choices and kind of tired of talking about other people’s:
I’m a working mom. Do I struggle with work/life balance? Sure. Does my husband? Yes. In the end, our actions reflect our priorities or the need to deal with whatever wheel is squeaking the loudest at the moment. I suspect I am no different from most. I don’t know why we need to rehash, rethink, or in any way dwell on this idea of balance. It bloody is what it bloody well is. The time you waste thinking about this crap would be better spent getting actual work done or hanging out with your children.
That will never do! More Mommy War, stat!
tidelandermdva doesn’t know why this is a female-oriented conversation (except because women buy more books):
Marcus says Sandburg “is human in a — watch me get into trouble here — distinctively female way: emotional, guilt-ridden and plagued by a chronic, if low-grade, case of impostor syndrome. She is also fabulously smart, successful and wealthy.” ALL of us are human and emotional, guilt-ridden and plagued by a chronic, if low-grade, case of impostor syndrome, even if we aren’t female, however, we are not all fabulously smart, successful and wealthy.
postpat agrees. Everyone has these conversations:
And, yet, Ruth, while I see the value of Sandberg’s advice for women making their way in the work force, there’s the nagging feeling it overly projects women as uniquely lacking in self-confidence, overwhelmed by choices, timid, not assertive enough, too torn with family responsibilities to be effective…One can’t help wondering if her advice to young men regarding work would be different, and why that would be so. How much is real difference, either in ourselves, our circumstances, or the workplace we confront, and how much is stereotype?
freddiano, echoing, wants another book:
That would be a much more interesting read: Sheryl’s advice to Harvard Phi Beta Kappa young men.
We are just going to end with three guys (or hey, maybe gals) who definitely don’t agree women face special problems in the workplace.
golfnpsych doesn’t think there’s any inherent problem women face, except that they are, um, women:
As long as a woman starts with the premise inherent in feminism that she is a victim of a culture hell-bent on preventing her from succeeding, she will suffer the neurotic slings and arrows of believing she is human in a “distinctively female way”. When she simply accepts that achievement is difficult and means making difficult choices regardless of gender, she will have succeeded.
clued_in_to_thinking agrees. Western culture over-empowers women, who tend to be irrational and selfish when you give them any power or money:
Women in industrialized countries have been conditioned into believing that everyone–particularly men–always owes them something. Even if they don’t ask for it, they expect others to figure out what they want and provide it for them. There is no clear cut rule on when they should be regarded as “ladies” and when they should be regarded as “people” but they expect everyone to figure it out on their own. While Sandberg is advising women on how to get a husband who supports them, another billionaire, Bill Gates, is working to eradicate polio, hepatitis, and AIDS.
shangps backs that point up. Nope, nobody is super angry about women anymore, or believes they are inherently unequal:
Most men create things and make things happen (good and bad); most women focus on having things happen for them or to them. They are their own worst enemies.