Thursday, August 27, 2015

Diversity Thursday

For those who haven't had someone graduate from college in the last couple of decades, you've missed the increasing politization of everything. It was bad enough in the 80s - and the reports I get from the eldest Wee Salamander, it is even worse now.

When I read Brian Grasso's bit about what he had thrown in his face at Duke this summer, I thought about a few of the pods being shipped to Annapolis over the last year.

Fun. Harmless fun. Good people just trying to be helpful.
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 [redacted]
From: [redacted]@USNA.EDU
Subject: Are You Leaning In?
To: [redacted]@LISTS.USNA.EDU

USNA Officers,

Last spring I sent an email to the Brigade inviting the Midshipmen to participate in a Lean In circle starting this upcoming semester. 165 Midshipmen have signed up, and I anticipate the list growing as the brigade returns.

This past Academic year, we piloted 8 Lean In circles, 4 all-female circles and 4 co-ed circles, to include 80 midshipmen. By all accounts, the circles have been a resounding success.

Please consider moderating a Lean In circle this year. Circles meet a minimum of once every marking period and consist of 8-10 Midshipmen. You will not be required to be at every meeting as the Midshipmen are eager to participate in the moderating process. Meetings can be held at a mutually agreeable time for your circle (over the lunch hour with an excusal, between sports period and study hour, etc.). We will hold an information session and training the week before classes start (date TBD) and circles will commence NLT early September.

I promise this will be a rich experience for you as you motivate midshipmen to start talking about how gender plays a role in the way we lead our young sailors and marines and in the way we live our own lives.

If you are interested, please fill out the google form below, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call/email me.[redacted]

Thank you for your consideration.


CDR Deborah [redacted]
Sampson [redacted]
[redacted] Department [redacted]
U.S. Naval Academy
(410) [redacted]
OK folks, you know how this goes. Now for the rest of the story.

What is a "Lean In Circle?" Well, you can trace it back to neo-femist icon Sheryl Sandberg's book, Dianetics, errr ... Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Poke around their website for a bit, that is where you can also look at who they partner with;
We offer a growing library of free online lectures on topics including leadership and communication. Produced in partnership with the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies at Stanford University
Ahhh, yes. Indoctronation. Feminist politcal theory. Wonderful. Very Maoist Self-Criticism with Hugish. Just what the world's greatest warfighting navy needs.

Please follow the link to the Clayman Institute. We don't have time for a full Fisking here, so let's just look at their fellowships;
All fellowship and prize recipients will contribute to the Clayman Institutes thematic focus, "Beyond the Stalled Revolution: Reinvigorating Gender Equality in the Twenty-first Century."

Beyond the Stalled Revolution: Description

Twenty years ago, Arlie Hochschild described the gender revolution as stalled, ...
Oh, it gets better. That is just a random taste, but makes the point. All "Lean In" is, well, is repackaged feminist indoctronization packaged as a self-help platform with Education Kits for Moderators and everything.

At least as an organization, they are inclusive - they even have areas for the Beta-Males to hang out.

Another way of looking at "Lean In" et al, is what some of the better critiques have outlined it to be - just another brand of feminism. What is also is - with all the self-help books, checklists, worksheets, and assorted organizational paperwork - is a feminist version of that creature of the 90s, T.Q.L. - Total Quality Leadership.

As Christina Hoff Somers puts over at The Atlantic;
But this otherwise likeable and inspirational self-help book has a serious flaw: It is mired in 1970s-style feminism. Nation magazine columnist Katha Pollitt compares Sandberg to "someone who's just taken Women's Studies 101 and wants to share it with her friends." What Pollitt intends as a compliment goes to the heart of what is wrong with Lean In.
Yes, a trendy new personality based fad - one that combines shop-worn 1970s feminism with 1990s Demingism - with networking sprinkles for that extra visual jazz.

One of the better critiques of Sandbergism is by Rosa Brooks over at WaPo. It made me laugh because Brooks make it sound like the Sandberg was a SWO;
Because, of course, I was miserable. I never saw my friends, because I was too busy building my network. I was too tired to do any creative, outside-the-box thinking. I was boxed in. I wondered if foreign-policy punditry was just too much for me. I wondered if I should move to Santa Fe and open a small gallery specializing in handicrafts made from recycled tires. I wondered if my husband and kids would want to go with me.

But then — after my I-hate-Sheryl epiphany — I came to a bold new conclusion.

Ladies, if we want to rule the world — or even just gain an equitable share of leadership positions — we need to stop leaning in. It’s killing us.
I leaned in some more. I ate protein bars and made important telephone calls during my morning commute. I stopped reading novels so I could write more articles and memos and make more handicrafts to contribute to the school auction. I put in extra hours at work. When I came home, I did radio interviews over Skype from my living room while supervising the children’s math homework.

And I realized that I hated Sheryl Sandberg.
It’s hard enough managing one 24/7 job. No one can survive two of them. And as long as women are the ones doing more of the housework and childcare, women will be disproportionately hurt when both workplace expectations and parenting expectations require ubiquity. They’ll continue to do what too many talented women already do: Just as they’re on the verge of achieving workplace leadership positions, they’ll start dropping out.
If we truly want gender equality, we need to challenge the assumption that more is always better, and the assumption that men don’t suffer as much as women when they’re exhausted and have no time for family or fun. And we need to challenge those assumptions wherever we find them, both in the workplace and in the family. Whether it’s one more meeting, one more memo, one more conference, one more play date, one more soccer game or one more flute lesson for the kids, sometimes we need to say, “Enough!”
Kate Losse's is good too;
Lean In posits that some women can be players, and its instructions will be valuable to those who perform the endless work and self-monitoring that Sandberg advises. I was one of those women, and after several years of nonstop work, unused vacation time, and shrewd self-positioning, I made it from the back of the rocket ship all the way to the front, where I sat next to Sandberg and Zuckerberg at the privileged center of Facebook’s operations. I was invited to Sandberg’s “Women of Silicon Valley” dinners, where high-powered women ate hors d’oeuvres and networked. These women were “in,” and Lean In suggests that if you work hard enough, you can be too. 
I decided to leave Facebook because I saw ahead of me, by Zuckerberg’s and Sandberg’s own hands, an unending race of pure ambition, where no amount of money or power is enough and work is forever. While I am not unambitious, this wasn’t my ambition. But Sandberg is betting that for some women, as for herself, the pursuit of corporate power is desirable, and that many women will ramp up their labor ever further in hopes that one day they, too, will be “in.” And whether or not those women make it, the companies they work for will profit by their unceasing labor. 
Will the the workplace be fairer as a result of some women being “in”? For all of its sincere encouragement of individual women, Sandberg’s book does not indicate that her leadership has created deep changes at Facebook, or how deep changes might occur at the companies that she hopes women will run. Since, like any boss, she focuses on pushing women to work harder, it’s hard to see why she would use her position to effect systemic change. 
And so, in the end, Lean In may be a book not about a social movement, but about Sandberg’s own movement from Harvard to Google to Facebook, and now into her self-appointed role as leader of Lean In. The book advocates “lean in” circles for women in corporate environments. The circles are now being advocated by the book’s corporate partners like American Express, Amazon, and Bain, with her book as their guide. As memoir, it is instructive regarding Sandberg’s successful career trajectory, and provides some helpful advice for young women in how to follow her. But as a manual for navigating the workplace, it teaches women more about how to serve their companies than it teaches companies about how to be fairer places for women to work.
If a bunch of female MIDN want to gather in little circles to ... well, yammer on about recycled feminist theory flavored with workaholicism, knock yourselves out. If some male MIDN who understands social game theory want to play around on the co-ed groups in order to find some place with a critical mass of females - then why not. That was a very successful ploy by a Reagan-voting TKE I knew in school who joined College Democrats, so maybe it will work here. Just know what you are supporting.

For everyone else, as you read about the political indoctrinization of a captive audiance at universities, don't think that it doesn't happen at Annapolis. And just as college professors use their influence over their charges to push their agenda, don't underestimate the power of a Commander offering, "Please consider ... " to a Lieutenant to support a political movement.

Oh, one last note - simply because I cannot help myself;
Vonetta Young, meanwhile, thinks about her marriage differently since reading Lean In. Young, 29, is an investment associate in New York City who works in private equity. Her husband is an attorney.

"I had this assumption that his career is going to be more important than mine," she says. "Reading the book helped me see that obviously you have to make certain compromises in marriage, but the onus of that doesn't always have to fall to the woman."

Young has talked about her shift in mindset with her husband, who is supportive and plans to read the book himself.
So ... Vonetta ... you're 29 eh? (Usual Kristen warning)

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