By bell hooks
Editors’ Note: Though some of a pushing surrounding Sheryl Sandberg (of Facebook and Lean In fame) has died down, Sandberg is behind with her neoliberal feminism, or what bell hooks describes next as “faux feminism.” After weeks of roving a republic hawking books (and thousands on thousands sold), amid unconstrained celebration, debate, and criticism, Sandberg and her corporate feminism find to cover even some-more territory. Sadly, we now know where: just this week, Sandberg announced her skeleton to take her Lean In fairytale to college campuses nationwide. At Howard University, she announced her skeleton for this new initiative, that a website described as follows: “LeanIn.Org will work with students on campuses around a universe to change a arena for women. Our faith is firm: Your era binds a wish for a some-more equal future. Join us.” Below, bell hooks reminds readers because we should be doubtful of this arrange of mistake feminism— one that does tiny to re-imagine a universe or to build common movements, yet instead works to reconstruct a same aged white heteropatriarchy that defines American Empire. Rather than disposition in, we need to step out. We contingency critically question, speak opposite spaces of viewed difference, and build alternatives.–Stephanie Troutman and David J. Leonard
A year ago, few folks were articulate about Sheryl Sandberg. Her thoughts on feminism were of tiny interest. More significantly, there was next-to-no open contention of feminist meditative and practice. Rarely, if ever, was there any feminist book mentioned as a bestseller and positively not enclosed on a New York Times Best Seller list. Those of us who have clinging lifetimes to training and essay theory, explaining to a universe a details and outs of feminist meditative and practice, have gifted that a primary assembly for a work is an educational sub-culture. In new years, discussions of feminism have not evoked charcterised passion in audiences. We were distant some-more approaching to hear that we are vital in a post-feminist multitude than to hear voices clamoring to learn some-more about feminism. This seems to have altered with Sandberg’s book Lean In, holding solid on a Times bestseller list for some-more than sixteen weeks.
No one was some-more astounded than long-time advocates of feminist meditative and use to learn around mass media that a new high priestess of feminist transformation was on a rise. Suddenly, as if by magic, mass media brought into open alertness conversations about feminism, reframing a range and politics by an extraordinary attainment of advertising. At a core of this play was a young, high-level corporate executive, Sheryl Sandberg, who was dubbed by Oprah Winfrey and other renouned enlightenment pundits as “the new voice of insubordinate feminism.” Forbes Magazine admitted Sandberg to be one of a many successful women in a world, if not a most. Time Magazine ranked her one of a hundred of a many absolute and successful universe leaders. All over mass media, her book Lean In has been lauded as a required new feminist manifesto.
Yet Sandberg confesses to readers that she has not been a clever disciple of feminist movement; that like many women of her generation, she hesitated when it came to aligning herself with feminist concerns. She explains:
I headed into college desiring that a feminists of a sixties and seventies had finished a tough work of achieving equivalence for my generations. And yet, if anyone had called me a feminist we would have fast corrected that notion…. On one hand, we started a organisation to inspire some-more women to vital in economics and government. On a other hand, we would have denied being in any way, shape, or form a feminist. None of my college friends suspicion of themselves as feminists either. It saddens me to acknowledge that we did not see a recoil opposite women around us…. In a defense, my friends and we truly, if naively, believed that a universe did not need feminists anymore.
Although Sandberg revised her viewpoint on feminism, she did not spin towards primary sources (the work of feminist theorists) to enlarge her understanding. In her book, she offers a uncomplicated outline of a feminist transformation formed on women gaining equal rights with men. This construction of elementary categories (women and men) was prolonged ago challenged by idealist feminist thinkers, quite particular black women/women of color. These thinkers insisted that everybody acknowledge and know a innumerable ways race, class, sexuality, and many other aspects of temperament and disproportion done pithy that there was never and is no elementary homogenous gendered temperament that we could call “women” struggling to be equal with men. In fact, a existence was and is that absolved white women mostly believe a incomparable clarity of oneness with organisation of their same difficulty than with bad white women or women of color.
Sandberg’s clarification of feminism starts and ends with a thought that it’s all about gender equivalence within a existent amicable system. From this perspective, a structures of imperialist white supremacist entrepreneur patriarchy need not be challenged. And she creates it seem that absolved white organisation will energetically select to extend a advantages of corporate capitalism to white women who have a bravery to ‘lean in.’ It roughly seems as if Sandberg sees women’s miss of stability as some-more a problem than systemic inequality. Sandberg effectively uses her foe and difficulty energy and payoff to foster a slight clarification of feminism that obscures and undermines idealist feminist concerns.
Contrast her clarification of feminism with a one we offering some-more than twenty years ago in Feminist Theory From Margin To Center and afterwards again in Feminism Is For Everybody. Offering a broader clarification of feminism, one that does not conjure adult a conflict between a sexes (i.e. women opposite men), we state: “Simply put, feminism is a transformation to finish sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” No matter their standpoint, anyone who advocates feminist politics needs to know a work does not finish with a quarrel for equivalence of event within a existent congenital structure. We contingency know that severe and dismantling patriarchy is during a core of contemporary feminist onslaught – this is essential and required if women and organisation are to be truly released from antiquated sexist meditative and actions.
Ironically, Sandberg’s work would not have prisoner a courtesy of progressives, quite men, if she had not finished a summary of “lets go brazen and work as equals within white masculine corporate elites” in a jacket paper of feminism. In a “one hundred many successful people in a world” emanate of Time Magazine, a forty-three-year aged Facebook COO was dubbed by a doyen of women’s ransom transformation Gloria Steinem in her brief explanation with a streamer “feminism’s new boss.” That same repository carried a full page ad for a book Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead that carried a streamer “Inspire a connoisseur in your Life” with a graduating design of dual white females and one white male. The ad enclosed this quote from Sandberg’s derivation debate during Barnard College in 2011: “I wish that we have a aspiration to gaunt in to your career and run a world. Because a universe needs we to change it.” One can usually assume possibly regulating a universe is a call to support and continue initial universe imperialism. This is precisely a form of feel good stipulation Sandberg creates that in no proceed clarifies a embedded bulletin she supports.
Certainly, her prophesy of particular women disposition in during a corporate list does not embody any transparent statements of that organisation of women she is vocalization to and about, and a “lean in” lady is never given a secular identity. If Sandberg had concurred that she was essentially addressing absolved white women like herself (a tiny organisation operative during a tip of a corporate hierarchy), afterwards she could not have portrayed herself as pity a message, indeed a life lesson, for all women. Her simple insistence that gender equivalence should be vicious to all women and organisation is an discernment that all folks concerned in feminist transformation determine is a executive agenda. And yes, who can brawl a contribution Sandberg offers as evidence; notwithstanding a many gains in womanlike freedom, substantial gender disposition stays a normal via a society. Patriarchy supports and affirms that bias. But Sandberg offers readers no bargain of what organisation contingency do to unlearn sexist thinking. At no indicate In Lean In does she let readers know what would motivate congenital white males in a corporate sourroundings to change their faith complement or a structures that support gender inequality.
Readers who usually slick a aspect of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In will find many they can determine with. Very few if any veteran women will find themselves during contingency with a associate womanlike who champions a means gender equality, who shares with us all a good aged mom believe that one of a many vicious choices any of us will make in life is who we will partner with. And she shares that a best partner is one who she tells readers will be a helpmeet – one who cares and shares. Sandberg’s insistence that organisation attend equally in parenting is no new clarion call. From a beginning inception, a feminist transformation called courtesy to a need for males to attend in parenting; it let women and organisation know that heteronormative relations where there was gender peculiarity not usually lasted yet were happier than a sexist norm.
Sandberg encourages women to find high-level corporate jobs and persevere until they strech a top. For many particular women, Sandberg revelation them that they would not be betraying family if they dedicated themselves to work was affirming. It is certain in that it seemed to be a required response to renouned anti-feminist backlash, that ceaselessly suggests that a feminist pull to place some-more women in a workforce was and is a profanation of matrimony and family.
Unfortunately her voice is powerful, nonetheless Sandberg is for a many partial not voicing any new ideas. She is simply holding aged ideas and giving them a new twist. When a book Lean In began a duration rise, that continues to move celebrity and prominence to Sandberg, many distinguished feminists and/or on-going women denounced a work, vehemently castigating Sandberg. However, there was usually one cryptic emanate during a core of a anti-Sandberg movement; unequivocally few folks aggressive a work had indeed review a book. Some of them had listened sound bites on radio or had listened to her Ted Talk presentation. Still others had seen her interviewed. Many of these comparison womanlike feminist advocates blatantly denounced a work and resolutely announced their refusal to review a book.
As a feminist informative critic, we found a zeal with that Sandberg was viciously pounded disheartening. These critiques seem to emerge from unnoticed fury not formed usually on disregard for her ideas, yet a fury adjacent on envy. The absolute white male-dominated mass media was giving her and those ideas so many attention. There was no in-depth contention of because this was a case. In a book Sandberg reminds readers that, “men still run a world.” However, she does not plead white masculine supremacy. Or a border to that globalization has altered a makeup of corporate elites. In Mark Mizruchi’s book The Fracturing of a American Corporate Elite, he describes a corporate universe that is done adult of a “more opposite crowd,” one that is no longer white and masculine “blue chip dudes.” He highlights several examples: “The CEO of Coca-Cola is Muhtar Kent, who was innate in a United States yet carried in Turkey; PepsiCo is run by Indra Nooyi, an Indian lady who came to America in her twenties. Burger King’s CEO is Brazilian, Chryslers’s CEO is Italian, and Morgan Stanley’s CEO is Australian. Forget about conversion policy; many of today’s heading US CEO’s can’t even opinion here.” Perhaps, even in a corporate world, imperialist white supremacist entrepreneur patriarchy is prepared to accept as many white women as required to safeguard white dominance. Race is positively an invisible difficulty in Sandberg’s corporate anticipation world.
Sandberg is many charming when pity personal anecdotes. It is these true-life stories that display a available lies underlying many of her assertions that as some-more women are during a top, all women will benefit. She explains: “Conditions for all women will urge when there are some-more women in caring roles giving clever and absolute voice to their needs and concerns.” This unsubstantiated credo is brought to us by a corporate executive who does not commend a needs of profound women until it’s function to her. Is this a box of complacency as a intensity substructure for womanlike solidarity? No function in a genuine universe of women relating to women proves this to be true. In truth, Sandberg offers no strategies for a building of feminist oneness between women.
She creates light of her ambivalence towards feminism. Even yet Sandberg can humorously poke fun during herself and her attribute to feminism, she tells readers that her book “is not a feminist manifesto.” Adding as yet she is in a accessible review with herself, “okay, it is arrange of a feminist manifesto.” This is usually one of a “funny” folksy moments in a book, that paint her plain and typical proceed – she is usually one of a girls. Maybe doing a book and articulate about it with co-writer Nell Scovell provides a basement for a conversational tone. Good amusement aside, friendly quips and all, it is when she is holding about feminism that many readers would have favourite her to go deeper. How about usually explaining what she means by “feminist manifesto,” given a word implies “a full open stipulation of intentions, opinions or purposes.” Of course, historically a best feminist manifestos emerged from common alertness lifting and discussion. They were not a voice of one individual. Instead of formulating a space of womanlike solidarity, Sandberg exists as a sole black amid millions of admires. And no one in her organisation dares to doubt how she could be heralded as a “voice of insubordinate feminism.”
How feminist, how insubordinate can a absolute abounding lady be when she playfully admits that she concedes all income government and check profitable to her husband? As Sandberg confesses, she would rather not cruise about income matters when she could be formulation tiny Dora parties for her kids. This anecdote, like many others in a book, works to emanate a personal picture of Sandberg. It is this “just plain folks” picture that has been instrumental in her success, for it shows her as vulnerable.
This is not her usually strategy. When giving filmed lectures, she wears garments with voluptuous low V-necks and stiletto heels and this picture creates a aura of unprotected femininity. It reminds one of a renouned radio announcement from years ago wherein a voluptuous white lady comes home and dances around singing: “I can move home a bacon, grill it adult in a vessel and never let we forget you’re a man…cause I’m a w-o-m-a-n!” Sandberg’s assembled picture is not your common sexist misogynist media description of a feminist. She is never decorated as a man-hating ball-busting feminist nag.
Instead, she comes opposite both in her book and when behaving on stages as a friendly younger sister who usually wants to play on a large brother’s team. It would be some-more in gripping with this picture to call her code of women’s ransom faux feminism. A billionaire, one of a richest women in a world, Sandberg deflects courtesy from this reality. To indication it competence lift vicious questions. It competence even have combined a conditions for other women to feel threatened by her success. She solves that tiny problem by never vocalization of income in Lean In; she uses a word once.
And if that existence does not move to her persona adequate I‘M EVERYWOMAN appeal, she tells her audiences: “I truly trust that a singular many vicious career preference that a lady creates is possibly she will have a life partner or who that partner is.” Even yet many women, loyal or gay, have not seen selecting a life partner as a ‘career decision’, anyone who advocates feminist politics knows that a choice of a partner matters. However, Sandberg’s available use of a word partner masks a existence that she is unequivocally vocalization about heteronormative partnerships, and even some-more privately marriages between white women and white men. She shares: “Contrary to a renouned thought that usually unwed women can make it to a top, a infancy of a some-more successful womanlike business leaders have partners.” Specifically, yet not directly, she is articulate about white masculine husbands. For after revelation readers that a many successful women during a tip are partnered, she highlights a fact that “of a twenty-eight women who have served as CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, twenty- 6 were married, one was divorced and usually one was never married.” Again, no advocates of feminism would remonstrate with a thought that particular women should select partners wisely. Good partners as tangible by aged character women’s ransom transformation and reiterated by Sandberg (who creates it seem that this is a new insight) are those who welcome equality, who caring and share. One of a few radical arguments in Lean In is that organisation should come to a list – “the kitchen table.” This is frequency one of a points Sandberg highlights in her media performances.
Of course, a immeasurable infancy of organisation in a society, irrespective of race, welcome congenital values; they do not welcome a prophesy or use of gender equivalence possibly during work or in a domestic household. Anyone who acts as yet women usually need to make right choices is refusing to acknowledge a existence that organisation contingency also be creation a right choice. Before females even strech a theatre of life where selecting partners is important, we should all be building financial literacy, scheming ourselves to conduct a income well, so that we need not rest on anticipating a pity partner who will conduct a finances fairly. According to More Magazine, American women are approaching to control 23 trillion dollars by a finish of a decade, that is “nearly twice a stream amount.” But what will this control meant if women miss financial literacy? Acquiring income and handling income are not a same actions. Women need to confront a definition and uses of income on all levels. This is believe Sandberg a Chief Operating Officer possesses even if she coyly pretends otherwise.
In her 2008 book The Comeback, Emma Gilbey Keller examines many of a issues Sandberg addresses. Significantly, and distinct Sandberg, she highlights a need for women to take transformation on interest of their financial futures. One section in a book starts with a epigram: “A woman’s best prolongation is a tiny income of her own.” Given a outrageous amounts of income Sandberg has acquired, evidently by profitable tighten courtesy to her financial future, her overpower on a theme of income in Lean In undermines a call for genuine equality. Without a ability to be autonomous, in control of self and finances, women will not have a strength and certainty to “lean in.”
Mass media (along with Sandberg) is revelation us that by perfect strength of will and staying power, any lady so prone can work tough and stand a corporate ladder all a proceed to a top. Shrewdly, Sandberg acknowledges that not all women enterprise to arise to a top, reporting that she is not judging women who make opposite choices. However, a genuine law is that she is creation judgments about a inlet of women and work – that is what a book is essentially about. Her disaster to confront a emanate of women appropriation resources allows her to omit petrify systemic obstacles many women face inside a workforce. And by not against a emanate of women and wealth, she need not confront a emanate of women and poverty. She need not residence a ways impassioned difficulty differences make it formidable for there to be a common sisterhood formed on common onslaught and solidarity.
The contemporary feminist transformation has not strong suggestive courtesy on a emanate of women and wealth. Rightly, however, a transformation highlighted a need for gender equity in a workforce –equal compensate for equal work. This mercantile concentration unprotected a existence that foe was a critical cause over-determining women’s attribute to work and money. Much feminist suspicion by particular idealist women of tinge (especially black women thinkers) and white womanlike allies called for a some-more accurate illustration of womanlike identity, one that would cruise a existence of intersectionality. This speculation speedy women to see foe and difficulty as good as gender as essential factors moulding womanlike destiny. Promoting a broader insight, this work lay a grounds for a arrangement of genuine womanlike oneness – a oneness formed on recognition of disproportion as good as a all-too-common gendered use women share. It has taken many years of tough work to emanate simple understandings of womanlike identity; it will take many some-more years for oneness between women to turn reality.
It should warn no one that women and organisation who disciple feminist politics were dumbfounded to hear Sandberg compelling her trickle- down theory: a arrogance that carrying some-more women during a tip of corporate hierarchies would make a work universe improved for all women, including women on a bottom. Taken during face value, this seem a genuine wish given that a imperialist white supremacist entrepreneur congenital corporate universe Sandberg wants women to gaunt into encourages foe over cooperation. Or as Kate Losse, author of Boy Kings: A Journey into a Heart of a Social Network, that is an insider demeanour during a genuine gender politics of Facebook, contends: “By arguing that women should demonstrate their feminism by remaining in a workplace during all costs, Sandberg encourages women to say a joining to a work place yet enlivening a workplace to say a joining to them.” It is as yet Sandberg believes a subculture of absolute selected women will emerge in a workplace, absolute adequate to overpower masculine dominators.
Yet Sandberg spins her charming anticipation of womanlike oneness as yet comradely support between women will magically start in congenital work environments. Since patriarchy has no gender, women “leaning in” will not automatically cruise in terms of gender equivalence and solidarity. Like a emanate of money, patriarchy is another theme that receives tiny courtesy in Sandberg’s book and in her many talks. This is ironic, given a prophesy of gender peculiarity she espouses is many radically voiced when she is delineating what organisation need to do to work for change. It is precisely her deterrence of a formidable questions (like how will congenital meditative change) that empowers her confidence and a altogether eager suggestion she exudes. Her confidence is so affably intense, it encourages readers to bypass a problems concerned in severe and changing patriarchy so that a usually dignified and reliable substructure for gender equivalence would turn a norm.
Women, and a masculine allies in struggle, who have been on a frontlines of feminist meditative and practice, see clearly a fairytale evocation of agreeable oneness is no easy task. Given all a army that apart women and array us opposite one another, oneness is not an unavoidable outcome. Sandberg’s refusal to do anything yet give slight discuss to racialized difficulty differences undercuts a thought that she has a module that speaks to and for all women. Her rejection to cruise a prophesy that would embody all women rather than white women from absolved classes is one of a flaws in a illustration of herself as a voice for feminism. Certainly she is a absolute coach figure for fiscally regressive white womanlike elites. The corporate distillate of gender equivalence she evokes is a “whites only” proposition.
To women of tinge immature and old, along with anti-racist white women, it is some-more than apparent that yet a call to plea and change injustice as an constituent partial of difficulty mobility she is unequivocally investing in tip turn success for rarely prepared women from absolved classes. The call for gender equivalence in a corporate American is undermined by a use of exclusivity, and usurped by a heteronormative white supremacist fastening of matrimony between white women and men. Founded on a beliefs of white leverage and structured to say it, a rites of thoroughfare in a corporate universe counterpart this aspect of a nation. Let it be settled again and again that race, and some-more importantly white supremacy, is a banned theme in a universe according to Sandberg.
At times Sandberg reminds readers of a aged stereotypes about used automobile salesmen. She pushes her product and she pushes it well. Her shpiel is so good, so full of things that is apparently true, that one is prone to disremember all that goes unspoken, unexplained. For example, she titles a section “you can’t have it all,” warning women that this thought is one of a many dangerous concepts from a early feminist movement. But a genuine understanding is that Sandberg has it all, and in a zillion tiny ways she flaunts it. Even yet she epitomizes a ‘have it all kinda girl’ – white, rich, and married to a smashing father (like a radio preacher Joyce Meyer, Sandberg is constantly vouchsafing readers know how smashing her father is lest we forget) – she claims women can’t have it all. She even dedicated a book to her father “for creation all possible” – what doesn’t she have? Sandberg confesses that she has a amatory family and children, some-more helpers in daily life than one can count. Add this to a already abounding list, she is deemed by a incomparable regressive media to be one of “the many influential,” many absolute women in a world. If this is not another chronicle of a aged diversion uncover “queen for a day,” what is? Remember that a women on a uncover are puppets and white organisation behind a scenes are pulling a strings.
Even yet many advocates of feminist politics are hurt by Sandberg’s message, a law is that alone, away she was no hazard to feminist movement. Had a regressive white masculine dominated universe of mass media and promotion not selected to hype her image, this successful lady would not be famous to many folks. It is this congenital masculine dominated re-framing of feminism, that uses a physique and personal success of Sheryl Sandberg, that is many unfortunate and approbation melancholy to a destiny of idealist feminist movement. The indication Sandberg represents is all about how women can attend and “run a world.” But of march a kind of universe we would be regulating is never defined. It sounds during times like good congenital imperialism. This is a reason it seemed essential for feminist thinkers to respond critically, not usually to Sandberg and her work, yet to a regressive white masculine patriarchy that is regulating her to let a universe know what kind of lady partner is excusable among elites, both in a home and in a workplace.
Feminism is usually a shade masking this reframing. Angela McRobbie offers an judicious take on this routine in her book, The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture, and Social Change, explaining: “Elements of feminism have been taken into comment and have been positively incorporated into domestic and institutional life. Drawing on a wording that includes difference like ‘empowerment’ and ‘choice,’ these elements are afterwards converted into a many some-more individualistic sermon and they are deployed in this new guise, quite in media and renouned culture, yet also by agencies of a state, as a kind of surrogate for feminism. These new and clearly complicated ideas about women and generally immature women are afterwards disseminated some-more aggressively so as to safeguard that a new women’s transformation will not re-emerge.” This is so apparently a plan Sandberg and her supporters have deployed. McRobbie afterwards contends that “feminism is instrumentalized. It is brought onward and claimed by Western governments, as a vigilance to a rest of a universe that this is a pivotal partial of what leisure now means. Freedom is re-vitalized and brought adult to date with this mistake feminism.” Sandberg uses feminist tongue as a front to cover her joining to western informative imperialism, to white supremacist entrepreneur patriarchy.
Clearly, Sandberg, with her website and her foundation, has many womanlike followers. Long before she was selected by regressive mass media as a new face of mistake feminism, she had her followers. This is because we chose to call my response “dig deep,” for it is usually as we place her in a altogether support of womanlike informative icons that we can truly empty and know because she has been selected and carried adult in a neoliberal marketplace. Importantly, possibly feminist or not, we all need to remember that idealist feminist idea that is not of a women regulating a universe as is, yet a women doing a partial to change a universe so that leisure and justice, a event to have optimal well-being, can be equally common by everybody – womanlike and male.
bell hooks, remarkable informative critic, commentator, and feminist, is Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies during Berea College. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, she has selected a reduce box coop name bell hooks, formed on a names of her mom and grandmother, to stress a significance of a piece of her essay as against to who she is. She is a author of over thirty books, many of that have focused on issues of amicable class, race, and gender. In 2013, she published a award-winning communication collection Appalachian Elegy and Writing Beyond Race.
Article source: http://www.thefeministwire.com/2013/10/17973/