New York Times’ Maureen Dowd Would Prefer Not To ‘Lean In’
11:30 am, February 25th | by Colette McIntyre
Maureen Dowd is throwing some next level, New York Times type of shade Sheryl Sandberg’s way. In her latest op-ed, titled “Pompom Girl For Feminism” or “Snark Snark Snark Snark,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist sinks her teeth into Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and I swear you can feel her rolling her eyes. Dowd says that Sandberg’s brand of corporate feminism leaves her “leaning out;” according to the columnist, Sandberg is “using social idealism for the purpose of marketing.” If life were a Shania Twain music video, Dowd would be wearing a full cheetah-print outfit and hitchhiking in the desert: so you’re a female business titan in a country where the glass ceiling is still very much intact — that don’t impress(uh) Maureen Down much.
While you should read Dowd’s entire New York Times article to get the full, snide effect, here are some of the cattiest nuggets:
One of her friends from her Harvard days told Vogue that the brainy, beautiful, charming, stylish, happily married 43-year-old mother of two, one of the world’s richest self-made women, has an “infectious insistence.” (She would have to, having founded Harvard’s aerobics program in the ’80s, wearing blue eye shadow and leg warmers.)
She has a grandiose plan to become the PowerPoint Pied Piper in Prada ankle boots reigniting the women’s revolution — Betty Friedan for the digital age
She seems to think she can remedy social paradigms with a new kind of club — a combo gabfest, Oprah session and corporate pep talk. (Where’s the yoga?)
(Not everyone has Larry Page and Sergey Brin volunteering to baby-sit, and Zuckerberg offering a shoulder to cry on.)
Just because digital technology makes connecting possible doesn’t mean you’re actually reaching people.
But she doesn’t understand the difference between a social movement and a social network marketing campaign.
Oooh, gurl; someone better get Sandberg some aloe vera so that she can tend to those burnnnns.
While I understand that Lean In peddles a specific brand of feminism, one that isn’t accessible to women who aren’t of a certain class, this kind of bickering and in-fighting between feminists is exhausting and distracting. What is Dowd even trying to argue? Yes, Sheryl Sandberg is hardly an everywoman, but, the last time I checked, trying to teach women how to confidently negotiate their salaries and their work/life balance isn’t a bad thing. Sandberg may be privileged, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have valuable insight. Even if Lean In is politically motivated and ego-driven like Dowd suggests, who cares? Would we ever fault a man for being so ambitious?
What Dowd doesn’t seem to understand is that turning Sandberg into a target does more harm than good. Instead of thoughtfully critiquing Sandberg’s message, Dowd took a page straight out of The Guy’s Guide to Undermining Powerful Women Who Threaten You and attacked the COO’s character. If only Dowd handled herself more like Anne-Marie Slaughter: while Slaughter is one of Lean In‘s biggest critics, she remains a supporter of Sandberg herself. In response to a New York Times article that reduced Slaughter and Sandberg’s dialogue to cat fighting, Slaughter tweeted, “I respect & like Sheryl Sandberg & want her to succeed. No Steinem/Friedan feud here! I see issues through a different but complementary lens.” Way to keep it classy, Slaughter! And Sandberg — don’t worry. Haters gon’ hate.