Monday, June 2, 2014

Are You Saying Women Are Stupid?

That’s a provocative headline, but it's the only conclusion I can draw from an article I stumbled upon at Huffpo. This article had five “powerful women” tell us what advice they would have given their 22 year-old selves if they could. This is part of LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” series and it was an opportunity to really show off the wisdom these highly successful women have gained. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. To the contrary, it left me wondering, “just how stupid were you as a 22 year-old?”

Elizabeth Warren: Let’s start with the best. Warren is a US Senator and still possible challenger to Hillary from the left. She also ran Obama’s consumer protection agency, where she proved to be a hard-left ideologue. Presumably, she’ll tell us some truth about the haves versus the have nots, about main street versus Wall Street or about the nature of political success, right? Let’s see:
“Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected. . . that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you. . . [that] you don’t have the fortitude, grace and resiliency to rethink and regroup.”
Well, that's underwhelming, but as advice goes, this isn’t bad advice. Unfortunately, it’s pretty obvious that everyone knows that you need to be flexible in life, that you will never get 100% of what you want. You kind of learn that every day of your life. And those who don’t know that will soon be disabused of their wrongheaded notions. So this is really telling people what they already know. Still, if we take this in a more broad sense, then it is good advice to remind people to always remain flexible in their views and plans and to constantly rethink everything they think they know. Sadly, this is the best you're going to get from this crew.

Suze Orman: Orman is a television personality and she got rich handing out shockingly basic “financial” information to morons... “Don’t spend more than you can afford.” Suze is also a recently uncloseted lesbian, though she was tripping people’s gaydar as far back as high school. So what choice advice would Suze give her 22 year-old self? Would she tell her how to exploit suckers to sell self-help books? Would she tell her to forget the impossible quest of finding a hot lesbian? No.
“Money will never define you. You define your money. . . . It’s not about how much you make, but the life that you make with the money you have.”
Gee. Who knew? Seriously, do people need to be told this? This is the kind of generic advice that all graduation speakers give and everyone ignores because it's obvious except to that one rich frat kid whose going to go to jail for insider trading in a few years. Is this really the pearl of wisdom that your 22 year-old-self needed to hear?

Martha Stewart: Martha built a massive business empire teaching women to make their own goose liver pate and doilies for their toilets. She literally built a billion dollar empire based on domestic arts, and then she went to prison. Think about the things she’s experienced. The hurdles she overcame, the trying times, the lows of failure and the highs of success. I’ll bet Martha has some truly amazing advice to give. Let’s see what she offers her younger self:
“Stick with it. Don’t give up. Defend your ideas, but be flexible. Success seldom comes in exactly the form you imagine it will."
Are you kidding me? Stick with it? That’s just the opposite of “don’t quit.” Amazing. I’m sooo glad she’s here to tell people that. Oh, and “be flexible.” Really? So you’re saying that holding out for all or nothing is not a means to success? Does anyone really need to hear this? What exactly has she said here that every human being doesn’t already know instinctively? Advice is only useful when it's something people don't already know.

What she should have said is something like this: “When you present your ideas to people, make sure you have every angle thought out in your business plan” or “take classes in psychology, they come in surprisingly useful” or even “If you’re going to suitcase a shiv, make sure you wrap the handle in leather so you have a strong grip to let you pull it back out.” Telling people “stick with it” is so basic it’s insulting.

Helen Gayle: Gayle is the CEO of CARE. Call me crazy, but I'm losing hope. Let's just see if Helen offers something other than a stupid platitude:
“Find your passion and hang on to it. Never forget what motivated you to get to where you are today.”
Nope. This is the generic platitude to end all platitudes. It's also asinine advice because few people will be able to pick and choose what they do to find something they will love, and constantly quitting jobs until you find the perfect one is pretty much the perfect way to build a resume that will forever keep you from finding the job you love.

Sallie Krawcheck: Finally, we come to Sallie Krawcheck. Krawcheck is the former head of Merrill Lynch and owns a professional women’s network. So she worked her way to the top of the male-dominated financial industry. I’ll bet she gives her young self some keen insight into how to handle working with a bunch of nerds who think they’re alpha males! Let’s see!
“Keep a running note of what works and what doesn’t work for you, what you like and what you don’t like, what you’re good and what you aren’t. . . . The chance of the stars aligning on these fronts in your first job, or even your first couple of jobs, is very low, so you’ll have to keep searching.”
//slaps forehead

Seriously? Keep a running note of what you like and what you don’t and then try to find a job doing what you like?! I’m not even sure what to say in response to this. Wow. Seriously, what is the very first question everyone asks themselves when they start looking for a job? “What do I think I’d like to do and what would I be good at?” In fact, I can’t imagine anyone starting a job search or picking a college major or even selecting elective classes in high school without first asking themselves these very questions. Does she really think that this is the advice that her 22 year-old self needed to hear?!! Was her 22 year-old self that dumb that she randomly launched herself into the world?

Holy crap. How about “face time trumps competence at big firms” or “however many hours your boss works, work more” or “finance sucks, get a philosophy degree”? Any of that would be more helpful than “try to figure out what you’d like to do for a living.”

You see what made me write this article, I trust? These are supposed to be some of the top women in the world and here is their chance not only to show the collective wisdom women these top women have gathered, but to demonstrate this supposed "different" way that women supposedly approach the world. Yet, they spit out the same stupid platitudes that every other graduation speaker ever spits out. Moreover, this advice is so basic and so obvious and so well-known already that they aren't saying anything that shouldn't already be apparent to a 22 year-old. What a waste!


Kit said...

So... stick with Admiral McRaven?

AndrewPrice said...

Sort of. These weren't really graduation speeches. They were answers to a specific question and the answers were just pathetic.

Kit said...

Those quotes do sound rather boiler-plate.

AndrewPrice said...

Absolutely, there is no genuine thought/advice here.

Kit said...

What advice would you have given.

(The shiv advice was funny. Probably very useful.)

AndrewPrice said...

Haven't thought about it actually. Off the top of my head, I would tell them to never get started in the corporate world -- chart your own path, take control of your own destiny.

Alternatively, I would point out that all those jobs their friends and family tell them are not "real" jobs (like being an actor or writer or musician or teacher) are the truly rewarding jobs and the only ones that have a chance at having a long term effect on our world.

Kit said...



Tennessee Jed said...

I think the best advice, or at least the best line you have is: "advice is only useful when it is something people already know." I plan to steal that one it is so good :)

BevfromNYC said...

1. Look, they all speak in meaningless platitudes because it is something that they can repeat without having to think. It's all canned stuff anyway. Not to sound indignant, but men of the same ilk do exactly the same thing. Think "Hope and Change" repeated ad nauseum for 8 years...

2. Yes, some people are just that stupid that they need the platitudes. At least in the case of Suzi Orman - I have watched her show and she really does have to keep repeating "Do NOT spend more money than you have!" It's a mantra. But other than that, none of these women would be women that I would turn to for advice on my life. To me it would like asking Gwenneth Paltrow about childcare.

3. What would I tell my 22 year old self? That "Hey, being my age is great. I hope you live long enough to get here!"

T-Rav said...

I, for one, wouldn't need to tell my 22-year-old self anything, because I was just as awesome then as I am now. (Shut up.)

Seriously, though, I think the two biggest pieces of advice 22-year-olds need to hear are "Don't live beyond your means" and "Be prepared to take a job you don't like." The first is self-explanatory, and the second is just a part of life. Few jobs are so meaningless that you can't get something valuable out of them.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's what you hear all the time in populist circles... the noble factory worker.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Steal away, but it should be the only useful advice is advice people don't already know! :D

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think it is interesting that it takes a true ideologue to see "be flexible" as a shocking revelation. Most of the rest of the world already gets that.

As for the rest, this feels like the kind of thing a marketing department could have written.

tryanmax said...

Bev, if I may interject, I think Andrew's point is that HuffPo and the women it highlighted are all part of the left-wing feminist media complex who persistently reprise Annie Get Your Gun in bellicose tones...and this is the best they could come up with? The writer at HuffPo should've recognized these statements as platitudes and pressed for more.

In fairness to the women highlighted, I suspect they weren't even interviewed for the piece. I'd bet the quotes were lifted from other articles that may or may not have been litanies of platitudes. But we'll never know, because the HuffPo writer thought the most inspirational advice from powerful women was the exact same pablum a thousand motivational speakers--men and women--have uttered countless times before. It makes for a very insulting picture of successful women.

tryanmax said...

Crap, I was trying to click the timestamp on my earlier comment and accidentally got the trash can. Then, I mistakenly confirmed the delete. So in the interest of not making Andrew look like a schizo, here is my earlier comment retrieved from the cache:

"I can't even respond to any but Elizabeth Warren's advice. Sound though it is, it apparently takes a true ideologue 40 years of grinding opposition to realize it. The rest of us, if we don't know it coming out of college (or better, going in), we certainly have realized it a year later.

As for the rest, I'll comfort myself by thinking that these particular women are just so insulated, their careers so cultivated by others, they so barely brushed the adversity that is common to most of us, that platitudes seem truly profound in their limited experiences."

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, This is definitely the kind of pathetic platitude stuff that most speakers use. That said, it shouldn't be. For one thing, this was sold as an opportunity for these important people to give real advice, and if all they were going to do was spit out a platitude, then they should have let others step up to the plate.

Secondly, we are constantly hearing from feminists that "woman are different in business." Supposedly, they are more caring, better mentors, and they "bring a different perspective." Well, this would be a great chance to demonstrate some of that, but instead they just spit out the same generic platitudes that lousy male CEOs spit out.

As for Orman, I sadly have no doubt that there are people who do need that advice. Ug. There are a whole host of these guys on the radio now doing the same thing.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I like to think that I look like a psychic! :D

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's probably excellent advice for 22 year olds, especially with college professors and graduation speakers and the such playing up finding "the ideal" job and "do only what you love."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The quotes came from a series done by LinkedIn, so it was probably one of these generic questions sent out to whole groups and these were the responses.

In any event, that really is the point. These quotes are being presented by HuffPo as something truly meaningful -- something that teaches penis-having neanderthals that women are great leaders and which are meant to inspire whole generations of bright young girls to go take over the world. And yet, the quotes are not inspirational, not bright, not clever, not useful, not original, and not even interesting.

Not only is it a total wasted opportunity, but it blows a hole in the whole "these are superior women" idea that feminists push.

Kit said...

Andrew, Bev,

So... men and women are both equally stupid?

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Not really. It just means that corporate speak is equally vapid no matter which gender is mouthing the platitudes.

Koshcat said...

What is so ironic about Martha Stewart's advice is if she would have "stuck with" Imclone and not sold her stock on a tip, she would have actually made money.

My advice:
1. Delay gratitude. Yes that car looks nice but get settled first
2. Don't get pregnant before marriage (not very feministic of me)
3. Work. even if they are crappy jobs, keep working.
4. Read a newspaper. Heck, even the NY Times. In our 5 minute news industry it is good to stop and get a deeper understanding of world problems.
5. Listen far more than talk. Early on especially only give opinion at work when asked but be ready to give a good opinion. I like the quote "better to shut your mouth and let them think you are an idiot than open it and remove all doubt."
6.Do put anything in an email or on social media you wouldn't want your mom to see. Your boss doesn't want to either.
7. This should be obvious but don't lie on your resume. We actually do check.
8. Dress conservatively at work. You can dress anyway you want on your time.
9. Be punctual, clean, and tidy. If you don't care how you look why should we care about your career?
10. Make your bed. :)

BevfromNYC said...

Koshcat - Great advice. But all of that is so "old school" [Translation: Great Advice for anyone trying to get their foot in the door or a job in general] I think the new question to ask potential hires has got to be "Do you make your bed everyday?" It would give an interesting perspective of someone's attention to detail and organizational skills.

tryanmax said...


#2 should be applied to men as well as women. Or maybe the modified advice for men should be "raise your kids."

#3 should add, "there's no job that you can't learn from."

#5.2 "Don't just have an opinion. Have a reason."
#5.3 "Not everyone will agree with your reasoning."
#5.4 "It never hurts to have a back-up opinion/reason."

BTW, believe it or not, #8 might be considered less feminist than #2 right now. There is currently a big push against dress-codes. The favorite line right now is that dress codes for women are longer than for men--it's sexist! Forget that male dress codes are more restrictive to begin with and that all that extra verbiage is to give women more options. Higher word-count means more rules and more rules means oppression!

AndrewPrice said...

Having given this some thought, here would be my advice:

Make a conscious effort to drop the negativity and the cynicism. These are like a powerful poison that slowly infects everything you do and you soon reach a point where you don't even know it, but all your instincts are hopelessly negative and you are nothing more than a grumpy, unlikable asshole.

I see this everywhere. People I know bitterly complain about everything... they see the 1% bad in the 99% good (oh, I won some money, crap, now I need to pay taxes)... they see a million reasons you can't do something and not a single reason why you can... they obsess over things that don't even affect them (the neighbor got a tattoo grumble grumble)... they have made themselves suckers for doomsdayism (America is finished) and conspiracy theories (it's all a plot!)... and worst of all, they are deeply, deeply unhappy with their lives because they spend 100% of their time tearing everything down with no idea how to build anything up.

Don't be like this. Our entire culture is slowly drifting that way, but you don't need to follow suit. Make a conscious effort to find the positive in everything. Gain some perspective: don't worry about things that don't affect you personally and, even with those that do, don't get upset without reason. Keep in mind that there is almost nothing bad that can't be fixed and minor inconveniences (the waitress didn't bring a straw!) are no reason to turn into a monster. Think about the good things. Think about all those people making the world a better place. Think about the inventors and artists. Think about the comfort that surrounds your life. Think about what you love most about your friends and family and pets. Think about the beauty and wonder of the world. Be curious, not suspicious. Laugh.... smile... enjoy.

You will not believe how much better life becomes once you make a conscious decision to stop being upset at everything and to start being happy. Seriously.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Excellent advice for becoming a success! Those are all rules everyone should follow!

BevfromNYC said...

Kit - Yes, both men and women are the same...except when women want to be treated differently like when running for President or public office in general.

Using Hillary Clinton as an example - When there is an inkling that she will be treated with the same scrutiny that she herself would use against any other politician, she feigns "womanhood". Yes, expect the Dems to drop "racism" and pick up "sexism" in the coming months.

This is nothing new to Clinton. She has done this throughout her career and as First Lady. She made a big to do when they first entered the WH that she would be called "Hillary Rodham Clinton" and not "Mrs. Clinton", little lady. She stamped her feet about how she is a person in her own right and didn't stay home a bake cookies...until she got slapped down during her Hillary-care debacle. Next she began to described as "Mrs. Clinton, the wife of the President" in the papers and she actually disappeared for almost a full year. I swear you could smell the cookies baking in DC for that year...

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Raise your kids is excellent advice.

Dress codes are a great idea.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The cookie thing was funny. That really caused some major blowback at the time. And then, like a year later, she actually put forward a cookie recipe.

In any event, you are correct: Hillary plays the double standard. She's "an equal dammit!" when it helps and she's "just a girl" when she gets in trouble.

T-Rav said...

I generally live up to Koshcat's list, except for #5 and #6. I cannot keep my mouth shut; I know I should, but I just am not good at it, or at not savaging people on Facebook. Other than that, I don't do too bad. So where's my money?

Kit said...

I find it amusing that Hillary said in the early-90s "I'm not sitting here like some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette." :)

tryanmax said...

And if it floats your boat, immutable optimism tends to baffle and enrage the pessimists. (Whaddya mean the gov't isn't trying to kill us!?)

Also, who was it that said to never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence? Truly words to live by.

Kit said...


Great advice about avoiding cynicism.

Koshcat said...

Tryanmax - completely agree about raise your kids for men. I often see women complain that the father of their children is an idiot, deadbeat, childman, or just gone. That's why I focused on don't get pregnant. This was also advice for young women. I also agree with your other points.

T-Rav - It can be challenging but if you feel you have to comment, use Andrew's advice about being nice. Make them feel like an a$$ for being negative. Also being extra nice really throws people off. They are ready for a fight and then your all nice...
And for following most of the advice, your check is in the mail along with the official invisible Commentarama T-shirt

Andrew- that's just crazy don't you know that Obama along with the Tilateral commission and some powerful jewish bankers are trying to take over the world so our alien overlords can live among us. Be positive. I'm positive your wrong!

Oh man, I gotta stop watch Jess Ventura.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I've never been able to keep my mouth shut either. Oh well. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It is amazing how badly optimism can confuse and freak out pessimists/cynics. It's like you're telling them there are unicorns in the other room and they look at you like you're crazy and try to get away from you.

I'm telling ya, negativity is a mental illness. It acts like paranoia.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, LOL! Yep. Sadly, a huge part of our culture has started to sell conspiracy theories as analysis and cynicism as wisdom.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks, Kit!

T-Rav said...

Yeah, about those invisible T-Shirts, this is like the fifth one I've been due in the mail. What's the deal, guys?

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - Duh, they're "invisible" and I know that you have been sent all of them. They are probably rotting in your mail box right now! As a matter of fact, we sent you an extra special, super-duper CommentaramaPolitics t-shirt just this week. Go out and stand by your mailbox and wait for it, so you don't miss it this time. I swear!

And, btw, HEY T-RAV!! HOW HAVE YOU BEEN??? We've missed you! How's are the Ninja kitties?

Koshcat said...

One piece of advice out there for the men. Don't let your wife borrow you official invisible commentarama T-shirt. The authorities frown upon it and don't care about free speech or liberty.

Anonymous said...

To my 22-year old self?


Having said that, I completely agree re: cynicism. It's a plague.

And Andrew, didn't you know good conservatives are told never to go into the arts? They get law degrees and go on to write books and blog articles lamenting the lack of conservatives in the arts. :-)

(I'm not talking about you, but you know that already.)

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