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Why is no one talking about 'lean In'?

(34 Posts)
princessx Wed 17-Jul-13 00:06:41

I've just read 'lean In' by Sheryl Sandberg and came on mumsnet to have a good old discussion about it. Alright, I may have missed the boat as it was published in March. But a search has brought up almost nothing plus no mention in any of the book threads.

New York Magazine review said:
'Call it lean in, call it consciousness raising, call it whatever you want. When was the last time anybody talked this much about a women's place in the world, period?'

Given that the book is talking about how to make motherhood and a career work for you, you'd think mumsnet would be the prime place to discuss it.

Has anyone read it? If so, what do you think?

SinisterSal Wed 17-Jul-13 01:35:05

prob cause the fwr section of mumsnet is a bit crap, full of moaners?

em, no, but there has been some discussion about it,though maybe not a thread of its own. It comes up from time to time as part of a broader discussion.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Furzella Wed 17-Jul-13 10:36:16

I loved it. And had a rubbish sense of humour failure about the 'lean out' piece in the Evening Standard the other day. I thought the section about ensuring your partner is actively supportive and engaged is so true. Although she's ultra alpha, she seemed more normal and more recognisably my sort of female than, say, Mrs Moneypenny in her book a couple of years ago.

slug Wed 17-Jul-13 11:53:45

One of the reasons I am a Facebook refusnik is because it is one of the most anti women virtual spaces on the web. The place abounds with VAW and rape apologists.

I simply cannot take Sheryl Sandberg seriously. What on earth is the point of 'leaning in' in order to get to the head of an organisation that apologetically normalises violence against women?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 17-Jul-13 12:28:28

OP, have you advance searched Sheryl Sandberg? There was a stickied discussion when the book came put.

princessx Wed 17-Jul-13 12:45:09

I'm actually reading the mrs moneypenny book at the moment!

I thought lean in was good because it is picking up on something that hasn't been discussed before: the idea of leaning back when you should be leaning into your career. I did this unwittingly in the 4 years leading up to the birth of dd, and now 6 yrs later I haven't progressed at all in my career.

She seems overloaded by quoting data and studies, but some were interesting. Like no one envying the too women's careers. I was really career focused until I saw the top women at work, and thought no way do I want to be like them. They were so harried and stressed.

I thought the chapter in likability a bit odd and demotivating. My current company has a female CEO and the majority of senior managers are women, so that chapter didn't make much sense to me.

I totally agree with the point about making your partner a real partner. That's where I've seen things work best for my friends. (Pity I'm going through a big divorce)

I didn't see the evening standard article, but I'll see if I can find it online.

princessx Wed 17-Jul-13 12:50:12

Oh thanks for tip, will advance search now.

slug I took the point of the book to be how to take control of your career and marriage to make it work for you. It wasn't completely motivating, but did raise some points to think about

SinisterSal Wed 17-Jul-13 23:16:32

Yes I was being sarky, unneccessarily so, sorry for confusion.

Dozer Thu 18-Jul-13 17:49:11

I've been tempted to read it - and have been urged to take more on at work (am PT and definitely "lean out"- but for me the issue is whether /
how two partners in or near London with small DC and no family support can have full-on careers. Most jobs with prospects seem to involve long hours and the current circumstances, job insecurity and so on, make it hard.

Realistically, unless you can afford and want to use long-hours childcare, one or both partners has to work fewer hours, which impacts on prospects.

It seems to me that long hours equals success.

Dozer Thu 18-Jul-13 17:50:25

Career success that is! Not necessarily a happy life.

BasilBabyEater Thu 18-Jul-13 21:15:10

What does lean in actually mean?

I've been meaning to ask for ages

SkiSchoolRun Thu 18-Jul-13 21:20:54

The lean out article was crap! Might order the SS book.

kickassangel Sun 21-Jul-13 16:03:15

Had to stop reading the lean out article half way through.

A book talking about how women can become part of top careers just like men is not the same thing as discussing why other people may not want those careers at all. So why focus on women who don't want them? Why not discuss why some people do or don't want high flying careers, and the impact that has on them, their families, and society as a whole?

There are a few issues here for me. Why women do get held back so much (and there are plenty of wome who lean in but still get rejected. Doesn't matter what direction you're leaning if the boss wants an applicant with a penis). Why it is seen as so necessary to be a big success. The impact on families and society of parents working long hours. Why some jobs get so much more pay than others (nurses etc work hard and lean in, but with much fewer rewards).

It is good to discuss equality in reaching the top, but equally good to discuss how to lie a happy fulfilling life without that pressure. After all, we can't all be CEO of a big company. Someone actually has to do the other jobs.

kickassangel Sun 21-Jul-13 18:13:06

Actually, the more I think about this, the more concerned I am that trying to get into the top jobs just perpetuates the capitalist & patriarchal systems in society.

Why are we trying to buy in to this lifestyle?

I know it will never happen, but if we could hit a 'reset' button, wouldn't we choose a society in which people/families/children and their care were one of the most valued and respected lifestyles? not some big shot high achievers.

I am also very hmm about this idea of outsourcing. Men don't outsource their family obligations - they get a wife to do it or stay a bachelor. If families like mine (dh & I both work) that have a cleaner, it is seen as ME outsourcing, when in fact it is us trying to make the family home function.

MsJupiterJones Sun 21-Jul-13 19:18:20

Look for posts by Xenia.

Sparrowp Sat 27-Jul-13 01:37:04

"I was really career focused until I saw the top women at work, and thought no way do I want to be like them."

When I looked at careers of the top women at work, I realised there weren't any. at all. And there weren't any at the middle level either. But at my level, it was 50-50.

Yikes, what happens to all the women?
There is a problem here and its that some men actually sabotage women's careers. Some men are sexist and won't recognise women's achievements and contribution. Some won't give good jobs to women.

"There are a few issues here for me. Why women do get held back so much (and there are plenty of women who lean in but still get rejected. Doesn't matter what direction you're leaning if the boss wants an applicant with a penis). Why some jobs get so much more pay than others (nurses etc work hard and lean in, but with much fewer rewards).


rainrainandmorerain Sat 27-Jul-13 12:32:37

Agree, kickass.

I know the book is targeted at potentially higher flying career people (women, reallly - have any men read this book,? do they read stuff about the importance of being a supportive partner?). People like me in other words. Big career, main earner.

Ok, nothing wrong with that. But I still want to see the book aimed at the female workers who in our current set up, will be the working women looking after my children while I go out and have my successful career. Less educated than me, they certainly earn less. They basically have to lean back so I can lean in, for as long as top careers involve long hours. Unless men pull their weight more in terms of parenting. Can they do this while working the long hours necessary for a top career? or will they have to step out more?

Didn't SS have a nursery set up next to her office, with a full time nanny, so she could see a lot of her daughter while working full time? How many of us can do that? and didn't she ban her employees from working from home - which for many working parents offers the only way to make work/parenting/childcare/school pick ups doable?

Nice one.

rainrainandmorerain Sat 27-Jul-13 12:41:07

ps yes again kickass - re: outsourcing.

I think men need to 'insource' more. That's the only answer. Then everything from career structures to working hours would have to adjust.

This whole idea of work 'long hours and outsource everything domestic' (as if childcare was on a level with getting a cleaner in anyway...) is about at best a two tier society. Those who can outsource and those we outsource to. I think getting more women to top positions on politics, law, media and business IS damn important. But I don't want to see a lot of feminism becoming 'ultra alpha' women talking to other ultra alphas as if the rest of the world didn't exist.

slightlysoupstained Sat 27-Jul-13 12:56:50

rain I think you're mixing up Sandberg & Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo. (The one who was hired whilst pregnant, cue lots of offensive bollocks about OOOH SHE DOESN'T KNOW HER PRIORITIES WILL CHANGE WHEN SHE POPS, OOOH HOW DARE SHE, OOOH! That one.)

I am interested by how attempts to discuss Lean In seem so often to be critical of the book for having a focus. I liked it, I think it's a jolly good thing for women to feel they can talk about wanting to be successful in business, wanting a career, without having to feel guilty because not all women do.

slightlysoupstained Sat 27-Jul-13 13:06:18

<sigh> sorry, just reread previous post, sounds like veiled dig at ppl on this thread - not, just too lazy to track down examples...DS asleep on me so trying to type one-handed.

Going back to the book, I actually liked that she quoted lots of studies. Am thinking it should be mandatory reading for male managers.

rainrainandmorerain Sat 27-Jul-13 16:28:28

It didn't read as a dig soupstained, there were a lot of comments along those lines re: Meyer and motherhood, all over the place!

And yes I have mixed SS and MM up - apologies both.

I don't think there is anything wrong at all in women discussing how to have very successful careers (and I don't think guilt needs to come into it at all).

it's more that if we only discuss that strata of women who can have/want that sort of achievement, it actually limits the whole conversation about women/families and work.

As one of those 'career women', I'm not sure I've ever read anything more radical than 'well, if you want to get on, you must outsource all of your childcare from very early days so that you can be limitlessly available to your employer. Then behave as much like the successful men you can see above you.'

i live in hope of a more radical, transformative and fairer solution!

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 27-Jul-13 17:09:57

^ What rain said. There is a tendency to posit the feminist solution to anything as "behave as much like a man as possible" and I'm not sure how feminist or how much of a solution that is.

Plus this book and a lot of the related discussion is USian and their working culture is nothing to envy, IMHO, atrocious maternity leave and minimal paid leave. I would be more interested in hearing a Scandinavian version of leaning in.

Also such books seem to focus on a very narrow view of what a "career woman" is - someone who went to university and works in an office.

slightlysoupstained Sat 27-Jul-13 21:58:54

Whilst it's obviously written from an US perspective as that's where the author is from, she did have someone researching international material (mentioned in the thanks at the back) and I think much of the points she makes certainly apply to UK working culture as I've experienced it.

I also don't think Sandberg is advocating "act like a man" - the chapter on success & likeability points out in depth how acting "like a man" actually tends to get women penalised. I found the advice on how to stand up for yourself without being penalised for not being "nice" tremendously helpful, and I don't think that applies to only career women, or only women who work in offices, or only rich white Americans.

AutumnMadness Sat 27-Jul-13 22:25:17

Sorry, I have not read the book. Probably should.

Just wanted to say that I find the whole concept of "career" a bit cringey and vaguely potentially sexist. Why not just "work"? "Work" to me has more positive connotations. It means a productive activity that contributes to something beyond the worker. "Career" is a bit too much about self-promotion. Why is most of talk about women in the workplace focused on careers - i.e. self-promotion - as opposed to the simple right to work and contribute to society in different ways, whether you are a top manager/rocket scientist or not?

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