ambition gap

You can’t expect these women to be the Jackie Robinson’s of Silicon Valley. If they want to swar and cuss and piss on the walls of their office. Well. Who cares? The stereotyped role of being self-effacing, demure, caring and conservative just won’t wash. Kudos for trying, but even high tech companies, despite the progressive veneer of their goods and services, are just reinventions and adaptations of older business models in new contexts. The structural issues, the macro economic forces, the central bank policies; are all vigorously concerned with maintaining white male patriarchy and the few minorities and women are window dressing within a larger narrative.

---Hans Bellmer. The Doll. 1935. Read More:

The movie The Social Network provides the necessary yeast to bake the basic dynamic we swallow: men have power,  are brilliant and under take the work. Brain work. Women are gadgets, existing to amuse, but are subject to becoming unglued, irritable and must be discarded for a fresher version. Tech groupie 2.0. These young women seek  powerful, wealthy men. They offer sexual services, and hopefully if they play their cards right, can achieve material and social security and status. According to Sorkin’s film then, we are flat lining on social progress if not regressing:  in the higher innovative spheres of the Internet and at Harvard, arguably America’s most prestigious liberal university the sexes still relate in a manner akin to Dicken’s England.

---But one thing in particular about the whole fiasco caught my eye: virtually all of the criticism leveled at Bartz had to do with her mouth. More than once over the course of Bartz’s time with Yahoo, I’ve seen a blogger or reporter make some joke about Bartz needing a muzzle. Even Fortune—a renowned and respected business publication—stooped to the “muzzle” joke. As the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world, Bartz fell victim to the same fate that befalls most high-profile women who do something to piss off the masses (in Bartz’s case, it was her failure to pull Yahoo out of the ditch it dug for itself): they’re roundly chastised for their unladylike behavior. This is particularly true of women in traditionally male-dominated spaces, like business, politics, technology, and manufacturing. Their “emotional lives” are put under the microscope and they’re characterized as being incompetent because they’re too “emotionally volatile.” Read more -

The latest buzzword is “ambition gap” to describe the female state. As if they need to be better hamsters on the treadmill to get the snacks. To miss the Exodus bus out of Egypt. This is an empty bauble to be toyed with.Recycled tripe. But in that class, the old crocodiles at the World Economic Forum in Davos, maybe it sounds novel and creative, for the George Soros types with the twenty-five year old girlfriends:

Samantha Ettus:In her speech at World Economic Forum at Davos, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, one of the most powerful women and working moms in the world, talked of an “ambition gap” in how we are raising young girls versus boys. She didn’t point her fingers at corporations or at advertisers, but at parents and how we are raising our daughters and sons. Read More:

Sandberg says that a major obstacle to women’s achievement is that success and likeability are positively correlated for men but negatively correlated for women. I honestly believe this duality/ stereotype is fueled in the fantasy world where kids so rarely see heroines who are powerful and beautiful; smart and kind.

Sandberg says, “From early childhood through marriage we reward men for being leaders, taking risks, being competitive. We teach women as young as four to lay back, be communal. We need our boys to be as ambitious to contribute in the home and we need our girls to be as ambitious to achieve in the workforce.” Read More:


---We live in a time when science kits are centered around spa kits for girls while boys are building rocket ships. Even Lego now feels a need to market “girl” lego which involves a Barbie like figure in a microscopic skirt. Until a few months ago, Lego was all about building. Today our daughters are building with a Lego girl who couldn’t even kneel without her underwear showing.--- Read More: image:http://www.


Feminist Frequency:But here is where LEGO starts to go horribly wrong.

First, the activities featured in the Friends theme such as baking, cooking, caregiving, homemaking, decorating, hair styling are rooted in deeply stereotypical and limiting roles for women in children’s toys and sadly, in society in general….

Facebook Group. ---The movie, however, portrays a lot of gender interaction - none having to do with work. All of the main business figures - Zuckerberg, his competitors, his enemies - are men. All of the brain trust meetings, and confrontations, involve men. When Zuckerberg and his partner, Eduardo Saverin, meet Internet entrepreneur Sean Parker, Saverin brings his girlfriend - who serves as eye candy. In the house in California where Zuckerberg and his work group are making Facebook into an Internet monster, women are there strictly for play. Let's dial back to the beginning of the film. Zuckerberg has trouble scoring with women - shown dancing nearly nude at Harvard fraternity parties to illustrate what he isn't getting. He treats his girlfriend like crap, and she dumps him. Then, when he and Saverin become Internet gurus, two women throw themselves at the men - Saverin calls them "groupies" - giving them oral sex in a bathroom. Later, however, one becomes a crazed "bitch" and sets fire to Saverin's hotel room - for no reason at all, the film would have us believe. Read More:

…Second, these types of establishments only exist in the girls’ world of Heartlake city. The real LEGO city, on the other hand, you know, the ones that come in the blue boxes, that’s marketed almost exclusively to boys has dozens of CITY subthemes including Search and Rescue, Police, Firefighters, Construction, the Space Port which are all traditionally male identified occupations (though they shouldn’t be). Noticeably absent are any places for the LEGO city minifigures to live or eat. Isn’t it curious that there are almost no housing, entertainment or restaurant subthemes in LEGO city?

So what happens when something in Heartlake City catches on fire? I guess you have to call the boys to put it out, similarly what happens when someone in LEGO city gets hungry? I guess you’d have to call the girls to bake them something. This is just absurd….

---Of course, Carol Bartz isn’t the first high-profile female executive to have her unladylike behavior called out in place of real criticism of her performance. Look at Meg Whitman. Virtually none of the criticism aimed at Meg Whitman had anything to do with her performance as CEO of eBay (a $4 billion acquisition of Skype? Really?), but for her allegedly violent temper and aggression. Read more : image:

..Now you may be thinking to yourself that kids don’t have to follow the instructions, they could build whatever they want out of the LEGO set, girls could build spaceships out of the beauty salon for example. The problem is that the Friends theme was developed from the ground up based on a story of five friends and everything that girls are meant to do with the sets revolves around that specific story. This severely limits the possibilities of what most girls will do with the sets. And there’s nothing else in the rest of the LEGO universe that will encourage girls to think outside of the gendered walls of Heartlake City.

It seems as though LEGO is convinced that boys and girls just naturally have different interests, the LEGO Group CEO said “We focused on creating a play experience centered on the joy of creation, while heeding the way girls naturally build and play.”

Using the language of “natural” or “nature” in reference to gender infers that girls are biologically predisposed to like dolls and pink things. As noted by Peggy Orenstein in her book Cinderella Ate My Daughter, if we look to the turn of the century this gendered color dynamic was actually reversed, in the early 1900s blue was associated with baby girls and pink with baby boys, really, it might be hard to believe but you can look it up. This demonstrates that colour association with gender is a social construct, it’s not biological, it’s not genetic, it’s not natural. It’s made up. Read More:

Vanessa Beecroft. ---Female CEOs are few and far between, female tech CEOs are even rarer, but female CEOs of large technology corporations are virtually non-existent. Bartz was one of the last in that dying breed. DeNA CEO Tomoko Namba stepped down in May due to a family health issue, and Meg Whitman left eBay in 2008. This has a trickle-down effect for other women who want to move up the corporate ladder. In the average male-run business, female executives make 8-25% less than their male counterparts, but this is not the case in female-run businesses. Read more :

When the site goes viral at Harvard, Saverin and Zuckerberg take two girls into a bar bathroom and have sex in adjoining stalls, and when it picks up buzz on the venture capital circuit, Zuckerberg goes home with a Victoria’s Secret model. Even more damning: When Facebook is still in its early stages, Zuckerberg fantasizes about displaying girls’ photos next to shots of farm animals and having people choose the more attractive image.

That passage, in isolation, is a bit of a jaw-dropper. And yet it shocks without surprising, because Zuckerberg’s pig-versus-girl brainstorm fits as naturally in the current real-life Silicon Valley climate as it does in the book. The Valley is now ruled by the egalitarian technologies of sharing and social networking, but the cultural vibe is anything but progressive. And prehistoric woman-bashing is making a comeback.

The guys of this Valley generation—moguls, journalists and consumers alike—seem pretty comfortable not only harboring sexist views, but voicing them loudly and bluntly. Think of the puddle of media drool that collected when Google brought on VP of search Marissa Mayer: Outlets like BusinessWeek, Fast Company, and Fox were chronically unable to quote her without mentioning her blond hair. Slimier traces of sexism rose from last September’s Details spread on “The Playboys of Tech,” in which wunderkinds like iminlikewithyou’s Charles Forman eagerly expounded on “[website] founder fetishist” groupies. Read More:

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