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It was patriarchy on parade today (everyday?) for my spot with Hal. Jill Abramson got fired from the helm of The New York Times this week and she claims it happened after expressing concern about pay equity. She was subsequently called “pushy” and sent packing. There’s a bit of debate about her believability; as Andi Zeisler argues at Bitch Media, the plausibility of her story is enough to cause pause.
Also on the show, Senator Marco Rubio’s latest lip smacking inane claims. I admit to being excited when I saw he had claimed liberals couldn’t denigrate his climate change denial — which is totes based on science — because we deny the proven science behind life beginning at conception. Seriously. This man is a United States senator.
As usual we expound on the broader implications and cultural commentary. And then Hal misses me saying I had to go, so I abruptly fail to return after the break at the end of the clip. BUT! In two weeks I’ll be in the Chicago studio for the full two hours, so tune in Saturday, May 31 12-2pmEST at WCPT for a solid side-car appearance.
THIS from Andi Zeisler in Bitch Media deserves to be quoted in its entirety. Please go read her entire post — including embedded links — at “Like a Boss: Five Reasons Jill Abramson’s Firing Matters.”
Because feminists have been saying all along that Leaning In isn’t enough.
One of the chief feminist concerns when Sandberg’s bestseller was first published was the fact that it put the onus of success almost entirely on women themselves, largely ignoring the systemic roadblocks of corporate culture. There have been many eyebrows cocked at Sandberg and Co.’s perky insistence that it’s women who hold ourselves back—that we simply need to be more assertive and more available in order to succeed. Abramson’s unceremonious—and, by all accounts, remarkably cold—firing drives home the reality that leaning in, with its inscrutable calculus of being assertive but not pushy, bosslike but not too masculine, etc., is not the solution to workplace inequity, not by a long shot.
If unequal wages did play a role in Abramson’s firing, there is almost unbearable irony in the fact that this past March, the Times published a guide to salary negotations for women, in which women were told to take negotiating tips written for men and “soften” them, since employers often find it “unseemly, if on an unconscious level” when women advocate for their careers; the piece also encouraged women to approach talks like a “dialogue,” not a negotiation. As with Lean In, the salary piece acknowledged that discrimination is very much a part of workplaces, but it still put the onus on women to calibrate their bearing and their behavior to a set of indelibly gendered expectations, reifying and normalizing them all over again.
Links to on-air references:
“Rubio Slams Liberals’ ‘Hypocrisy’ On Abortion, Climate Change” by Catherine Thompson via Talking Points Memo
Enhanced audio: HSRP 05/17/14 — Plausible Patriarchy
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Categories: Hal Sparks Radio Program