'Feminist Housewife' Writer Lisa Miller Is Trying to Make 'Lean Out' Happen


New York Magazine writer Lisa Miller is doing some TV appearances to promote her bogus trend piece about the “legions” of “feminist housewives” who are choosing to stay home because “mothers instinctively want to devote themselves to home more than fathers do.” Yesterday, she appeared on CBS This Morning, where she participated in a roundtable discussion about feminism, arguing the case for “leaning out,” a term she has coined to serve as opposition to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Groan.

That said, how cool is it that 10 minutes of network TV time was devoted to a debate about feminism? Miller was joined by Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, Barnard president Debora Spar, as well as the show’s anchors Gayle King, Charlie Rose, and Norah O’Donnell. Miller claims that feminist housewives are an “antidote to this recommendation by Sandberg that what women have to do to further the feminist movement is to be more competative more ambitious, more wily, more strategic.” (They’re not.) She’s calling it “leaning out.” (But if Miller really understood the concept and message of Lean In, then technically, leaning out would mean that you are actually still working, but shying away from leadership positions.) And fanning the flames of the “mommy wars,” Miller tried to frame the debate as being about how people judge women as not being feminists because they choose to stay home and be moms. Thankfully, Norah O’Donnell stepped in to stop her nonsense, saying, “I don’t think that’s what the book is about. I don’t think that’s what Sheryl Sandberg’s message was.”

She went on to school Miller:

I think the argument has become totally skewed and just off-center which is that there’s a suggestion that there’s a discussion about the choices of women who stay home and women who are in the workplace. That is not what the argument is about. The argument is about, after 30 years, after women getting more college degrees than men, why are there still so few women in leadership positions? And Sheryl Sandberg’s point is because women have internalized the message [of gender biases], they’re not seeking these leadership positions. It’s not actually about women in the workplace, it’s about leadership.

Joanna Coles also chimed in that Miller “mischaracterized” Sandberg’s book, while Debra Spar said that she would never recommend for Barnard students to “lean out.”

Miller also appeared on Current TV’s Viewpoint earlier this week, where she insisted that this Lean In is some kind of attack on SAHMs (it really is not), and further demonstrated just how little she understands what the fuck she’s talking about:

One of the things I wanted to say about [Anne-Marie] Slaughter and [Sheryl] Sandberg and [Marissa] Mayer is that all three of them are saying: “You’ll be a good feminist if you act exactly the way that I do. If you do this the way I did.” And all of these women are just arguing that women in general should just do it like they do…but on the micro level, it might be easier to just lean out.

No one is saying that! Lisa Miller is like a drunk person at a party who walks up to you and your friend and attempts to join in the conversation, but just makes zero sense, and you all feel bad for her, but wish she’d walk away and bother someone else.

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