I’ve heard that many of my old codger sisters from the ’60s are avoiding Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
For a long time, I did, too. The title is meek, the photo is Gloria Steinem Lite and the message lacks the boldness of, you know, Our Day, when tens of thousands protested in the streets, wrote our manifestos and opened our PRO-CHOICE SIGNUP tables in every downtown in America, or so it seemed.
True, we can’t claim huge victories four decades later — the ERA never passed, the military is practically a rape culture, abortion is even more despised and why we accept a Senate and House without 50% women is beyond me.
But some things did change, thanks to antidiscrimination and anti-harassment laws that still make a difference. The glass ceiling is breaking (thank you, Sheryl), and while many girls and women wouldn’t be caught dead calling themselves feminists, there are good reasons for that, as Sheryl points out (see below).
Now here’s Sandberg encouraging women to make ourselves heard, but not in a massive way, mind you, not in a historic way, nor heaven knows an impolite way. Her much-praised advice is for each of us to “lean in” to whatever conversation is taking place and quietly, softly, say exactly what we mean. That’s it.