Behold the Lean In CollectionMar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By ANDREW FERGUSON
Partly because I’m a guy, partly because my professor insisted on holding our Feminism and Culture class at 8 a.m., making it impossible for me to attend, I find myself now, decades later, far behind the curve of gender empowerment. The curve is shifting heavily to the distaff side. Can I still say “distaff”?
The statistics proving the point come in bite-size, journalist-friendly squibs: Men make up only half the labor force, down from 70 percent a generation ago. Sixty percent of the bachelor’s degrees in the United States are earned by women. Women hold most entry-level managerial jobs. Single women in urban areas out-earn men by as much as 8 percent, on average. Among all younger women, the infamous “pay gap” with men has shrunk to statistical insignificance. By some measures women dominate most of the fastest-growing professions. Over the last 30 years, their wages have risen 25 percent while those of men have fallen 4 percent.
I like to think that my Feminism and Culture professor, whatever became of her, would be pleased at the turn of events—view it indeed as a kind of triumph and vindication. But I can’t be sure. She might be pleased, or she might be one of those people who nod vigorously while reading the boffo bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. The book was released a year ago this month, and has been in the top 10 of the bestseller list ever since.
Sandberg’s book has been dismissed here and there as classist—the indulgence of a privileged woman who has abandoned the struggle now that she is safely at the top and has refashioned feminism to fit the desires of the fortunate few. And it is hard to argue with the criticism when you keep falling over sentences like this one: “The night before Leymah Gbowee won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to lead the women’s protests that toppled Liberia’s dictator, she was at a book party in my home.” I guess you had to be there.
At the same time, though, the criticism isn’t entirely fair. Rich as Croesus, successful beyond the dreams of all but a handful of industrial titans, Sandburg is animated by the same itchy agitation and discontent that have always animated the feminist cause. She insists, as feminists always have, that there is always more to do to empower the sisterhood and herself. And she continues to try to spread the word. Having more money than she knows what to do with, she started a foundation, the Lean In Foundation.
What does the foundation do? According to the mission statement, Lean In “is focused on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions” and “changing the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do.” It is “offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.” It will “talk openly about the challenges women face and work together,” and thereby “change the trajectory of women and create a better world for everyone.”
Focusing, encouraging, supporting, offering, conversing, talking, changing, and working together: not much, in other words. The website also plays brief video lectures, such as “Be Your Own Hero,” “Own the Room,” and “Managing Difficult Conversations.” You can watch as many as you want, no charge. It’s on Sandberg’s dime.
The foundation’s latest and most tangible initiative, announced toward the end of February, is a partnership with Getty Images, one of the world’s largest suppliers of stock photography—those generic, instantly forgettable pictures that editors use to illustrate their magazines and websites and that marketers use to make their advertisements irresistible to the plain folks. Getty is now curator of the Lean In Collection. Editors and marketers who can afford to will be able to buy stock photographs “devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls, and the people who support them.” Profits from the Lean In Collection will go to the Lean In Foundation, which supports the Lean In Collection. We can expect much focusing, offering, conversing, and talking in the years ahead.
Matthew Continetti weighs in on the "Double Bind."4:29 PM, Mar 11, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Matthew Continetti on his cover story, The Double Bind. Hosted by Michael Graham.
8:45 AM, Aug 15, 2012 • By CHARLOTTE ALLEN
The death of Helen Gurley Brown two days ago has given every obituary writer a shot at disproving the adage de mortuis nil nisi bonum. The New York Times cracked, "She was 90, but parts of her were considerably younger"—alluding to Brown's pathological addiction to plastic surgery during her declining years.
3:00 PM, Apr 20, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The National Organization for Women, a feminist group, announced a new initiative: "Enough Rush," a campaign against radio host Rush Limbaugh. The effort is designed to reignite the short-lived furor over apparently disparaging jokes Limbaugh made on his show earlier this year about feminist activist Sandra Fluke.
If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat? 4:08 PM, Apr 1, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Over at Washington Monthly, Kathleen Geier writes about how The Ethicist columnist at the New York Times magazine is promoting an essay contest where readers argue that it is, in fact, ethical to continue eating meat. Only it seems that Geier is not amused about who is judging the contest:
1:01 PM, Apr 12, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Today is Equal Pay Day, which supposedly "symbolizes how far into 2011 women must work to earn what men earned in 2010." But in today's Wall Street Journal, Carrie Lukas explains the disparity between average wages for men and women in economic terms:
Justice that isn't just.8:58 AM, Jan 21, 2010 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
Who, exactly, is it the misogyny-frenzied brutes in charge of administering “justice” to the Saudi distaff side are protecting—and from what? When they condemn a woman who’s been gang-raped to 200 lashes for “having sex outside marriage,” or give a destitute 75-year-old widow 40 lashes for engaging in “prohibited mingling” by receiving charity from two young male relatives, or, in the most recent (known) instance, sentence a 13-year-old girl to 90 lashes—to be delivered in front of her classmates—for bringing a cell phone to school—what do they believe they are doing?
Why the feminists can't admit that most women favor the partial-birth abortion ban.11:00 PM, Nov 23, 2003 • By NOEMIE EMERY
WITH ITS UNERRING EYE for what fails to matter, the Femintern seized on a PR mistake on the part of the White House to ram home a defense of its favorite project: unfettered abortion, any kind, any time. The mistake (duly noted and criticized on many conservative websites) was that the people shown surrounding President Bush as he signed the law banning partial birth abortion were (drum roll and flourish) all men.
From the November 3, 2003 issue: Meet Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, a voice for human rights in the Muslim world.Nov 3, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 08 • By AMIR TAHERI
Editor's Note: The Nobel Committee's decision to name Iranian human-rights lawyer and activist Shirin Ebadi the 2003 peace laureate has turned her into a household name throughout Iran and the Muslim world.
Moreover, the 56-year-old Ebadi has become an alternative source of moral authority in Iran--and a rare figure of consensus in that fractious society. With the exception of the hardline Khomeinists who have branded her "an enemy of Islam," Ebadi has won praise from virtually all Iranians--from left to right.
From the June 9, 2003 issue: A Christian organization in name only.Jun 9, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 38 • By CHRISTINE ROSEN
IN MID-MAY, Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women, assumed her new position as CEO of the Young Women's Christian Association. A small flurry of protests ensued, led by pro-family and conservative groups who charged that Ireland--an avowedly secular liberal and bisexual--was hardly fit to lead a Christian organization. But a glance at the recent history of the YWCA suggests that Ireland's appointment is less a departure than it is the culmination of a decades-long migration away from the YWCA's mainstream Protestant roots.
The former National Organization for Women president takes over the Young Women's Christian Association.12:00 AM, May 9, 2003 • By ERIN MONTGOMERY
ON APRIL 30, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of the United States of America announced that former NOW president Patricia Ireland would be its new chief executive officer. And just this past weekend, the 145-year-old YWCA moved its headquarters from New York City to Washington, D.C. Ireland is expected to assume her new post by May 15--an event that has many people asking, "Why?"
Why would the YWCA select Ireland for the job?
Why is it that women's basketball is always on television even though no one's watching it?7:45 PM, Apr 8, 2003 • By STACEY PRESSMAN
AFTER SYRACUSE'S BIG VICTORY last night, the women's NCAA tourney concludes tonight with the University of Connecticut taking on the University of Tennessee. In an effort to make this match-up seem like less of an afterthought, the defenders of women's basketball will be out in force.
"Women's basketball is the best pure form of basketball out there," they'll tell us. "They play the sport the way it's meant to be played, below the rim and with more team play as opposed to one-on-one."
I have to disagree: Women's basketball sucks.
There, I said it.
Feminism reaches the end of the road.Feb 3, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 20 • By SUSIE POWELL CURRIE
The Bitch in the House
26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage
ed. by Cathi Hanauer
William Morrow, 304 pp., $23.95
"YOU WHO COME of a younger and happier generation . . . may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House," wrote Virginia Woolf. "She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg.
Love and success at America's finest universities.Dec 23, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 15 • By DAVID BROOKS
I'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME on elite college campuses recently--at Yale, where I taught a course, as well as at Princeton, Dartmouth, Kenyon, and a few less rarefied schools--and while I've temporarily given up on the game of trying to diagnose the ills of America's youth, I have found that things really are different than they were when I graduated about 20 years ago.
For one thing, the students in the competitive colleges are products of an almost crystalline meritocracy.