My senior year of high school, my coincidentally all female Honors English class read a book by Sheryl Sandberg called Lean In. She addresses many different issues pertaining to women and day-to-day situations women have to go through. She believes the women should “lean in” to their careers. The book has been criticized for many different reasons. Nicola Kemp writes “Women and the Will to Lead has prompted a wave of criticism, but highlights the blurring highlights between public and private endeavor”. Sandberg’s approach to these issues of women’s role in society is more of a reproach than an encouragement. She tells women what they do wrong instead of giving excuses for why they do. She thinks women should assert themselves at work and at home.
The book has been “slammed” by Maureen Dowd, Jodi Kantor, Judith Shulevitz and others for its “elitism”, or being “hard on women and soft on institutional sexism”, and for making an “unfair exemplar of the 43-year-old Sandberg’s own Amazonian accomplishments”. Although critics think the story is boring, they still think it is a really good read. They agree with most the things Sandberg says in the story such as the fact that women denigrate themselves to be liked. Instead of abruptly asking a question, most women politely raise their hand while their male counterparts assert themselves and do not raise their hands.
Another issue addressed in Sandberg’s book is the presence of women in the workplace. She says women are not achieving their full potential because they cut themselves out of leadership positions in the workforce. Men always look for way to climb their way to the top of a business while a woman sits back and allows her to be run over by other people willing to take a stance in business. Sandberg does not take a radical approach to the subject; she makes a call to action for women to step up and take the opportunities that men take on a daily basis. A woman with the exact same education level as a male has the same opportunity, but the male is more likely to take the initiative to get the job while the woman makes excuses as to why she will not take the job. The most common excuses are “I do not have time”, “I’m not qualified enough”, “I don’t deserve the opportunity “, etc. While a male does not make excuses as to why he will not get the job. He brags about all his achievements and boast on all the reasons why he will get the job.
Sandberg also confronts a woman role at home. She believes that a couple should share responsibilities in the home. Society sees a woman’s role at home as someone who cooks, cleans, and makes sure everything in the home runs smoothly while the man works and comes home to a warm meal and a clean house. Sandberg disagrees with society views. She believes women need to take charge and sit down with their partner on a weekly basis and sort out who is going to do what during the week. That way, the roles can be equal.
Sandberg finishes her book by telling women that they can change it. We have to stand up and take control of what we do and how others treat us in society. Instead of sitting back and getting ran over, women need to take what they want just like men do. A woman’s need to be liked stops her from taking the bull by the horns and taking what she wants. Several ways exist to change how a woman is perceived. Women need to stop worrying about what other people think and do what makes them happy.
Early feminists believed in forging a new frontier and a new identity for women in society. Throughout history men have taken the lead in building America while women stand in the background. Women’s role in the building of America is small but still existent. While men were off in war, women stayed behind and continued maintaining America and helping it to grow prosperous. Upon the men’s return, women were back to being ignored professionally, socially, or politically.
Many American women have made an effort to change the view of women in society. These women include Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. These women have organized conventions and broke the boundaries for women in America. If these women did not do the things they did, women today may not have as many rights, if any, today.