Chop Suey Deluxe a la Zilker with barbecued tofu, which I ate while watching Rosalind Franklin get the shaft from Watson and Crick in The Secret of Photo 51
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Some of you may recall my noble eschewment of television news and major print media. My resolve was strong. But the media were stronger. Last night, at about 10 PM central time, I experienced a core breach. My shields failed. I watched The Daily Show.
This essay is not about The Daily Show, though.
Itâ€™s about this morning, when somehow Philly.com managed to send through a hostile probe causing my monitor to display a story on saucy, savvy businesswomen who â€œadd a feminine flairâ€ to networking.
I cannot but cast a jaundiced eye on this dippy article. If, when you see the words â€œfeminine flairâ€ topping a newspaper story about professional women, your keen mind forecasts a flock of 70 or so Katharine Harrises descending en masse upon a Lilly Pulitzer store to wheel and deal while they buy â€œpink tube tops and color-drenched sundresses,â€ you will have pretty much grasped the gist.
Why are chicks with briefcases going on shopping sprees? Theyâ€™re networking, girl-power-style! They just donâ€™t feel feminine meeting the guys at the bar for beers or playing golf, and lard knows a woman without feminine pinkness is like a fish without a bicycle. So theyâ€™re â€œempoweringâ€ themselves at girly networking events. Sewing circles. Shopping. â€œManicures and martinis.â€
Itâ€™s working great, too! Women make up half the work force, and already 8 ofâ€™em head Fortune 500 companies! Eight! Why, thatâ€™s 1.6 percent! Meg Whitman, President and CEO of eBay, says she would be nowhere today without her pink Lilly Pulitzer tube top!
Thatâ€™s right. The Philly.com story is another one of those bogus sisters-are-doinâ€™-it-for-themselves pieces that pimps a completely mythical trend in an effort to reassure skittish fans of the status quo that we have no need for radical feminism, that women are doing just great. People dig stories about female empowerment that donâ€™t require them to challenge comfortable patriarchal standards of femininity. Women stuck in dead-end support jobs probably enjoy the fantasy of a whisper of hope, that all they have to do is hook up with others of their ilk and shoot the shit while soaking their hands in Palmolive.
But of course there isn’t any whisper of hope. The article includes no statistics on how shopping at Lilly Pulitzer puts women on the fast track to lucrative business deals and promotions. Why not? Because such statistics donâ€™t exist. Because shopping at Lilly Pulitzer is not a career-enhancing move, and suggesting that it is is a load of crap. According to an NPR report on women CEOs, one of the reasons women continue to get the shaft in corporate America is that they are stereotyped, probably as airheads who get manicures in pink tube tops. And besides, the women doing all this manicure networking are, to begin with, in the wrong jobs for advancement. New York University business school professor Sheila Wellington says that nobody who slaves like a dog in Human Resources is ever gonna make it to CEO, and I suspect that this figure will remain the same no matter how many Tupperware fashion shows she attends.