So, lots of other people at lots of other sites have commented on the Clay Shirky post, A Rant About Women. However, I also have a couple of strong opinions about it. I feel the need to get them out there.
First, re Hilary Clinton. Anna N. over at Jezebel wrote eloquently on this point. Since it’s already been said, I’ll try not to take too much time on this. However, I do think that this is a point that bears repeating. Clinton has equally-and strongly-inspired and angered members of her own party, while all but alienating everyone else. And why? Because she is smart, outspoken, and powerful. You don’t have to agree with anything she says to admit to that this is true. And yet, because this is who she is, she is despised. Women like Clinton are frequently put in a damned if you do and damned if you don’t position. And when all else fails, people just turn mean, nasty, and completely high school. You know, who would want to watch a woman age in the presidential office anyway?
Secondly, I actually think that women are far more powerful on a daily basis than we give ourselves credit for. It’s funny, maybe two weeks before this post hit, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who was bemoaning some things that had derailed her career over a year ago (happy update- that career is totally back on track). In the course of the conversation, it came up what a sexist pig her former boss actually was. And I told her that, frankly, in the end, he was probably threatened by her, as were several other men in that workplace. Truly, I think that those kinds of men know deep down that the women in their lives are stronger than they are. That they are weak, and the only way they can feel powerful is to put those women down. Make sure they know their place. Not allow women at meetings where information about their freaking job is being shared. Relay information pertinent to their job and position to them through their husband for God’s sake.
There is a close family member in my life like this. He has told me to my face that women are not as logical as men, that they are too emotional to think things through clearly, that ultimately the men in their lives should be making decisions for them. He has told my husband the same- that he needs to take a stronger stand with some of my beliefs, that he is spoiling me. The outspoken women at his work are bitches and the quieter ones are ineffectual. It seems to me that there is a fear there, that maybe he will be found out, that he isn’t as strong as he wants everyone to believe.
So, yeah, Clay Shirky, Maybe some of us do need to put ourselves out there more on a daily basis. But for every man who tells us to do that, there is another trying to beat us back. It is a mixed message. And after receiving an onslaught of mixed messages people tend to get tired and maybe we don’t feel like giving it our all every day. Maybe we find our own way of muddling through- a way that works for us as individuals. And, when it comes down to it, I’d prefer to get my advice from a successful woman who has figured it out and done it her way. Hillary? Call me.