Where industrial capitalism had driven women as a group to mobilize to change society, its consumer variant induced individual women to submit, each seemingly of her own free will, to a mass-produced culture. They were then encouraged to call that submission liberation. This is the mode that much of American feminism has been stuck in ever since, despite attempts by late-1960s radical feminists to dismantle the female consumer armament of cosmetics, girdles, and hair spray. (The dismantling became quite literal in the 1968 demonstration against the Miss America Pageant, where young radicals hurled “instruments of female torture” into a “Freedom Trash Can.”)
In the postindustrial economy, feminism has been retooled as a vehicle for expression of the self, a “self” as marketable consumer object, valued by how many times it’s been bought—or, in our electronic age, how many times it’s been clicked on. “Images of a certain kind of successful woman proliferate,” British philosopher Nina Power observed of contemporary faux-feminism in her 2009 book, One-Dimensional Woman. “The city worker in heels, the flexible agency employee, the hard-working hedonist who can afford to spend her income on vibrators and wine—and would have us believe that—yes—capitalism is a girl’s best friend.””
Susan Faludi, Facebook Feminism, Like It or Not
Faludi’s critique of the Lean In movement positions it as nothing more than indoctrinating women to work harder, and if that doesn’t lead to personal success they have only themselves to blame. She quotes Kate Losse who said in Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning In?,
Life is a race, Sandberg is telling us, and the way to win is through the perpetual acceleration of one’s own labor: moving forward, faster. The real antagonist identified by Lean In then is not institutionalized discrimination against women, but women’s reluctance to accept accelerating career demands.
Especially damning is the list of corporate supporters of Lean In that have a seemingly endless series of lawsuits brought by women seeking redress to inequities in the workplace.
Faludi is implicitly calling for solidarity, an awareness among women in the workforce that they share common problems and should find common cause. However, we are in a time when solidarity is increasingly elusive, for any group or community. And faux solidarity, engendered by a small elite for the sake of their personal advancement, is no help and may in fact form an impediment to true solidarity, or its postnormal analogue, fluidarity.
Go read the whole piece.
Nothing enlightens like perspective. Read this to get some ASAP!