The End of Leaning In

 I recently came across a headline in the New York Times titled What Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ Has Meant to Women, then and now. My thoughts flashed back to why I never read this book. I then wondered “Are women still drinking this Kool-Aid?”  “Were women of color and the LGBQT+ ever drinking the Kool-Aid?” I always felt the Lean In Movement was not for me, and see it as the pinnacle of the ISM— particularly classism (“But now I know how to take a deep breath and keep my hand up. I have learned to sit at the table.”).

I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking “bullshit”. Can we discuss white privilege? I appreciated Goldberg calling this out “She was a white, Harvard-educated woman, months away from becoming one of the world’s youngest-ever billionaires.” Regarding sexism and racism, Koa Beck, 35, stated, “Sheryl Sandberg’s book placed emphasis on how the individual should change instead of the workplace at large, the book didn’t just offer unhelpful advice on addressing inequality. It was a fundamental reflection of the problem. Without any structural changes, you are leaning on low-income women of color to support this lean-in fantasy. Or, put another way, one corporate lawyer’s ability to hire several nannies so she can work late into the night on her way to partner wasn’t going to address the childcare crunch for everyone else.” Rosa Brooks, 51 and a professor at Georgetown University’s law school, added that Ms. Sandberg’s leadership tenure raised deeper questions about her workplace philosophy. “It’s not just ‘How do I succeed on the terms of the workplace?’ but ‘How do I change the workplace, and make it a force for good {and inclusive}?’ I believe Katha Pollitt, a feminist columnist, summed it up: “Society has moved on, we pay a lot more attention now to the structural disadvantages women have — everything from sexual harassment to childcare to no national paid maternity leave.”   

What are your thoughts on the Lean In Movement?  What do you think every woman should be reading (my list is below)? I also ask again, do these books exist for men?

Women’s Literature Suggestions

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4 Responses to The End of Leaning In

  1. adguru101 says:

    As a white, hetero, woman, I also called bs on Leaning In and never read her book either because why did I need to help subsidize some out-of-touch, privileged, billionaire?!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know if my comment will be received well, thus I won’t comment my thoughts. But thanks for this post. I will say that I’m not a huge fan of Sheryl….I read the one book where she shared with the world how her hubby died and I believe she’s now married to the close friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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