By Elisabeth D. TurnerColumnist
We as young women have a serious problem: we define our success based on how we measure up to our male counterparts. This ideology is perpetuated by women like Sheryl Sandberg.
Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, wants her upcoming book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” to spur a women’s social movement and hopes that it will empower women to become even more assertive in the workforce.
Women, she states, must look at “the social science showing that they are judged more harshly and paid less than men; resist slowing down in mere anticipation of having children; insist that their husbands split housework equally.…” Sandberg’s this is a misguided attempt at rallying seemingly stalled, third-wave feminism.
However, this line of thought causes us as women to lie about who we are. We are trying to control constructs that are out of our grasp. We are uptight and self-righteous. We are so concerned with becoming just as good as men and renouncing the social construction that is “woman” that we have hindered ourselves from finding fulfillment. We are so worried about falling back into the submissive state of the Victorian prudes and not being assertive enough that we are harming our abilities to effectively lead as women. In one respect, I am guilty of such. When I came to Hofstra as a freshman, I was a typical overly-sensitive, boyfriend-hungry freshman girl. I fantasized about meeting an older guy and going out on the dinner date that I never had in high school.
I’m a sophomore now; I don’t think about those things any more. Rather, I fantasize about going to work on 8th Avenue and being paid to observe society. The path toward this success seems incredibly implausible sometimes, yet I usually see myself as doing it entirely on my own, without anyone’s help. Therein lies my downfall. I am often quick to assume that men, if not trying to seduce me, are trying to manipulate me for their own sake and benefit. Many young women do the same without realizing it, whether in our romantic relationships or in our general behavior toward men.
But as bright young Hofstra women, we should wake up and not fall for the trap that Sandberg is unconsciously about to lay.
Striving harder to be just as good as men in the workforce makes us as arrogant as frigid Victorian women, if not worse.
If we ever want to find true fulfillment, we must first admit the lie that we have told ourselves, the lie that Sandberg is promulgating – that we must try even harder if we are to be equally treated. We should realize this and stop exalting ourselves as objects of misogyny. We should stop nourishing our egos and acknowledge the fact that sometimes we like to be slapped around a bit – both in the workforce and in the bedroom.
In fact, by acknowledging our sensitivities as women and our susceptibility to sometimes not be as efficient and cut-to-the-chase as men, we will break discriminatory barriers and receive treatment that is fair, treatment that acknowledges our sex’s differences and rewards our particular skills. In doing so, we will find true liberty – both in our relations with men while here at Hofstra and in our future careers and lives.