After reading Sheryl’s book, watching her on 60 minutes, Jon Stewart, and TED, and then meeting her in person (I’ve obviously become quite the fan…), I have realized how much I feel she is speaking to me. As someone who is constantly referred to as “bossy” and “dominating” with a negative connotation attached to it, it was nice to hear that I am not alone in feeling this way. I never truly realized how much of my thinking stems as a direct result of socialization. For example I attribute getting good grades to working really hard. I almost never call myself “smart,” and I usually downplay what I get on tests. I can’t even explain why I do this. Is it because I am embarrassed? Is it because I don’t know how to feel proud or admit I’m smart? These thoughts have always been at the back of my mind, though I have rarely discussed them with anyone. Until now.
I think the conversation needs to be had not only at a business level, but at a personal level as well if we want to see results. She inspired me to talk about this with my parents, my friends, and even my boyfriend. The more people that realize that there remains a large divide between the sexes, the more we can slowly eradicate it. By taking this advice to a personal level, we will inadvertently use it in the business world as well. Hopefully with this continued conversation, in the future women will earn the same as men for equal work—and they won’t be afraid to ask for a raise if they deserve it.
I understand some people may think her points are unrealistic for the majority of the population. However, the elimination of the sex divide needs to occur from the top down—so she is speaking to the right people! As someone who has taken sociology courses and has learned how much this message is only talking to those who are fortunate enough to attend collegiate universities, I realize why she is sometimes viewed controversially. There is really not much fluidity in regards to class lines, but that is a whole different issue that would take a whole other book to address. She is speaking to our generation of highly educated women who have the ability to make a real difference.
I hope she continues to advocate as she does, because I know she really touched a lot of women. I also hope that men will listen as well; we cannot do it without them!
Oh, and one more thing: let’s take bossy out of the dictionary.
–Abigail Sickinger, 2014