She said the s word

So Sheryl Sandberg was on the Daily Show on Wednesday. Guess what she said. That women are held back by a lot of things…and one of them is stereotypes. Yes stereotypes. Omigod! Radfem alert! Somebody summon franc hoggle to fantasize about kicking her in the cunt!

But we’re also held back by stereotypes. Go to a playground and you’ll hear little girls called bossy! You don’t hear little boys called bossy, because we expect boys to be assertive and lead.

Oh oh oh! That’s crazy talk!! That’s the diametric opposite of skepticism!!! Where’s the evidence?! Where’s the peer-reviewed science?! Where’s the PhD in sociology?! Where are the three whole classes in Women’s Studies? That’s misandrist, and professional victim, and femistasi. Paula Kirby needs to talk to Sheryl Sandberg and set her straight.

And so we’re trying to change that. You know, rather than call our little girls bossy, we should say “my daughter has executive leadership skills.”

Cheers and applause.

Then Stewart suggests, hesitantly and as if it were a new thought, that a woman saying this kind of thing gets a slightly more heated reaction than a man would.

Stewart: Why do you think women are judged more harshly in these arenas?

Sandberg: So our stereotypes – and again, these are deep, these start in childhood – are that men should lead, men should speak up, men should have opinions.

Does that sound familiar at all? Just a tiny bit?

Women should nurture, help others, sit back. The National Retailers Association printed up T shirts, onesies, for babies – the boys’: smart like Daddy; the girls: pretty like Mommy. Not in the 1950s; two years ago.

And so, when women speak out, when women are successful, they are less liked, while when men speak out, they are better liked.

That sounds a little bit familiar too. Just a little bit. Goats. Excuse me, something in my throat. Goats, goats. So sorry – anyone got a cough drop? Goats, goats, goats.

Then she says we can change it, and we should, because if we can understand the stereotypes, they can change.

Yes! But in the process – we will hear a lot of shit from a lot of shitlords. A LOT.

Then Stewart hits a nail on the head –

It seemed easier to change the access to power than to change the cultural pressures that women face.

Exactly. Harriet Hall, Paula Kirby: please note. If Stewart can see that, why tf can’t you?

Sandberg tells a story of her friend Rachel who told her daughter, age 5, that women who succeed are less liked while men who succeed are more liked, and the daughter’s response was…”Well then Mommy I would just do less well at work.”

Change this please. Let’s do this thing.


  1. says

    Does everyone know the Mr Men series of children’s books, originally by Roger Hargreaves (since his death the franchise has been picked up by his son)?

    There was a subsequent series of Little Miss books, which you could see as a response to accusations that the original series was too male-orientated. The accusation wasn’t without some substance, but if you compare the Mr Men characters with the Little Miss characters, you notice something very interesting.

    Here’s the list of books, in case you don’t know them:

    Notice a few things (I’m generalising, but the stereotypes are there nonetheless).

    First of all, the male characters seem to be grown-ups. The Little Miss characters seem not to be, in general.

    Secondly look at the way positive and negative characteristics are constructed. Some are common, so you have Little Miss Chatterbox as well as Mr Chatterbox, and Little Miss Greedy as well as Mr Greedy.

    You have Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Fickle, Little Miss Brainy, Little Miss Contrary, Little Miss Dotty, Little Miss Giggles, Little Miss Princess, etc etc. These are quite gender specific. There’s no Mr Brainy, but there is Mr Clever. Note the difference.

    Thirdly, some of the Mr Men embody *activity* -Mr Bump, Mr Tickle. They *do* things, and what they do defines them for the purpose of the book. There are few female equivalents – almost all are abstract personality factors. There’s Little Miss Somersault, I guess.

    There was a point to this. Oh, yeah, stereotypes!

  2. Brian E says

    Our PM is hated, maligned, slandered, libeled for daring to do what a man, and only a man should do. She’ll probably not be PM after September, because Rupert Murdoch in particular, and society in General will fix the problem by electing a party of conservative xtians and libertarians with a blokey leader, a throwback to the ’50s who’s on first name basis with Cardinal Pell and thinks the Catholic church is so hip right now. A few buggered kids can suck it. That’ll sort things out and keep the uppity women down.

  3. latsot says

    Somebody summon franc hoggle to fantasize about kicking her in the cunt!

    DON’T! If you say his name too many times, he appears. As I found out recently.

  4. says

    I was really pleasantly surprised at this interview. I had a bad feeling it was going to be focused on the pushback re: Sandberg’s book. Not only was it all about much bigger things than that, but Stewart was absolutely right on the money with the kinds of questions I was hoping he’d ask.

    Also: just tried to post with these credentials without logging in, and holy moly. “POSSIBLE IMPOSTER” is quite a scary greeting.

  5. ismenia says

    “Sassy” and “feisty” are two words that are generally apply to women. Both imply a child rebelling against authority, which is why they are probably not usually applied to men.


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