Award-Winning Features Writer, Editor, Columnist
& Commentator

Gregory Clay Header


- Published in Seoul, South Korea -

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg effect ― lean in or lean out
Author: Gregory Clay

Sheryl Sandberg created a national firestorm earlier this year when she said women should “Lean In” aggressively to maximize their careers. The $64,000 question, though, is how realistic is that for most women?

Not every woman is like Sandberg, who is the Harvard-educated chief operating officer for Facebook. Not many men either, for that matter. She gained $821 million from shares that vested in 2012 and received an additional $25.6 million in stock. And that’s not all. She also had a base salary: $328,000 that year with an additional $277,000 in bonus money.

Most people ― women or men ― can’t lean the way Sandberg leans in. And, today, clearly many women desire the option to also lean out.

Sandberg’s message could be interpreted through generational shifts. Remember the popular Virginia Slims cigarette commercial from 1968 with the sexy moniker/catch phrase that celebrated the women’s liberation movement: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” The feminist movement then was one of several cultural revolutions during a game-changing decade. Is that ’60s fervor still present?

“At one time, she would have been the paragon of the feminist ideal,” said panelist Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative-libertarian, public policy organization in Washington and sponsor of the debate. “Now there has been a shift in the paradigm of femininity. She’s the center of feminist frustration.”

Schaeffer was part of a spirited and intellectual panel discussion, titled “The Lean In Debate,” held in Washington at the Decatur House, a block from the White House. The panel, held before a standing-room-only, predominantly female audience of at least 300, focused on Sandberg’s red-hot, best-selling advice book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which stokes the workplace flames by challenging women to channel their inner assertiveness.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey called the book “honest and brave. ... The new manifesto for women in the workplace.”

Said another panelist Christine Rosen, a Bernard Schwartz Fellow with the New America Foundation, a public policy think tank in Washington: “The thing she did that got everybody riled ... is when she said maybe the problem is us (women), that we’re not taking our own careers and ambitions seriously enough. I think that’s what gets everybody angry. ... But I think she’s right when she talks about the ‘Tiara Syndrome’ ― women sit there working, working, working really hard and then they wait for someone to put a tiara on their head.”

Feminism a generation or so ago appeared more radical. Remember women then were involved in street demonstrations ― burning bras in public, toting placards and signs, shouting pro-women chants. In the 1960s, the goals seemed unbalanced. Now, women’s issues seem more grounded, that is to say the focal points today are about more practical goals, such as equal rights, equal pay, equal representation all the while balancing family time.

And not necessarily “having it all.”

Said panelist Sally Quinn, who writes a religion blog for The Washington Post: “I think one expression that should be banished is ‘having it all.’ The point of having it all is just ridiculous. You can be married and have a great marriage. You can have children and be a wonderful mother. You can have a great job. But, you know, it doesn’t work together all the time. ”Sometimes you have to do it in segments.

Sometimes you focus on your work, sometimes you focus on your child, sometimes you focus on your marriage. Sheryl doesn’t have it all because she doesn’t have the time to spend with her family.“

Does any woman truly have it all? How about all-powerful Oprah ― except she doesn’t have a husband, doesn’t have any children at age 59. But she is a billionaire. Is money the begin-all and end-all for the ”having it all“ model in today’s culture?

Perhaps the true barometer of women’s progress isn’t solely about money but power in a broader sense.

Panel moderator Elizabeth MacDonald, a business correspondent for Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel in New York, created “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” annual feature for Forbes magazine in 2004, saying the impetus was “to find the stories about the great women out there in the world.”

Is this “Lean In” discussion different for women of color, especially black women, who historically have been in the workforce much longer than white women because of the segregation era and economic necessity affecting the black family?

Said panelist Hanna Rosin, senior editor at The Atlantic magazine: “In my experience and research, black women have been dealing with these issues a lot longer than other women. I think of it as not so much women of color and women not of color. It’s about different socioeconomic classes; that’s the big divider in America right now. It’s just growing, growing and growing. What I mean by ‘End of Men’ when I wrote my book is that we live in two totally different countries.

“And in a country now where women have to work. And women not only just work, they carry their families. It’s not exclusively an African-American problem of ... women working or single moms. It’s like a nationwide situation in which this discussion we are having about leaning in is totally irrelevant because nobody gets married anymore.”

Rosin, author of the book “The End of Men: And the Rise of Women,” wrote for The Atlantic in 2010: “Over the years, researchers have proposed different theories to explain the erosion of marriage in the lower classes: the rise of welfare, or the disappearance of work and thus of marriageable men. But (sociologist Kathryn) Edin thinks the most compelling theory is that marriage has disappeared because women are setting the terms ― and setting them too high for the men around them to reach. ‘I want that white-picket-fence dream,’ one woman told Edin, and the men she knew just didn’t measure up, so she had become her own one-woman mother/father/nurturer/provider.

“The whole country’s future could look much as the present does for many lower-class African-Americans: the mothers pull themselves up, but the men don’t follow. First-generation college-educated white women may join their black counterparts in a new kind of middle class, where marriage is increasingly rare. ...”

If that occurs, would more women be inclined to lean in to Sandberg’s template or lean out?


Freedom Summer Of Hope In 1964
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
The Ku Klux Klan, the most vile domestic terrorist organization of the 1960s, accosted three civil rights workers while they were driving near Philadelphia, Miss. The workers’ offense: trying to register southern black folk to vote and leading boycotts of segregated establishments. READ MORE

What about ‘Black Privilege’
By: Gregory Clay
We’ve been hearing a lot about the “P” word lately. It’s called “Privilege.” We’ve heard about White Privilege, Athletes Privilege, Educational Legacy Privilege, Presidential Privilege . . . . . Well, what about “Black Privilege.” The privilege to riot. We saw the out-of-control stepfather of Michael Brown screaming maniacally, “Burn This Bitch Down,” on Nov. 24 in riot-and-loot-torn Ferguson, Mo., three days before Thanksgiving

The Book of Cosby
By: Gregory Clay
It almost came tumbling down . . . . . .
for Bill Cosby, that is. The year was 1965. Cosby had been cast in NBC-TV’s new prime-time drama “I Spy.” Except there was one problem: Cosby couldn’t act. The network wanted him gone. But Sheldon Leonard, the show’s acclaimed executive producer, aimed to salvage Cosby, who at the time was known moreso for being a popular stand-up comedian.... READ MORE

No Video Means No Outrage
By: Gregory Clay
It happened several years ago on Bill Maher’s late-night network talk show, “Politically Incorrect.” Rapper-actor-so-called activist Ice Cube essentially surmised during the panel: NFL players are violent on the field so don’t expect them to be... READ MORE

Taping Richard Nixon
By: Gregory Clay
Marvin Kalb, moderator of the anniversary panel and elite CBS News diplomatic correspondent in the 1960s and '70s, posed the question this way: “Why are we so fascinated with Richard Nixon --- even 40 years later?” Perhaps it’s the negativity that the former president conjures up by the mere mention of his name. READ MORE

Choosing Sides In Ferguson
By: Gregory Clay
The year was 2007, a few days after former Washington Redskins defensive back Sean Taylor was murdered on Nov. 27. I hopped into a cab at 14th and F streets, downtown Washington D.C. The cab driver originally was from Reidsville, N.C. We were discussing the hottest topic in the nation's capital at that time --- the killing of Taylor by four black teenagers.. READ MORE

Why Black Neighborhoods Don't Need Police
By: Gregory Clay
Hard choices. And we’re not talking about Hillary Clinton's political aspirations here. These choices relate to Ferguson, Mo., a town of 21,000 that has become a case study in Third World anarchy in a western civilization following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson.. READ MORE

Don Lemon and Bill O’Reilly told the truth
Journal Sentinel
There was an attack this past weekend. No, not with bullets and guns, but with angry, vengeful words. But with angry, vengeful words. Don Lemon, a news anchorman for CNN, issued what he hailed as "No Talking Points" on five ills that plague much of the black community. READ MORE

O.J. Simpson: 10 Years After The Verdict
The Augusta Chronicle, October 3, 2005
The tension was palpable. The anxiety was immense. The date was Oct. 3, 1995. The time was 1:07 p.m. EDT. That's when the court clerk announced Orenthal James Simpson was found "not guilty." It's been 10 years since that Tuesday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom; has it really been that long already? READ MORE

The City's A'Changin'
McClatchy-Tribune Wire Special Sections, July 2, 2012
WASHINGTON - It's a four-minute bus ride. That's all. It takes four minutes in the heart of Washington to see night and day, a city of stark contrast. We're talking neighborhoods here. Like many major cities, the nation's capital is defined by "pockets." READ MORE

A timeline of civil rights anniversaries from 1963
McClatchy Tribune, August 21, 2013
The date is when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his game-changing "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He started speaking at 3:01 that afternoon for 16 minutes. Timeless ... The year 1963 was a landmark time during the era of the civil rights movement. Here we are, remarkably, 50 years later. READ MORE

Sheryl Sandberg effect – Lean In or Lean Out
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Sheryl Sandberg created a national firestorm earlier this year when she said women should “Lean In” aggressively to maximize their careers. The $64,000 question, though, is how realistic is that for most women? Not every woman is like Sandberg, who is the Harvard-educated chief operating officer for Facebook. READ MORE

Guest opinion: Journalist Aynesworth has covered historic day for 50 years
Originally published November 22, 2013, Billings Gazette
The conspiracy theories are endless. They seem to multiply like locusts. Just who REALLY was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? READ MORE

The Five Phases of B.J. Thomas - and the 'Raindrops'
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
The year was 1969. What was the "it" list? The upstart New York Jets shocked the world by rocking the vaunted Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. READ MORE

Making Their Marks - Historical and Cultural Contributions of Black Women
Prospectus News
Most of us know prominent black women in Hollywood - from Cicely Tyson to Halle Berry to Kerry Washington. We know superstar black athletes, such as the tennis-playing Williams sisters, and we remember bronze medalwinning figure skater Debi Thomas from the momentous Calgary Winter Olympics of 1988. READ MORE



Supreme Court, Trump travel ban, civility in politics

CBS-Army vs Navy Football Introduction

Gregory Clay On The O'Reilly Factor

Tax reform, North Korea, sexual misconduct.

What is

Sexual assault victim carries a mattress.

Blacks in the Winter Olympics

Although few Black Olympians take part in the Winter Olympics, several brought back medals to their home countries. Season 2014

Guest appearance on the Geraldo Talk Show

Watch More Gregory Clay Videos



The Daily Drum Reporters Roundtable - 7-23-14


Dionne Warwick - I Say A Little Prayer For You

Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush -Don't Give Up

Sounds Of Blackness - Chains


© 2017 Gregory Clay. All Rights Reserved.


Website Design By:

Listen Live Call +1 202-629-1365 Call +1 202-629-1365 Gregory Clay Facebook Gregory Clay Twitter Gregory Clay Linked In Gregory Clay Wordpress