book reviews change

Lean In | There’s Room in this World for ALL Women to be Successful | Let’s Discuss

Lean In

“The promise of equality is not the same as true equality.”

So I finished reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg a little over a month ago but it was a recent email from BlogHer announcing the author as a keynote speaker at the BlogHer’13 conference held in Chicago later this week, that reminded me I had planned on discussing it here but hadn’t yet. In her book she asks women What could we accomplish if we weren’t afraid?

Anyway, while I did enjoy most of the book, I sort of wished it were better, and was left feeling, meh about it. I guess I had higher expectations from and for it, and while it did make me question a few of my own biased stereotypes I didn’t even know existed, the amount of personal information in the book made it a little boring for me. Granted, it is her book and while I am really trying to keep a positive perspective, I couldn’t tell if I honestly just didn’t care about certain aspects of her life, OR if I lost interest in the areas in which she spoke at length about work/life balance and childcare while trying to build a career, and those areas just didn’t apply to me because I don’t have children? I wonder if any of you with children felt the same as I did or found those chapters supremely relevant? It was just that she didn’t seem to be offering any tips in helping women to figure out how to balance it all, she was just saying how difficult it was for her and how she and her husband didn’t manage it properly.

What I also considered while reading her ideas and perspective on the matter, is that the author is older than I am, not by much, but even five years can change ideals. She was at the end of a generation of women who had to work much harder, in my opinion, to prove that they were “just like men” and “could do anything a man could do” and were struggling “in a man’s world” to get ahead. Or I should say, at the beginning of a generation that was in the process of changing their ideals. And whereas I watched my mom struggle with this as a working woman in the 1980’s, I feel that my generation accepts women as equals more than, let’s just say, their fathers and grandfathers did. But maybe that’s just been my experience? Because even though women still earn less than men on average today, the people afraid to change the rules and who are writing the paychecks may still be from those generations past. And as each generation passes, more acceptance and equality should follow… or at least one would hope.

I think the one thing I took from the book most is that the word “feminist”, which has such a negative connotation and stereotype attached to it, is defined as: Someone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

I mean, in this century, who doesn’t? Why do I have to be labeled with a negative word said with a sneer, when I do believe that we should ALL be treated equally? And why does that word have such negative connotations? My guess is that men were trying to suppress everything it stood for when it originated, and that they did such a fantastic job of ingraining it into our heads, that even women who do stand for such things, don’t want to be labeled for it.

“We have to acknowledge how stereotypes and biases cloud our beliefs and perpetuate the status quo. Instead of ignoring our differences, we need to accept and transcend them.”

But since I’ve read the book, this topic has been openly floating around more and I’m not sure if it’s just on my radar now, or if the book itself has put everybody on alert. And if so, then bravo.

A few nights ago I watched a documentary called Why We Laugh: Funny Women about female comedians and what is required of them to be successful in the male dominated stand-up comedy business. And while I wondered why there weren’t more female comedians represented in the documentary, nearly all of them said that the movie Bridesmaids {2011} literally broke ground for them as comedians as far as what men AND women would accept and translate as “funny”. Really? 2011!?

I hadn’t really thought about it but it’s similar to what I’ve felt for so many years about women being placed in a box and even perpetuating this myth that we all have to act a certain way and dress a certain way and be lady-like and proper and even un-funny when men don’t have to play by the same rules. When I chatted about the documentary with my husband the next morning, one of the first things he said was Well, women just aren’t funny… immediately followed by his statement that Amy Schumer is the funniest stand-up comedian right now. Clearly, while he didn’t believe what he had said to be the truth, he couldn’t seem to let go of this heavily ingrained stereotype. Though he followed with because she is honest and relatable I still think he wasn’t grasping the fact that it hasn’t been until recent decades that women were “allowed” to be that kind of funny and accepted and applauded for it.

In all my life I have been in sort of solo careers, like one-man operations {no pun intended}, with no one else competing for my job. My husband refers to me as a rogue agent. Even at the art gallery I worked at for over ten years, each employee had their own job. I’ve never been in a position where I felt like I had to climb the ladder or pay my dues or feel jealousy over a competitive female or male force.

Until I became a blogger.

But in this very new career I am in, which didn’t exist as it does now even ten years ago, the rules are changing for women. As a blogger and writer for larger platforms like Babble and Blogher, I work with only women. Women own and run these companies, I report to women on all levels of my jobs, my agents are women, and when working with brands and PR companies, it’s women I get to work with.

So maybe the early feminists had it wrong, not that they didn’t set the groundwork for all of us today, but maybe the goal isn’t to try to do what a man does and to do it better, maybe the goal is to create a new working world in which women are starting new businesses and running them with their girlfriends and doing things men could never do. Maybe it’s already being done and maybe we just need more women to ask themselves What WOULD I do if I wasn’t afraid?

Have you read the book?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.


Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

You may also like...