Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Friday Links

Here are a few things from around the web that may interest you:

“I searched for my birth mother and learned two things: She’d recently died. And she’d been desperately searching for me.” [via Slate]

“Dear VS Swimsuit Catalogue: Eff You” [via Imperfect Yoga Life]

I’m still three years away (okay, two and a half) from my 40s, but I love this: “What You Learn in Your 40s” [via NYTimes]

“My House Is Messy — and I Don’t Care” [via HuffPo]

“The Truth About How Much a Happy Couple Should Have Sex” [via Jezebel]

“7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room” [via The Week]

“How to Pick Your Life Partner Part 1” and Part 2 [via Wait But Why]

“The Difference Between Falling In Love When You Are Ready And When You Are Lonely” [via Elite Daily]

“My boobs, my burden” [via Salon]

When Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In was published last year, I have a distinct memory of one of my mom friends who works full-time as a network TV producer, and has a daughter two weeks older than Jackson, saying in all seriousness: “Lean in? Girl, I’m trying to lean out.” And even though I don’t work full-time, I knew what she meant. The thing we both have in common, despite our very different schedules, is that balance is so important to us. And to most American parents. And yet, balance is almost impossible to achieve when the demands and pressures are so high. We are expected to give 100% to our careers and 100% to our relationships and 100% to our kids. We are now urged to lean in and give more, more, more. And while I support people — other mothers especially — who are career-driven and ambitious, I am all for leaning out, reclining, taking a moment to catch our breath and maybe stop putting so much focus on work, work, work or being the perfect anything. These two article sum up my feelings:

“The Challenge of Leaning Out” [via The Atlantic]

and “Recline, don’t ‘Lean In’ (Why I hate Sheryl Sandberg” [via The Washington Post]

Thank you to those who submitted links for me to include. If you see something around the web you think DW readers would appreciate, please send me a link to [email protected] and if it’s a fit, I’ll include it in Friday’s round-up. Thanks!

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

94 comments… add one
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:06 pm

    I sent in the Messy House one. Someone on facebook posted it and I clicked to skim the 1000+ comments on the facebook post and hoe lee cow the mommy wars are alive and well. I guess I never really saw it first hand so much. People were like: if your house isn’t a mess, you’re neglecting your children/if your house is a mess, you are a fuckin slob who doesn’t deserve children. Crazy!

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 1:13 pm

      Whatttttt?? It’s not one extreme or the other!! I personally LOVE clean and orderly, but my parents live in “cluttered” happiness. As long as nothing is actually dirty/unsanitary…who cares? Mommy wars suck.
      .
      Related, my BFF who has a 10 month old always apologizes for the clutter (but not dirt) at her house when I come over. My reaction is always- no worries, you’ve got baby to devote your attention too!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:18 pm

        I guess I’m just used to DW where the meanest comments are so tame compared to the rest of the internet. It was crazy! So vicious.
        .
        However, I will say I think these people must share their immediate judgmental reaction rather than think for a second before they type. And really, I think we ALL have that instant judgement in us, but then we think about the other side, etc.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 1:23 pm

        I always read comments on other sites, but refuse to join in. People are vicious on the internet.

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      • othy

        othy February 28, 2014, 1:48 pm

        As is demonstrated by the anonymous thumbs-downer.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 1:49 pm

        right!?

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      • coconot

        coconot February 28, 2014, 2:46 pm

        I didn’t read the comments; learned not to on ‘mommy’, politics, finance, college debt, or religion articles especially. Re: clutter, it is also a spectrum in my opinion, not just binary clean/dirty. When you have rotting food in your car and mold growing everywhere, that is unhealthy and gross. However, there is a big range between that and OCD can’t even touch anything or leave your coat/shoes/books out for one second, and mommy has to vacuum and sanitize everything every 30 seconds (probably equally unhealthy, but in more of a mental than phyiscal way). I think there are a lot of healthy mediums in between those two, and people should pick whatever makes them happy.

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  • avatar

    Banana February 28, 2014, 1:11 pm

    I LOVED the WaPo “Lean Out” article, but I think maybe to be fair I should read “Lean In” before I comment on it too much…that said, I also think it’s important to recognize that there are times in your life when you lean in, and times when you lean out. It’s not all one way for eternity, and you’re not a lost cause if you decide to lean in a little later, or earlier, so you can get your lean out times between. (So many prepositions!!) And those times might be an epoch of your life, or they might be a week between busy periods. I feel like I’m in a “lean in” phase of my life right now, but I’m hoping the reward for this period of packed work and personal obligations will be the ability to lean out later when I want to. Plus, I took a few months to “lean out” over the winter when my obligations became too overwhelming, and I decided to give myself a hiatus from blogging and other activities. What gets me is the black-and-white attitude that seems to come with “leaning in,” but then again I should read the book before I judge too much.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary February 28, 2014, 1:18 pm

      Read the book! Seriously, it’s hard to understand the many points and what she means by “lean in” before you read it. It’s more like….a lot of women pre-emptively lean out of their careers because they subconsiously think they can’t take on the workload, or their managers stop giving them projects while pregnant, or they subconsiously assume its impossible to juggle kids and a job. So they kind of self-destruct their careers and they don’t have interesting, engaging, positions to come back to after maternity leave. So if you’re only 50% interested in your job before maternity leave, you’re sure and shit not going to want to come back to work. But if you take on challenging projects BEFORE actually leaving (don’t leave before you leave) then you have something to come back to. She also has great advice like “sit at the table” (at meetings) cause women also disregard themselves and will stand in the corner when there aren’t enough seats. She just really points out a lot of stuff women subconsiously do to harm their careers in little ways (cause we’re conditioned to) and how to fight against that.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:20 pm

        I haven’t read it but my sister felt it was judgy toward (or fake nice to/fake accepting of) SAHMs. Wondering if anyone else thought that too.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary February 28, 2014, 1:32 pm

        I did not think that at all. I think for a lot of stuff she was like “this sort of doesn’t apply if you choose to stay at home….” but that’s obvious.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:38 pm

        Its possible my sister is sensitive to the whole topic. She gets slack from people at her school for saying she wants to only work part time eventually so she can raise a family. I really should read it myself.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary February 28, 2014, 1:43 pm

        People should follow whatever life path suits them. But a lot of women dream of being executives but don’t have the support and think that they can’t be an executive and have a family, so they choose the family (which is fine). But obviously there are women out there doing it, so she’s just kind of sharing HOW to do it. The book really isn’t written for all women, it’s written for women in business who do want to advance to a higher level. So when people outside of the target demographic read it they can feel left out or criticized.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland February 28, 2014, 2:13 pm

        I LOVE YOUR SISTAAA.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 2:39 pm

        🙂

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      • avatar

        Banana February 28, 2014, 1:49 pm

        Thanks for the encouragement — I’ll definitely pick it up soon, now! I’m interested in what all the talk is about, and you’re right — people shouldn’t judge a book they haven’t read.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary February 28, 2014, 1:14 pm

    So I like the lean out article, but I’m afraid that Lean In is often mis-interpreted and referenced. A lot of people who talk about haven’t even read it, they’ve just read some article about it. I mean she makes many points in her book, but it’s not a “manual of how to have the husband, job, and baby and have dinner on the table by 5pm!”. It’s not a “You have to do everything at 100%!” kind of book. There is a very real problem of there being a lack of women executives and women in higher management, and she examines how we (collectively men, women, those who have children and those who don’t) can keep women in the workforce. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s not just for ambitious, career driven women. “leaning out” starts with some women in their early 20s. They turn down jobs and projects for hubands and kids that are 10-15 years away when they don’t even have a boyfriend! Which is just ridiculous.

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    • avatar

      Kate February 28, 2014, 1:22 pm

      I agree, Kerry (I read the book).

      It’s always pissed me off so much when people are like, “na na na na, you can’t have it all! You can’t be a perfect wife and perfect mother and perfect at your job!” Well, no kidding! Who is perfect at anything anyway? You CAN do it all, though, especially if you have a supportive spouse who splits the home and childcare stuff with you. If you want to have kids and still work, you can do it. And either way, it’s a REALLY bad idea to be leaning out before kids are even on the horizon. You’re leaving so much on the table.

      Edit: Having it all, to me, does not mean being the BEST wife, best mom, best partner… it just means, if you want all three, having the ability to do that. I don’t like the messages that tell women that’s not possible.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy February 28, 2014, 1:32 pm

        Are you though? I mean, I know so many interesting, cool, charming, well-read, well-rounded people who have always — or almost always — leaned out. Not everyone cares about having a career. Even the people who don’t have spouses or children sometimes don’t care about having a career. Some people “want it all” … and some people don’t want any. But that’s only when we are defining “having it all” as the career, partner, and kids. There is a lot more to life than that and many, many people are happy with “all the rest of it,” and couldn’t care less about those three things.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary February 28, 2014, 1:37 pm

        But I think in lean in she’s like “if you want the career, and you want to come back to work after kids, don’t lean out pre-emptively”. But I mean…if those people don’t really care about their career then they wouldn’t care about what Lean In has to say? I also have to stress that lean in is NOT a “how to have it all” book, a lot of it is “if you want to be an executive and have a family, here’s how I do it, and maybe that will work for you too”. She repeatedly says her advice does not apply to all populations, and women who earn a lot less than their daycare would cost are in a different position than her.

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      • Portia

        Portia February 28, 2014, 4:35 pm

        Coming from a family where I’d say 3/4 women of the older generation became SAHM then tried to get back into the workforce later, this idea really resonates with me. I feel like these women in my family gave into the pressure to stay at home and raise the kids at least in part because the husband was making enough to support the family. And I’m sure it wasn’t like a single decision while they were moving up in their careers just to up and leave but a gradual leaning out process that “naturally” led to giving up working. My mom for instance worked at her regular job until I was about 5 then scaled back for a few years working for herself choosing her own hours which decreased until she finally gave it up. Then, 15 or 20 years later, she tried to get back in the workforce and eventually gave up because there were too many hurdles to doing the work she had done before and that she wanted to do. Other people’s moms had great, fulfilling jobs before kids, then years later when they were getting back in the workforce they had to take jobs that they didn’t really want for a fraction of the pay. I’ve just seen this same pattern happen so many times to so many bright, qualified women that even if I’m not necessarily aiming for the corner office, I’m going to make sure I’m not short-changing myself or accidentally self-sabotaging. I haven’t yet read Lean In (or these articles on leaning out), but I certainly intend to.

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      • avatar

        Kate February 28, 2014, 1:40 pm

        Sure, I mean, I don’t personally want kids. I know not everyone wants those things. But for people who *do* want to have a career (at least for now), partner, and kids, I think that to sit back and not put yourself in the running for good jobs, promotions, projects, etc. is a bad idea. For people who do want those things, I want there to be more recognition that it IS possible.

        And if you’re in a career already, why pass up good money by not negotiating or taking on new responsibilities? You can use that money to save for things you really want to have or to do, or to retire earlier, etc. etc. Why just sit there and be like “oh, that’s not for me,” or not ask for more responsibility if you can handle it? I don’t mean keep saying “yes” to the point that you burn out and get sick, but why not challenge yourself and try to get all the $$$ you can as long as you’re there?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:46 pm

        Why pass up good money…?
        Maybe because they don’t care about having a ton of $, but are happy with having just enough for what they need in their life. I applaud people who know something is “not for them” and then don’t do that thing. To me, they are living their life the way they want it, not the way they “should” want it.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson February 28, 2014, 2:18 pm

        Also semi-related, I HATE the notion that if your job doesn’t give you lots and lots of the monies it’s not successful. I HATE the pursuit of money – just for the sake of money. I get so turned off when people say that their goal for their career is to make X amount of money.

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      • avatar

        Kate February 28, 2014, 2:36 pm

        I have to work, because I don’t have anyone to (realistically) support me if I don’t. So I figure, why not make the best of it, keep negotiating for more money, and keep taking on new responsibilities when the old ones get stale? The more money I make, the more goes into savings. The more goes into savings, the sooner I can retire, and the more content I feel because I know I’ve got a cushion. And the more fun I can have because I have some extra cash. Those are my priorities, really.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 2:41 pm

        For you, making the best of it means retiring early though. A lot of people don’t plan mostly or only for retirement, but spend more time enjoying their life in the moment, and because of that, probably work less/as little as possible.
        .
        I don’t think it has anything to do with whether or not someone else can/will support you. Most people work because they have to.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 2:54 pm

        I wonder if a lot of people struggle with how to balance that-planning for retirement v. living in the now. I know I do.
        .
        My aunt was a top exec at a very big company. Single her whole life, no kids. Worked constantly and all over the world. She would talk about her retirement a lot and how much she was looking forward to it and how she’d planned and saved so long for it. She died 5 months before she was retiring, with millions in the bank that she never got to enjoy.

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      • avatar

        Kate February 28, 2014, 2:57 pm

        I do work 9-5 though, not crazy hours.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 2:58 pm

        I would think a lot of people “struggle” with that balance. Like right now I put 1% of my income towards retirement. I’m sure it’s supposed to be much higher- like 10% or something, but then I wouldn’t have any “fun money”. So I don’t see a point. Maybe one day when I’m at retiring age I’ll be kicking myself, but I’d rather have the money now.

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      • avatar

        bethany February 28, 2014, 2:59 pm

        That is a huge fear of mine… That I’ll die before I retire. I’m going to be so pissed if that happens. All I want to do is retire.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 3:02 pm

        Yea, its a tough call/balance. I think as “we” get older and start making “realer” money, then it’ll be more of a priority, simply because we have to means to save for retirement and we are getting older and therefore thinking about retirement more.

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      • avatar

        ktfran February 28, 2014, 2:44 pm

        So, my uncle was CEO of a small company My dad, he’s a barber. One afternoon I was visiting my grandpa and we were talking about my uncle. He said “I’m glad one of my kids is successful.”

        Seriously. He said that to me. I was dumbfounded. I mean, yeah, my dad never made a lot of money, but he’s happy. He helped my mom raise three well rounded daughters and he go to enjoy time with his family, as well as fish and hunt and garden and do things he likes to do.

        So, I totally get what you’re saying. To me, money doesn’t always equal success. I’ll just never forget that conversation.

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      • coconot

        coconot February 28, 2014, 2:51 pm

        Ooh I like this topic of money vs. living. I do think it’s kind of a false dichotomy, but it’s something that is coming up for me a lot in my current city and my and my friend’s current life periods. I think I will start a forum thread on this…

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      • avatar

        ktfran February 28, 2014, 2:58 pm

        Also, I never, ever told my dad about that conversation. I told my mom. But would never do that to my dad because he’s pretty great.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 1, 2014, 10:51 am

        your grandfather got that your uncle was successful at business but he was missing that your father was successful at life. He had a very narrow definition of success.

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      • avatar

        rachel February 28, 2014, 1:43 pm

        Thanks, Wendy. I wanted to say something like this but couldn’t figure out how. I’m not sure yet what exactly I want out of life, but, maybe it’s NOT going to be the perfect career. Maybe I really want an okay career and the time to sleep in and read in bed on weekends.

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      • avatar

        bethany February 28, 2014, 1:52 pm

        True that. I don’t want a career at all. I want to live a fulfilling life outside of sitting at this fucking desk. I sit at this desk so I can afford to enjoy my life outside of this place. That’s the only reason I work. I have ZERO desire for a career. Never have.

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      • avatar

        Marcie February 28, 2014, 3:26 pm

        Bethany, for some reason I’ve always thought I was the only one who felt this way! I don’t want to raise kids, but I don’t really care about having a career either. I have a nice cushy part-time work from home job and I’m happy about that.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie February 28, 2014, 4:23 pm

        What is the cushy part-time work-from-home job? I want one of those too! Not that I don’t enjoy my job but… working in pajamas? Oooh the dream.

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      • avatar

        Marcie February 28, 2014, 4:54 pm

        Cassie, I quit my full-time office job last April, and my current supervisor in the same company contacted me to see if I wanted to work for her. It’s all computer work. It really fulfills my desire to have more free time, be a homebody, and not have to get ready every day. It’s pretty awesome!

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      • Cassie

        Cassie February 28, 2014, 11:33 pm

        You are livin’ the dream. 🙂

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:43 pm

        Perfectly said.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana February 28, 2014, 2:25 pm

        yeah I agree with Wendy LBH Iwanna Rachel et. al. I am just too lazy and grumpy and mad at everything to express myself well.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 2:26 pm

        I agree with mucha.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray February 28, 2014, 2:11 pm

        YOU GUYZZZ. I have been trying to lean out my whole career and they keep sucking me back in, it sucks! Is it my fault I’m so goddamn good at it all? No. And does that mean I have to do it all? NO! (Sorry, I’m really cocky today on account of a few wins at work. Carry on.)

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson February 28, 2014, 1:40 pm

        I guess it just depends on what your definition of having it all is. Is it having those things like as a box checked off? Is it having those things and loving them? LBH and I were actually talking about this this morning – but I am completely content being perfectly average. I want a husband and kids (assuming the husband is a kid lover, I could never be the person headlining that idea) and a career. So if I have all of those things do I – what win? Or do I have to have the best most doting husband and the smartest most well-behaved kids and a thriving career? Or can I just have all of them and be doing the best I can, and fail some days, turn down some career opportunities, have a husband that helps but certainly falls short in his own ways too?

        I don’t know I’m kind of getting off track here…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:40 pm

        I gotta say I’m a fan of trying to achieve contentment rather than being The Best of anything. I used to try to be The Best and honestly, I am SO much happier with my life now that I’m just happy being content (with work, home life, parenting, relationship, etc.)

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas February 28, 2014, 2:02 pm

        Yes! One of my favorite books in grad school (for anthropology about 10 years ago) explored being good enough versus being perfect. I’ve had difficulty with OCD and perfectionism my whole life and that concept just clicked for me – I’ve really toned it down since then. I love my professional field (now medical librarianship/research) and I’m good enough at it that I have a good enough job (I love it but I could definitely make more money elsewhere). My relationships with my family, friends, and fiancé aren’t perfect, but they’re loving and happy and that’s good enough. Some might consider this settling but I’m perfectly content with not being the best at anything or having the best of anything.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray February 28, 2014, 2:09 pm

        You’re happier now sucking at everything? Hahahaha.
        *
        (Disclosure: I haven’t read any DW yet today and somehow this comment by LBH’s was the first I read … sorry if the topic is death or something and here I am joking!)

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas February 28, 2014, 2:15 pm

        Yep, I’m a happy little sucker! He he he. I’m going to change my name to TotallyMediocreLlamaPajamas or LlamaPajamasSucks, kind of like the evil twin names you all did a few weeks ago.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 2:21 pm

        Haha TotallyMediocreLP.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie February 28, 2014, 4:26 pm

        Oooh, I’m jumping on this bandwagon: Half-Assie

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      • avatar

        d2 February 28, 2014, 8:27 pm

        Oh, I am struggling with this one.
        Uh, d1.5?

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    • avatar

      SasLinna March 1, 2014, 2:44 am

      I agree, and I think Lean In is often read uncharitably (or probably more often not at all) by those who criticize it. Sandberg is actually at pains to make it clear that she’s speaking to a very specific part of the population and not to every woman out there (of course the book is still dripping in privilege).
      I also think the “don’t leave before you leave” advice is actually really important. I see lots of women preemptively holding back on a career because they are anticipating becoming mothers in a few years. And I see lots of smart middle-aged women in not very interesting positions because they had to give up working when their children were small (yes, in my country at the time they pretty HAD TO) and it’s just kind of sad.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 1:24 pm

    I really hate articles like this. Despite your claim that you aren’t “hating on skinny”, you make several remarks exalting the curvy body type and subtly putting down thin women (“God had big plans for those hips”, “Booty is essential”, “Damn, I look good”)….Therefore doing the EXACT same thing to non-”curvy” women that you are complaining about being done to you.
    .
    I liked this comment that was left on the VS article.

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    • avatar

      Kate February 28, 2014, 1:30 pm

      Agree, like if you don’t have big curves, boobs, and booty, your body isn’t good enough. She could have just been like “dear VS, could you please start representing a more diverse range of body types in your swim catalog? Thanks!”

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson February 28, 2014, 1:33 pm

        I hate any person that tries to tell a company how to run their business. If you don’t like their products, their marketing, their scent, their inclusiveness/exclusiveness, their size ranges, don’t shop there. It’s really that simple. I hate the notion that private companies have to cater to everyone, they don’t, and I don’t know where that idea came from.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 2:21 pm

        So, I definitely agree that private companies don’t have to cater to all, and that boycotting is a great way to make a stance. But if you (generally) never tell the company why you’re boycotting them (via say a blog post or letter to the company, etc) then, IDK…maybe the company wants to know what they are doing is pissing tons of people off and with out the written/vocal aspect they don’t know WHAT is driving customers away. Does that make sense?

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson February 28, 2014, 2:24 pm

        Yeah absolutely, but with self-righteous articles like that the only thing I take away is that that blogger wanted to use VS to spout off at the mouth about how enlightened they are about yoga and curves and other weird shit. And one blogger gets to speak for herself, not all consumers. And I find her to be insufferable based on that one article, so that’s not an effective way to get the message across, haha.

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      • avatar

        rachel February 28, 2014, 2:27 pm

        Yeah, I think that’s the problem. I enjoy a well thought-out article that challenges companies to think about the way they are branding themselves…but this just sounded like the author was all holier-than-thou about her travels and her yoga and her curves.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 2:30 pm

        Okay yeah, I found that post super annoying too. I did think the satirical post that inspired miss yoga’s whiney rant was hysterical though.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle February 28, 2014, 2:38 pm

        OMG I didn’t even click on that—that’s the one I’m referring to below (where I said I read another VS hate article yesterday) (clearly I didn’t like it, haha)

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 2:43 pm

        See, I thought she was being funny, not “hating” on VS. I mean the bit about the xylophone?? That’s just funny!
        .
        I personally just think VS quality isn’t there for the ridonkulous prices they charge, so I don’t buy their stuff often. I could care less who models it. (but I am the chick who wears socks with her toms so.)

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle February 28, 2014, 4:27 pm

        Yeah, the xylophone thing was funny (& the standing poses thing), but when she got into body-hate territory, I didn’t like it (like the “this girl isn’t old enough for pubic hair” thing… to me that was another way to say, “not a REAL WOMAN”)

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas February 28, 2014, 3:00 pm

        I just read the VS article – what a bunch of crap. I hate the slogan “real women have curves” because it’s so belittling to skinny women. And trite. And false, and annoying. And the commenter “Melissa” on that site had some great points that people were totally ignoring. I mean, if you start your article saying “I’m not hating on skinny. I know many women who are naturally thin and would love to gain weight.” – you’ve pretty much lost all credibility that you accept skinny women for who they are.

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    • mylaray

      mylaray February 28, 2014, 1:36 pm

      Yes, I liked that comment a lot too. And while VS might not be changing their models, American Eagle recently started campaigns with lingerie models of many sizes, and not airbrushed. Which I think is good. But yeah, that article made me uncomfortable. I don’t like the us vs. them mentality.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary February 28, 2014, 1:39 pm

      Yeh sometimes I want to scream “You can be straight up and down and have no defined waist and not even have a uterus and still be a ‘real woman'” Being a woman is defined by a lot more than our boobs and butts and curves.

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      • Abby Normal

        Abby Normal February 28, 2014, 2:30 pm

        I love this! And the flip side of the coin is that you can be curvy, have a uterus, have a butt and boobs, and not identify as a woman at all. I’m just sick of the ‘real women are defined by the sum of their body parts’ discourse when in reality, there’s so much more to being a woman than your curves or lack thereof.

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      bethany February 28, 2014, 1:45 pm

      True that.

      I LOVE the Athleta catalog. Does anyone else get that? I don’t actually like their stuff very much, but I love that they use ATHLETIC models to model ATHLETIC clothes! It’s awesome to see muscles and women who are fit and not stick figures.

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      • LlamaPajamas

        LlamaPajamas February 28, 2014, 2:08 pm

        That’s why I love SkirtSports ads (they make running/walking and cycling clothes). Their “models” (I think some of the women are actually customers/employees and not necessarily paid models) are all different sizes and all pretty fit.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana February 28, 2014, 2:44 pm

        Yeah a lot of companies are dumb as shit. Basically I really only buy a piece of clothing after I read the reviews from real women and shocker something that makes me even more likely to buy something is if actual women who have bought the clothing post pictures of themselves in it so I can see what it actually looks like. I guess if people held companies more accountable or refused to buy things there until they represented all women in a more equal way things would change (maybe? in like 20 years), but like seek out the companies that do that. I love Modcloth because tons of people post pictures and leave great reviews. IDK I am just so over it. On the one hand I’m like if you don’t like the message of the company ignore it and don’t buy their shit, on the other I do get that if a big company like VS used “real” women it’d be great for women everywhere but like others have said its not their responsibility or obligation so wtf-stop bitching and seek out and patronize companies that align with your values or perceptions.

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      • avatar

        bethany February 28, 2014, 3:02 pm

        I like how Rent the Runway does that, too. Also they’re using pictures of real people wearing the stuff in their ads more and more, too. Pretty cool.

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    • avatar

      Marcie February 28, 2014, 3:29 pm

      I really hated that article too. I’ve always been a small girl and people always felt the need to comment on me. I never fit into clothes or bathing suits and it was depressing.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle February 28, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Okay, I know I’m a lone minority here, but the hate directed at Victoria’s Secret/VS models, catalog seems so overblown to me. I just read an article yesterday about it, & like, out of all the “fashion” brands marketed towards young women, Victoria’s Secret is actually the least egregious? to me? First of all, the models they use tend to be “older”— like in their mid-to-late 20s, 30s, with some of the long timers getting up to 40 (I believe). That’s unheard of with other clothing lines, & a positive thing, I think. Even though everyone’s always like “what are these girls, like 12? teeheheee” they’re actually OLDER than the “average” model.

    ALSO Victoria’s Secret seems way less white-washed— they could use more representation from other races, yeah, but they’re trying? They have at least one model for every race, which is more than what other fashion houses do for their shows/print ads. (I see complaints all the time on The Internet about this as well, so that’s why I’m bringing it up seemingly at random)

    I know this is kind of a bizarre rant I’m going on, but I have to wonder why Victoria’s Secret gets the brunt of the “unrealistic body type” hatred? Is it because VS is supposed to be more relateable? I actually think they *are* more relateable—the models are curvier, have more muscle tone, & more body variation than their “high-fashion” counterparts. OF COURSE there is room for improvement—i.e. why can’t they feature ~actual~ variation, etc. etc. but really the only company that does that (that I can think of off the top of my head) is American Apparell? (And AA still gets hated on. I’m just sick of the hate. It’s a fantasy, it’s not supposed to be reality)

    I mean, I don’t deny the impact that these “fantasy” images can have on a woman’s self-esteem, but directing hate at a specific brand, over & over, doesn’t seem like the empowering thing to do. I could write more, but I have to work. ugh

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson February 28, 2014, 1:42 pm

      I hate it too, but take it even a step farther and hate it that companies are somehow under the court of public opinion and need to answer to anyone. I don’t think they do. If you think their models are too skinny don’t shop there. If enough people feel that way and quit shopping there revenues will go down and then they’ll either change or not…. but stop publicly calling them out for self-righteous click bait.

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      • avatar

        Banana February 28, 2014, 1:57 pm

        Amen.

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix March 1, 2014, 10:18 am

        Um everything is and should be under the court of public opinion. That’s kinda how a society works. And considering free-market capitalism affects how society operates, critiquing it and the messages they send in order to make money is our duty as citizens who want to live in a society that we have some part in shaping.

        I’m honestly not sure why businesses shouldn’t be up for critique. That seems genuinely weird to me.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl February 28, 2014, 1:48 pm

      I think some of the VS backlash is because of the number of tv adds they do. I can’t think of another apparel line that has such a constant tv presence. It’s more “in your face” then other brands.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ February 28, 2014, 2:09 pm

      It’s because the VS brand is so high-profile, it’s practically synonymous with femininity and sexuality, at least in the mainstream public view. They’re also a mature brand, as in have been around for a very long time, so their messages and advertising are embedded in the public consciousness and they’re treated as the Authority in their arena. It happens in other industries, too – notice how McDonald’s shoulders the burden of the fast food industry’s image, for better or for worse.

      Anyway, when a brand has that much power, people have expectations that the brand will (a) live up to its promises and (b) show some corporate responsibility. “If you have the public’s attention, affection, adoration, use it for good.” That kind of thinking. So yeah, while it doesn’t make logical sense to just go after this one brand, their visibility and ability to influence the rest of the industry make them an attractive target for the “little people” who want to change the world. It’s like how if you wanted to raise awareness of, say, fair-trade coffee, you probably wouldn’t start with the Mom & Pop Cafe in your neighborhood, you’d go after Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts asking where THEIR coffee comes from, and demanding change at a scale where it actually makes a difference.

      I personally think this is a good thing – if consumers didn’t demand more responsibility and accountability from the brands they purchase, brands would have all the power. Consumers keep the megacorporations and superbrands in check – we realize, on some level, that our money gives these businesses power, so we want to make sure we get something worthwhile in return, beyond just the product. I get what IWTTS says against telling private businesses how to run their business, but at the same time, businesses have WAY more rights, privileges and power than individuals do, at least at the Huge Global Brand level. The absolute least we “little people” can do is to do our fucking homework before we choose which brands we give our money to, and demand accountability from those in power.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson February 28, 2014, 2:16 pm

        Well I definitely agree that we as consumes need to “do our fucking homework before we choose which brands to give our money to.”

        This is why I boycott chick-fil-a. Their chicken tastes like absolute ass and they don’t like the gays and they’re NOT OPEN on Sundays. The people that I know that like chick-fil-a, fine pretty much everyone but me, specifically likes it on days they’re hungover, like Sundays. Gods day, hangover day, same thing.

        I also boycott other places sometimes. I mean I’m all for financial boycotts. But the self-righteous articles about how they’re doing it wrong and owe consumers anything – I just don’t believe.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ February 28, 2014, 2:54 pm

        I hate Chik-Fil-A too, Iwanna, I think I’ve only eaten there a handful of times and not since college (even then, I only got their waffle fries). But a quiet, private boycott of a huge brand like CFA does not really affect change. You are $10 less going into their pockets, but there’s a new customer right behind you who is eagerly ready to fork over $10 to compensate. because they don’t know about CFA’s policies, or they do and they don’t care, or worst, they specifically buy CFA to *support* them. CFA can go on being a global power without your $10.
        *
        If what you’re interested in is affecting change on a broad, societal scale, a quiet private boycott doesn’t do the trick. A public, emotional statement, like an article for Slate or Salon or HuffPo with viral qualities, can get enough momentum going to actually penetrate the corporate bubble and mayyyybe make things change.
        *
        And you really don’t think businesses, in particular food and retail brands, owe their consumers ANYTHING? I mean, I guess I can understand it, it’s the backbone of capitalism in some ways – make money hand over fist and do whatever the hell you want with it. Maybe I’m a little socialist, though, because I think with great profits should come great responsibilities, not just to yourself and your shareholders, but to the community at large. ESPECIALLY when you hold a position with as much influence as an international brand like VS, CFA, Hobby Lobby, McDonald’s, British Petroleum, you name it.
        *
        And I hate to switch topics and extrapolate from your point, but I can’t help thinking it’s kinda like saying “If you don’t like homophobic people, then just don’t associate with them, but it’s not cool to ask/tell/force them to be less homophobic, that’s their business and they can believe what they want to believe.” Sure, that’s objectively true, but it doesn’t sit right with me that the solution to something you think is wrong, be it homophobia or unrealistic body image projections or tearing down rainforests, whatever, is to just ignore it and get as far away from it as possible but not ask it to change.

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        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 3:11 pm

        To your last paragraph – If someone told you to not believe what you believe, wouldn’t you ignore them? Imagine if someone who hates gay people tried convincing you how wrong it is to be gay. Now imagine 500 people did that to you (trying to scale it to a decent sized protest of a company). Would you be swayed? Or would you be well within your right to ignore them because what you believe in your heart is right will never change?
        I guess I think people and companies are free to believe what they want, and I’m free to ignore and/or disagree. So if a company was doing something I disagree with (that is legal I suppose?), then I would just not give them my money.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ February 28, 2014, 4:29 pm

        I think what gets me about the “I’ll just quietly and privately boycott them” is some people, not necessarily you or IWTTS, take on an “I won’t give them my business and THAT’LL show them! THEN they’ll change!” kind of attitude with it. Go ahead and take your business elsewhere but don’t expect Company A to care whatsoever about your tiny piece of business… unless it happens on a mass scale… as it might if you made a big public stink about it.

        I could be projecting because this is something Bear has done in the past that irked me greatly – if he had a poor customer service experience, or hell, was even given an answer he didn’t like, he’d get all huffy and threaten to take his business elsewhere and spout on about how they just cost themselves money and blah blah blah, and I’m like… You are ONE customer, and unless you are spending so much money here that you singlehandedly keep them afloat, your little hissy fit is accomplishing exactly nothing.

        If, on the other hand, you’re like “I don’t like Company A so I won’t shop there but I couldn’t care less if they continue to operate in a way I don’t like” and that’s the end of it, then fine, more purchasing power to you. Frankly, that’s how I am with Chik-fil-A and Hobby Lobby, I’m not actively lobbying against them. But it’s the notion that the private, quiet boycott is an *effective way to motivate a business to change* that I think is B.S.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 4:37 pm

        Oh no, there is no part of me that thinks my tiny silent boycott will enact any change whatsoever. It won’t.
        ““I won’t give them my business and THAT’LL show them! THEN they’ll change!”” – like, chop the second half off of that. I just won’t give them my business. If you want actual change to be made, a silent boycott of one customer will do nothing to help your cause.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 4:38 pm

        My point was more about why is it ok for you to believe X is right and practice that belief, but not ok for someone else to believe X is right and practice that belief? (the belief not being something inhumane or illegal)

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      • Lyra

        Lyra March 1, 2014, 10:45 am

        I’ve chosen to never get gas at BP again after the oil spill a few years back. Even if a BP is closer, I will purposely go out of my way to a different gas station so I don’t spend money there. It definitely doesn’t make or break them, but I refuse to give them money.

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  • avatar

    Banana February 28, 2014, 1:39 pm

    My afternoon “Awww” moment…I think Banano and I have every item and sub-item on that “Finding a Life Partner” list for being well-matched.

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  • avatar

    muse February 28, 2014, 2:27 pm

    I think another aspect of leaning in or out that is overlooked is the prospect of partners for women who are trying to decide which one fits them more. I also think a lot of the women Sandburg referenced who opt out before the husband and kids are operating on a narrative they experienced at home–dad didn’t want mom ‘too busy with work’ or boyfriends who would complain if she couldn’t drop work commitments for fun at any time. Should women be penalized for trying to hedge their bets to find the best possible partner even if he’s just a idealized image in her brain? In my friend circle i’m currently observing the contrast of two friends who got the same degree, but took two different paths. One opened a business and the other joined someone else’s. The friend who is an employee has a bf who has a job that is very mobile and she is currently debating moving with him if he decides to take that offer. She can most likely find a similar job in a new city . The business owner friend is single but envious because she knows if she were to find a partner with a career that had to move a few times, she’d have to completely uproot her life and lose money, as well as any legal implications that come with having a business partner she is ‘letting down’ all for a shot at love. Its not fair, but its how life goes. This is coupled with the struggles she is having at dating in our city , its just not working out for her and she often dreams of moving to a area where men seem more inline with her values, but can’t. There aren’t any one size fits all solutions, and I think looking down on women for making a choice they thought was best at the time hurts us most of all.

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  • avatar

    ktfran February 28, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Oh my gosh, I absolutely loved the recline article. Granted, I don’t children. But I do have a fulfilling life outside of work.

    I work for a huge company, the biggest engineering firm actually. We keep growing, but they keep downsizing marketing staff. The thing is, we need the marketing staff to write proposals and win work. And now they expect us to do more and more and quality suffers. I’ve opted not to “Lean In” and take on more work than I can handle, which people have asked. I’ve also opted to not work extreme overtime because 1. I like my social life and 2. I don’t get compensated for it. Not to mention, that I’m afraid that if I do take on all of the more than I can handle work, people will decide we don’t need help and they’ll continue downsizing. Not cool.

    Anyway, sorry for the rambling. I guess that I just wanted to point out that this round the clock stuff totally sucks and shouldn’t be expected. Unfortunately, it is.

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    • avatar

      muse February 28, 2014, 2:48 pm

      Agreed! Why can’t leaning in be more delegating at the professional AND parenting level. A more co-operative aspect to work life balance. I mean leaning in to me just seems like its taking us farther and farther away from the European 6 weeks vacay life I wish we all could lead! Do people not need ‘down time’ to recharge anymore? I admire Sandberg’s success but just reading about her life and the decisions she makes daily/by the minute exhausted me.

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  • othy

    othy February 28, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I found that adoption article interesting, although a little ‘I did this and so should everyone so they don’t regret it’. Othello’s adopted, and has zero interest in finding his birth family. Like, negative interest. His family are the folks who raised him, period. I, on the other hand, have always been semi curious about who they are, what they’re like, or if he has any half-siblings (or even full) out there. Are they looking for him? Do they share his mannerisms? But I think it’s more of a biological curiosity than anything else.

    I feel like both parties should be interested before contact is made. In Utah, they actually have a registry for adopted/adoptee people. If both sides join, then the adoption group will match them and facilitate contact. But they won’t release information unless both mother and child request it.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 28, 2014, 3:41 pm

      I think it would be nice if only one party wanted to find out about the other, to have some biography of sorts available. I think I agree with Utah’s stance.

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    • avatar

      bethany February 28, 2014, 3:46 pm

      I read that article earlier in the week and really enjoyed it, even though it made me sad.

      I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like knowing you had another “family” out there, or being a mom, knowing your child was out there somewhere… I like what you mentioned about Utah… Seems like a good way to do things.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay February 28, 2014, 5:35 pm

    To me, the thing about “Lean In” is that it’s written for people who are interested in ways to get further ahead in their career, and it offers a way. Obviously, it’s not the only way. So, yeah, if one feels that they are going to reach their goals by “leaning out,” then do that, but they aren’t mutually exclusive as ideas. I think sometimes people forget that advice or tips or whatever aren’t necessarily meant to be mandates for 100 percent of the population. So, I wouldn’t say that “we,” as in all women, are being told to lean in. It’s the people who are seeking that advice and who are interested in spending a lot of time on their careers.

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