From The New York Times authored by Ruth Whippman:
“If parents were giving their children virtue names today, as the Puritans used to do, nobody would choose Charity or Grace or Patience. Instead, half of all baby girls born in America would be named Empowerment or Assertiveness.
For women in this cultural moment, assertiveness is perhaps the ultimate in aspirational personal qualities. At the nexus of feminism and self-help lies the promise that if we can only learn to state our needs more forcefully — to “lean in” and stop apologizing and demand a raise and power pose in the bathroom before meetings and generally act like a ladyboss (though not a regular boss of course; that would be unladylike) — everything from the pay gap to mansplaining to the glass ceiling would all but disappear. Women! Be more like men. Men, as you were.
There are several problems with this fist-pumping restyling of feminism, most obviously that it slides all too easily into victim blaming. The caricature of the shrinking violet, too fearful to ask for a raise, is a handy straw-woman for corporations that would rather blame their female employees for a lack of assertiveness than pay them fairly.”
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