Published as "What 'Lean In' Leaves Out"
By Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid HenryThe Chronicle of Higher Education
Feminism may be the social cause least understood by scholars. Many writers both scholarly and popular repeat a whole series of false claims about it: that feminism has been a middle-class white movement; that it concerned itself exclusively with sex, violence, and reproduction; that it considered men the enemy; that it has become an abstruse postmodern scholarly discourse; and that it is obsessed with marginal insider controversies such as that provoked by Michele Goldberg’s recent New Yorker piece on transgender people. Other misconceptions have coalesced around books by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook CEO, and Debora Spar, President of Barnard College. Although their arguments might at first look appear to contrast--Sandberg urges women to “lean in,” Spar advises them not to try to do everything—they ultimately rest on the same assumptions: that feminist triumph comes with the achievements of individual women, mainly the privileged few. Read More