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Feature — Bailing and Wailing Versus Leaning In, It’s a Global Women’s Issue

The 14 year-old girl who took on the Taliban, and showed the world the power of one females voice.

The 14 year-old girl who took on the Taliban,
and showed the world the power of one female’s voice.

So let’s put aside the psychological and cultural barriers to women’s success for a moment, and get real: this is equally about the economics. Don’t just lean in, save up (for the hired help). – The True Cost of Leaning In

ANOTHER DAY, another lame case against “having it all.” Never mind that this was never a promise of feminism, or Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In, and the latest woman in the era of bailing and wailing about working women’s inequality. No one even considering or thinking about what the American women’s revolution means to the world looking in and how important it is for all of us, men too, to buck the f*@! up.

The latest article is from the Daily Beast, because at the very least everyone has to chime in and drive traffic, no matter how insipid the writing.

The article is from Hannah Seligson, which is at least decent because she offers the math on motherhood and leaning in, but does what everyone else does, which is misses the central themes of Sandberg’s message, by refusing to accept or digest them.

Let’s start with the biggest issue with Seligson’s article, which is that Sandberg clearly notes that not every woman will be able to keep her career on track when having kids. That’s undeniable. But the real problem with Seligson’s argument is that even women who can afford to stay at work and opt for all the child care and other help to make it work with their high powered careers are choosing to bail and wail about the not being able to “have it all,” even when they can. That is the problem, because they’re choosing not to, which is far more elitist, not to mention self-indulgent, than anything Sandberg wrote.

Then there’s the other issue. An excerpt from Seligson:

This is no longer some bourgeois luxury; it’s a necessity given the lack of affordable childcare options and the reality that men have not picked up much of the slack at home (whether because they are burning the midnight oil at their own work, or because they prefer to watch football with the guys). This is why my husband and I, even though we are currently in the DINK category (double income, no kids), started squirreling away money in a “nanny fund” right after we got married. Why? If I am going to continue “leaning in” to my career, even having a supportive husband is not enough to compensate for this dismal finding: When a husband and wife are both employed full-time, the mother does 40 percent more childcare and about 30 percent more housework than the father. And in 2013 we are hardly closer as a society than Boomers were to universal paid maternity or paternity leave or flexible careers that facilitate the coexistence of career and parenthood. Instead, parents–usually moms–rev up for turboparenting at whatever late hour they get off work. The second shift, as sociologist Arlie Hochschild coined, is alive and kicking.

One of Sandberg’s main cases is that men have to be encouraged, cajoled, and if that doesn’t work, threatened and sent to a hotel, if he doesn’t do his 50 percent [Sandberg didn't actually suggest the hotel, that was me, in case you were wondering]. Women simply must not accept this anymore. Why is Seligson promoting that preferring to watch football is even an option?

I have little doubt that the next worry will be that women won’t be able to get married if they’re too demanding of men. Men want to be involved if there’s a positive pay off. Being a fully present father and husband, which now includes 50% of the domestic chores, is not so bad after work, if the whole house is engaged, including the kids, and dad gets rewarded.

The resistance to Sheryl Sandberg’s very simple recipe for women who have the fortitude, feminist husband’s who want to be fathers and teach their children what a modern man looks like, as well as the means and the corporate backing in her job to be able to demand what women deserve, so at least it’s begun somewhere, is astounding.

The ones who will pay for the bailing and wailing contingent are the next generation of women, because they’ll have to fight the same inequality, including in their relationships, because too few could do what was needed. Because technology is only going to expand, making children more independent earlier, so a mother’s role is going to have to change or her Stepford feminist choices will come back to haunt her, just like the feminine mystique did for previous generations of women.

As a woman who was forged in the modern feminist movement it was always about being part of the continuing revolution to push women up the ladder of leadership, however I could do it and in whatever capacity. But then I watch the world and what’s still happening to women across the globe and their plight and fight has always been a tiny kernel inside the fruit of my own feminism.

If only American women had half of the fortitude of the 14-year old girl Malala Yousufzai who took on the Taliban all by herself.

Every woman who decides to stand and fight helps women less fortunate. We all win when a woman leans in.

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.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
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