Update: nicoleandmaggie and Flavia (in the comments) have convinced me that I've missed some important features of Sandberg's perspective, so while I'm leaving this post up, you don't need to read further.
I've been away from the news for a while and missed the uproar over Sheryl Sandberg's book telling women to "lean in," which seems to mean "pay attention to your career and demand more."
Sandberg has a lot of advice spoken and unspoken. The spoken part: (1) be ambitious, (2) support women in positions of power, and (3) ask for power yourself. The unspoken part: (1) be wealthy, (2) have household help, (3) attract a powerful mentor such as Lawrence Summers so that he can help to elevate you above the crowd.
Sandberg says she wants women to be paid more and to teach them to negotiate to do that. How are we negotiate and "marshal power" in academe, when there are hundreds of people for each t-t job and the humanities are under attack as it is?
I gather Sandberg's book originated in a TED talk, which for all the hype about them seem to go something like this:
What's most interesting to me is that the media is portraying this as a war of women against women--women trying to tear down other women by sniping at their levels of privilege. I don't care about her feminist credentials or lack thereof, and who's giving out those badges, anyway?
What's galling, I think, is that this is just the latest person of privilege telling the rest of us how to live.
- What about Bill Gates telling us how to reform education by replacing teachers with software?
- What about MOOC providers telling us that our lecturing is bad but theirs is transformational?
- What about Paul Ryan, with a gold-plated Congressional health plan, telling us that "just let 'em die" vouchers will be a good system of health care?
It's not so much that she's a woman, or is or is not a feminist, or what have you. It's that we're getting tired of the preachments of the wealthy explaining why what we do isn't good enough and that our low salaries are our own fault.