Response Argument to "Lean In: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” by Sheryl Sandberg




  
“If women all leave for office work, who will stay with the kids and show them, love?” One would think that this quote written above was something said in the previous century, but no, this is was what someone had asked in this current century, not just in this century, or in this generation but in this year 2017. This statement was also said by a law school undergraduate student. It is baffling that people still question the roles of women and what they should do. The question now is why gender roles are such a big issue in today’s society. It is maybe such a pity that some people still live with the stereotypical roles associated with gender.  This is just like what Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook says in her article; “Lean In: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” She starts off by telling the story of her grandma, who was taken out from school during the depression because she was a girl but later went back and how she (Sheryl’s grandma) was a very hard-working woman irrespective of her gender. She goes further to narrate how her grandma did works and took risks that most men would not take. She talks about how her mom dropped out of school due to her pregnancy and became a stay-at-home mom. She went to college with the mindset that both genders are still equal until years after her graduation when she noticed that the shift in careers. Her male classmates were in high ranked careers while her female classmates, only a few of them were working in full-time or –part-time workers and the rest were stay-at-home moms. This is made people to have more interest in men and their educational life because they are less likely to decide to work as part-time or be stay-at-home dads. The low-ranked career is filled with women but on a higher rank it is filled with men, in other words, men dominate the higher positions in the workforce.
She stresses further that women are as ambitious as men in their career life but slips off the ladder when work demands more challenges and difficulty. She feels that the reason why men are successful is that more men aspire to be successful and they are more likely to aspire a very successful life than women. Women are told not to dream of too much success, but rather they are told to dream of getting married. They are told that for their life to be fulfilled they need to be married, not just anything but on at a very young age. She goes on to describe the different treatment that is given to both boys and girls as little children and discouraging things that make them feel less concerned about being ambitious like labeling a girl bossy while she tries to lead. The society also contributes to it with stereotypes about genders and also discouraging people from entering the technical field. She makes sure to state how women are being told that they cannot work and handle family together. This instilling fear in women that they cannot handle their working life and family life together without losing one which will bring or cause them to be disliked and judged by society. She wants to tell the women that they should lean-in and not give up or be scared of the unknown and known and also encourage their husbands to help them out in the family as she ends. Women ought to know by now that they can do whatever they set their minds to do. They should know that they are better than some women who identify themselves as stay-at-home moms or house-wives. This is a new generation and since we have gone through a lot of evolutions, we should not leave out evolving our ideas on gender issues. This is because women have the capability of taking up on anything they want to do, they should learn to empower their fellow women, and women should learn how to believe in their selves too.
Women, in general, have the capability of being potential leaders in their various fields, not just leaders but also capable of taking up any role they want in society. They also have what it takes such as the energy, the vibes, and the strength to take upon any occupation of their choice. They have the ability to achieve all these things associated with men including success, ambitions, and leadership roles but they are not given the equal opportunity just like men are given. They are given little-to-no opportunity and yet are expected to perform magic to get to the top. Men and women are quite different biologically that is a fact everyone knows at least for now. A woman, of course, gives birth and a man does not unless trans-gendered at least for now. So if a woman gives birth should she not be considered and be given a maternity leave to take a rest and then come back to work. Maybe people did not think about that because men do not give birth yet so why will it matter. A society that does most things that are in favor of men and yet claims women are given the chances and opportunity. If women are not given the maternity after nine months of carrying a life within them, and then when they do not have any other choice but to quit the job. Yet, society as the weaker and less ambitious gender. If the pregnancy was shared maybe for four and half months between the couples or pregnancy was just for men, and they happen to quit, who knows if they will be termed the less ambitious gender or will they gain a maternity leave in most countries. Give equal opportunities to both genders and let people know if women will not be able to achieve things just like men or maybe do better than men. Irrespective of the challenges and barriers that women face in the society and the pressures of taking care of the family that was made by two people which includes a man and a woman and also handling her office work; some women are really hanging in there very well. They are not ready to give up and some of them are doing so much better than most men. This is a reason why Saul Kaplan in his “The Plight Of Young Males” says, “Men are significantly underperforming women” (732). Well, he is right but he did not present it well, or maybe that men are getting scared of the capability of women that they had ignored for so long. Men are not significantly underperforming women but women have chosen to hold on strong and do not give up to the male supremacy and masculinity. In the near future, women are likely going to do much better than men than they are already doing now. 
Women should learn to empower their fellow women just like Sandberg did in her article. She was encouraging women to stay in the work field and not quitting for family life. Women should learn to lean in just like Sandberg advised, it might be hard to juggle two different works at a time but they should not quit one for the other. Some women, especially in Africa, are still living in ignorance of the fact that there is nothing wrong in aspiring to do great just like the men have been doing. Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian novelist made mention of this in her video; “We Should all be Feminists.” Talked about how an academic Nigerian woman told her that women fighting for equal opportunities like men was not an African culture and was a western idea (3:04). Most women think that it is normal to be seen as a less ambitious person because of your gender. They have adorned their life with all gender stereotypes just like jewelry. From an African perspective, men are associated with success while women are associated with how attractive they are. Some women even go to the extent of making other women that are trying to break free from stereotypes that are associated with gender feel like a terrorist who is planning on a next crime. Some women are scared of being judged and not-liked by society when they become successful. Women should learn to empower their fellow women that are speaking up for women in society and support them. Instead of being scared of some social construction that has no connection to reality and dwelling in ignorance, these are the things to do. Anne-Marie Slaughter the author of the article; “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” talks about how women cannot have it all until the American system will change (695). One does not necessarily need to argue with her. She is right in the sense that the society makes it hard for women to handle two full-time jobs- work-life and family-life, but telling women that they cannot have it all until the society is changed is really not comprehensible. When will society change to favor not just men but including women too? The sad truth is that no one knows when it will be, so women should continue to wait until then in order to have a working life and have families. In short, women should always earn to support their fellow women and empower them and not discouraging them all in the name of telling them the truth. There is much truth to be told that no one has said; for example, that if women keep waiting for the society to change till they do what they want,  society will never change for them until they decide to cause a change to happen.
Women do not believe in their selves and what power they wield. They take their selves for granted. It is understandable because when one has lived their life as someone who can’t be in charge of things but need help always, there is a very little chance that one will hardly change as an adult. The last election of American was full of surprises, it was baffling how some women were so against Hillary Clinton. Some even swore she was never going to win the election as the president and their reason was that a woman can never be a good leader like men that a woman is too soft to lead. How will women make good leaders if no one is including her fellow women do not believe in her? Some women are scared of what they can achieve as women, they are scared of the power they yield as women. It is obvious that the society is not fair in the way they judge gender issues, the way one is labeled and told what to do based on their gender, but sometimes women contribute to the problem. Yes, it is a fact that things are a little bit better when it comes to gender compared to some centuries ago. The ladies who contributed to making it a little better for today’s women were so doubtful of their selves, no one knows what the society will look like now. Those women were brave to fight for women’s right for today’s women to be braver. They would be disappointed that after all their efforts that most women will still be in doubt of what they can do and achieve. Imagine if all women did not doubt the ability of Clinton as a woman president but believed in what changes she could bring. That is how change starts. Women believing so much in what they can do just like they believed that a man will always make a good leader.
It is all about leaning into what they want for the women but most times they are not really ready to take actions. Most women complain of the gender inequalities they face in the society as women but when it comes to taking action only a few women are willing to do so. Women are still scared of societal stereotypes and prejudices. They do not want to be identified with it, they do not want to be disliked because they grew up with the thought of always being likable. The society is not willing to make a place that will be comfortable for both men and women does not mean women have to wait for society. They will have to lean in and push their way through. Women have to learn to empower their fellow women and believe in their selves. This will do a whole lot in improving the society, in improving gender inequalities, in changing the gender stereotypes. This also enables girls to be free to create their own identity, enter the technical fields, talk where only men were allowed to talk, to dream of being the president and not just pretty housewives after getting married. Grace Martin, known as Daya in one of her songs, Sit still look pretty” called people’s attention to this by saying:
             Oh, I don't know what you've been told, But this gal right here's gonna rule the world. Yeah, that is where I'm gonna be because I wanna be. No, I don't wanna sit still, look pretty. You get off on your nine to five, Dream of picket fences and trophy wives. But no, I'm never gonna be 'cause I don't wanna be, No, I don't wanna sit still look pretty.
  There is more to being a woman than just some social construction made hundreds of years ago by people who barely were exposed to a lot of knowledge compared to now.

















Works Cited
Adichie, Chimamanda N. “We Should All Be Feminists.” Youtube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 12 April, 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc&t=199s.
Daya. “Sit Still, Look Pretty.” Genuis, 04 Sept. 2015, www.genius.com/Daya-sit-still-look-pretty-lyrics.
Kaplan, Saul. “The Plight Of Young Males.” They say/ I say, edited by Gerald Graff, et al. W.W Norton &Company, Inc. 3rd edition, 2011, pp. 732 – 734.
Sandberg, Sheryl. “Lean In: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid.” They say/ I say, edited by Gerald Graff, et al. W.W Norton &Company, Inc. 3rd edition, 2013, pp. 642 – 658.
Slaughter, Anne-Marie. “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” They say/ I say, edited by Gerald Graff, et al. W.W Norton &Company, Inc. 3rd edition, 2012, pp. 676 – 696.

*Side note: I would like to say that this work is just my opinion and nothing more than that. Also, I would like to apologize for all the grammatical errors, I am really sorry. Thank you.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



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