Sheryl Sandberg Is A “Power Betch”
1:30 pm, April 4th | by Sarah Devlin
Have you heard of The Betches before? These ladies, a collective of women who started their website “Betches Love This,” are expanding their empire with a new book, Nice Is Just A Place In France: How To Win At Basically Everything. We were lucky enough to ask them a couple of questions about writing a book, being funny women, and who they (however grudgingly) admire.
1. Your website and book are a clear rebuke to the idea that women can’t be funny (and especially the idea that women’s issues/empowerment can’t be dealt with in a funny way). What is your perspective on that debate?
I mean, the generalization that women can’t be funny is ridiculous. People used to say that women couldn’t be doctors or astronauts or politicians. People making generalizations about gender or race usually just comes from ignorance. Maybe most women aren’t funny, but that doesn’t mean that applies to all of them. It’s like how men are supposed to be the less emotional gender, and then you have Donald Trump. Is there really a debate here?
On your second point I think Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin imitation proves that there’s a huge market for making fun of female empowerment.
2. Your railing against the “nicegirl” seems like it has a bit in common with Sheryl Sandberg’s recent argument that women need to be much more assertive about what they want in their careers and how they balance their work with their personal lives. What do you think about Sandberg? Does she qualify for membership as a “betch”?
Despite her nice girl name, Sheryl is what we would call a power betch. We like what she has to say, even though she says to lean in and we’re more about chilling out. However, we definitely noticed the irony in her book coming out on the very same day as our own, so we had our housekeeper read it aloud to us before bed. One thing that really caught our ear was a particular sentence: “being nice is not a winning strategy.” It’s like she stole our title. We even quoted her in the Career section of our book. The big difference is that our book is a satire, and hers is clearly not, but both are masterworks on how to get what you want in whatever you do.
3. One way I would characterize this book is as a brash and irreverent manual on how to be a third wave (fourth wave?) feminist. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? How much were you thinking about feminism when you were writing the book?
So, as much as we hate to admit it, we’re not totally sure what the first, second, and third waves were but we assume they were pretty half-assed because of debates like in question number one. While we definitely believe in being equally if not more powerful than men, we know you’re definitely not going to achieve that by burning your bra and writing a gender studies thesis. These whiny women are only hurting themselves. Our book is about winning in a man’s world, first by accepting that as reality and then using that information to make the man’s world your bitch.
4. When did you decide to transition from your website to writing the book, and what was the process like? What was the best part of writing the book? The worst?
There really was no thought whatsoever that went into this decision because when you’re, like, two months out of college and Simon & Schuster offers you a book deal, you’d be an idiot to say no. In terms of the process, it was a total team effort. The best part was not having to get a real job, the realization that a publisher was actually willing to pay you money for your ridiculous thoughts, and, of course, getting on the New York Times best seller list.
The worst part was struggling with the strict guidelines of proper punctuation. Writing is really a perfect job for a betch because it gives you a place where everyone can hear what you think without having to make a boring Powerpoint presentation.
5. And finally, you guys quote women like Katharine Hepburn, Betty Friedan and Eleanor Roosevelt in the book (in addition to more modern ladies like Michelle Obama). Who is the biggest, baddest betch alive today? Who should we all be looking to to lead the betch revolution?
I mean we’d be honored to lead it ourselves but we’re kind of busy and we hear revolutionaries usually get up before noon. So, like, pass.