Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, has a book coming out and everyone’s going nuts over it. Lean In has been dubbed “part feminist manifesto, part how-to career guide,” and some people, like Maureen Dowd at the New York Times, have gotten their proverbial panties all in a wad. Essentially, Sandberg is being criticized for doling out advice from an already-privileged position of power. Of rallying the troops in “Prada ankle boots” from the comfort of her 9,000 square foot home. Of preaching to the choir since she, a multimillionaire with two degrees from Harvard, can’t possibly understand what it means to be a poor, working class woman in today’s economy. How dare she give her opinion! I have not read the book, but, despite my previous sarcasm, I kind of get why bitches be bitching.
I’m a jealous person. I’m especially jealous of people like Lena Dunham, who is basically living my dream. When Girls came out, I swore up and down. “I’M WRITING THIS SHOW RIGHT NOW, [expletive] !!!” “THIS IS [expletive] [expletive] ARE YOU [expletive] KIDDING ME?!” But she got there first, so I ate it for the time being. Until I started reading about how she grew up and how she was basically bred for artistic success and how that is SO not what her 20s are like, so who the [expletive] is she to be writing such a GETOUTOFMYHEAD kind of show? And I’m still kind of bitter about it. And I still haven’t written that book I’ve been talking about for over a year. Sometimes I think I’m afraid of being good at what I’ve FINALLY decided I want to do, but that’s another story for another day (for another person with a professional degree in psychology). But Dunham’s good at what she does and at the end of the day, she still got there first. I want to be girl-powery about it, but I’m too [expletive] jealous and I’m sorry I’m not sorry, but I am. (Jealous.)
So, yes, I do kind of see where all this criticism of Sandberg’s book is coming from. Kind of. It seems like “she’s got it all” and has had it all for a while now and even though the “It’s time to cheer on girls and women who want to sit at the table” notion is nice, I’d rather hear it from someone who feels my personal pain. I’d rather hear it from someone who was totally miserable after college and spent several years pursuing a dream she soon realized was a nightmare and things aren’t coming so easy now that she’s doing something she cares about and she questions her abilities on an hourly basis and … THIS IS SO STUPID. Insert Taylor Swift’s Katie Couric/Madeleine Albright quote here. Why does it matter where cheerleaders come from??!
Why are we being so judgey about a woman that wants to encourage other women? If it’s jealousy, fine. But don’t mask it as an honest review. On the other hand, if one day we find out that Sandberg isn’t earnest and Lean In is actually just filled with corporate, buzzword spew and she was paid by like 9 sponsors to write it, and she secretly hates women and has 7 Ecuadorian teenage girls who clean diamonds in her basement, then I certainly won’t be biting my tongue.
Like I said though: I don’t really know, I haven’t read it. But for now, I think I’ll put my jealousy aside and take this to heart, in hopes that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be writing to you with my own [expletive] Prada ankle boots on:
Featured image via nymag.com