Sheryl Sandberg Sticks Up For Marissa Mayer Because Amazingly Rich, White Women Need To Stick Together
Sheryl Sandberg gave a speech at Stanford Tuesday night where she was quoted as saying in defense of her pal Marissa Mayer ” ‘It is really hard to know what is happening at Yahoo. There have been no public statements. But the scrutiny, the media firestorm, is about her being a woman. Full Stop” and as much as I love the idea of
incredibly wealthy and successful women supporting each other it feels like both these women are missing the point. This whole thing has nothing to do with gender, it has to do with hypocrisy.
Mayer demanded that all remote employees report to office facilities by June 1, saying: “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home… We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together” all the while ignoring the fact that some of her remote employees are parents, and that they may be sort of bitter she has constructed a McMansion baby nursery next door to her own office so she could tend to her newborn son while they could no longer work from home. Because Sandberg herself is worth about $500 million, she probably has never had to worry much about finding safe, affordable, reliable childcare. Both these women live in this happy magical land of privilege (Yeah, even though they are women) and are both at this point sort of removed from the reality most working moms face, childcare, discrimination in the workplace, sacrificing family for career, and trying to move ahead in the corporate field when they are usually the ones who have to leave their place of employment to pick up a kid from school when they are running a fever.
We all know about male executives who don’t understand what it’s like to be a full-time parent because they are too busy running companies and making a gazillion dollars and we can all agree that we need more women executives doing the same thing, but both these women are so far removed from the realities of what it’s like to be a struggling working parent, much less a minority woman, that is sort of feels that this entire argument really only affects such a small percentage of the population. Their important and needed arguments about sexism in the workplace really don’t speak to the working mom who is a retail manager at the mall maybe making 40 thousand a year and still trying to figure out how she can afford daycare and her mortgage and groceries and college tuition savings for her kids and everything else the rest of us who aren’t multi-millionaires worry about. This argument doesn’t speak to the minority woman who is not only dealing with her normal mom issues of raising kids and making ends meet but also dealing with discrimination due to her race in the workplace.
So even though I’m happy both these ladies are raging against the man-machine, the majority of us can’t really join the conversation because we are busy clipping coupons so we can afford to eat and have the luxury of electricity.