Tuesday, April 16, 2013

SHERYL SANDBERG


This picture of Sheryl Sandberg on the cover of Time Magazine annoys me.

The words imply that if you're a woman you'll hate her because she succeeded where you have failed.

It sounded as if it was the voice of a man. I figured it was Richard Stengel, the magazine's Managing Editor. (I think, based on what he expressed about various  women issues,  he's chauvinistic.)

As I read the article, "Confidence Woman,"  I realized it was a woman's voice -- the cover story on Sandberg was written by Belinda Luscombe, a reporter whose interviews with celebs I've enjoyed and used in quite a few blog posts.

Sheryl Sandberg is COO (Chief Operating officer), for Zuckerberg's Facebook, handling the business, not its artistic direction. The article details her background and ascent to becoming, according to Forbes Magazine, the world's most powerful woman in business.

(Yep, I better say it again -- Sheryl Sandberg is top of the list of the world's 20 most powerful women in business.)

It's a five page article, detailing how Sheryl handles her work, does everything with "huge" energy, and is also a marvelously successful, happy, good wife and mother.

(Yep, all the things that we women strive for, Sheryl Sandberg is doing, and doing superbly, impeccably well.).

Aside from running a $66 billion tech company, she's created a nonprofit foundation with corporate partnerships, online seminars and guidelines for establishing support groups -- already embarked on an ambitious mission to reboot feminism and re-frame discussions of gender. There's been nothing like this "Lean In" idea since the launch of Ms.Magazine in 1971.

The cover story includes 42-year-old Sheryl Sandberg's summary of her recently published book "Lean In" (already a bestseller) -- it's two pages -- explaining Why I Want Women to Lean In..

Hmm.

I find it difficult to focus on feminism when survival is an urgent issue -- those two countries building nuclear weapons -- side-by-side with our deep concerns about gun control, health care, voter's rights, veterans, and... oh my goodness... So very much attention has been paid to women -- health, rape, abortion, vaginal this-and that -- in this year of political hot air, hot air that's supposed to get us women steamed up.

I'm saying whoa, Belinda, whoa, Sheryl....

Sheryl's strong feeling that now is the time for women to lean in and unite with one another -- it feels -- yes, FEELS -- weirdly behind the times.

My instinct is to lean out -- LEAN AWAY.

I'm picturing flowers in a vase. A dozen, two-dozen long stem-roses leaning in is just a marvelous clump of roses. But if you arrange them so that they lean away from each other, we see one rose blooming, one budding, another ready to open -- each individually interesting, fragrant, beautiful.

Being an individual -- being YOU isn't easy. You have to blot out other voices, other visions, a sense of what other women do and are doing -- all that stuff from movies, books, advertisments.

It's distracting, confusing, a lot of noise -- it can be a din, but you have to learn to listen to your own inner voice.

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