Advice on “how to get a job as a woman” misses the mark

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Susannah Breslin, the writer who once called feminism “cultural roadkill” and has also mocked rape victims by criticizing trigger warnings is at it again.

This time, she’s giving advice on ‘how to get a job as a woman.” Her main points?

1) “Women’s blogging is a ghetto,” so you should 2) “sell your womanhood” to 3) “get out of the ghetto”.

Breslin has attacked Feministing bloggers as self-victimizing, angry man-haters in the past, so it should come as no surprise that she paints the feminist blogosphere with a similarly dismissive and broad stroke.

Katie J.M. Baker has written an incredibly thoughtful response to Breslin’s piece, which I recommend checking out. She boils Breslin’s argument down to its core: that the way to overcome being a woman is to pretend to be a man (except in situations when you can capitalize on being a woman) and devalue the other women around you, and explains why she finds it “offensive and disappointing.”

For my part, I’m with Baker, though I find Breslin’s advice more disappointing than offensive. I don’t know Breslin personally, but based on her work it seems she is a good, ambitious, and intelligent writer. I can’t help but feel it’s a personal failing, a failing of framework, timing, or strategy, that she feels spaces like Feministing, at best misrepresent, and at worst threaten or conflict, with the work that she is doing as a female writer at Forbes. For her to conflate building community with “secession” and seclusion, to feel like the only path to success is to reject communities of people who share her identity, and to prefer to be around people who are not like her, well, it makes me sad.

Even though Breslin is entitled to her own opinions, I can’t help but wish that there was something I could do as a writer who wants to see more women writers like Breslin succeed to bring her into our fold. Because for this here woman writer, participating in our “ghettoized” corner of the blogosphere just so happens to be one of the most inspiring, useful, productive, and yes, empowering things I can do.

For more on women writers, careerism, community, and support, check out Ann’s epic last post “She Should Write”.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    “Breslin has attacked Feministing bloggers as self-victimizing, angry man-haters in the past…”

    Gosh golly- I know as a man, I feel so attacked and hated on feministing. That must be why I put it on my daily newsfeed…

  2. Posted March 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m not going to read any of the pieces linked here; I do think that womens’ blogging is not mainstream and that there is a bias against feminism. So if that is her point then I see it. But that is WHY I am a feminist. Because feminism is unfairly maligned and womens’ writing communities are unfairly marginalized. The major hurdle to overcome for womens’ equality in countries like the US where it is mostly already achieved is attitudes and cultural biases just like this. I see some of the same facts as Breslin but use them to reach the precise opposite conclusion. If womens’ writing were mainstream and the cultural attitudes that marginalized feminist perspectives did not exist in countries like the US, then I believe there would hardly be any need for feminism and things like the pay gap would close much more quickly.

  3. Posted April 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I looked at this moron’s blog. She comes across as one of those simpering toadies who bashes other women and especially feminism at every turn so the boys will LIKE her and throw her a few crumbs. Do we have a word for these sellouts?

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