Tags: barbara ehrenreich

27 Jun 2007, Comments Off on In which I judge a book by its cover

In which I judge a book by its cover

Author: Helen

Recently, the folks at IBTP have been bemoaning the pinkification of everything (something also deplored by Barbara Ehrenreich, Twisty and Tigtog). Coincidentally, while relaxing with the dead-tree paper, I wandered by accident into the My Career section. Normally I would toss this bulky wad, with its depressing articles about young billionaires who are all twenty years younger than me, over my shoulder. This time, like someone driving slowly past a car crash, I couldn’t avert my eyes from a book review by Wendy Taylor (whose column is titled “Expert Advice”).
The name of the book is: “The Girl’s Guide to being a Boss”. Because, presumably, if you’re a grown woman contemplating a position of authority, you’ll rush out and buy a book which refers to you as a “girl”. As if that isn’t enough, the full title as shown by Amazon.com is “TGGTBAB (Without Being a Bitch): Valuable Lessons, Smart Suggestions, and True Stories for Succeeding as the Chick in Charge”. Because, you know, the greatest danger in taking on a management role is that people will think you’re a bitch? And who could resist a book on professional development with a cover like this? Here’s the version shown in the AGE review:

Image from Allen and Unwin

And here’s the version shown on Amazon:

Image from Amazon.com

Because, you know, if you want to direct a professional development book at women, it’s gotta be pink. (there was a picture of a large, pink, six inch heeled shoe somewhere to the right of the review, for no apparent reason. Chicks. Shoes. Pink. You know.)

Since this isn’t available online, and I have no intention of buying – or reading it, I need to stress that I’m criticising the marketing of the thing. The cover. The artwork. The presumption that if you aren’t an underling, you’re going to be labelled “a bitch”. And being called a “chick” even if you have the corner office. Just in case you get a bit uppity. I won’t second guess what advice they give, as I say I haven’t read the book, but I hope they aren’t using a double standard of male and female managerial behaviour. Well, I can always hope.

What is it about these people who write or do artwork for professional women and their obsession with the Barbie aesthetic and all things pink?

Taylor’s review stresses how easy the book is to read, but the blurb at Amazon.com lays it on with a trowel. “Most management books put you to sleep…No jargon and no need for an MBA. The Girl’s Guide to Being a Boss Without Being a Bitch is a fun read that offers information without intimidation and includes all the advice you need to learn to lead, inspire and motivate. We include quizzes, tips, checklists and fun sidebars such as “Celluloid Bitches,” and “The Girl’s Guide to Gossip” throughout.”

Business is hard!
Chicks haz short attention spanz!
More pink shoes!
Let’s go shopping!

Here is a collection of career development books I found while trying to find the review I’ve mentioned. They don’t seem to feel the need to talk down to their target market, and there is no… bloody… pink. But then, the cover artwork only shows men.

*Updated 28/06/2007 to include some excellent Pinkification links I’d neglected to add.

30 Aug 2004, Comments (0)

What I’m reading

Author: Helen

Warning: this goes back a while. If you demand up to dateness of your bloggers, you’ll be sadly disappointed here. It’s quality, quality I tell you (unless the so-bad-it’s-good element gets a look in}.

One of the high points of my blog reading in the last few months has been the return of Don Arthur. He has made his new blogger site look absolutely tasteful, something I never achieved. At the moment he’s gazumphed me by blogging a topic I was going to write about, damn him, which I still will do in my tardy and blogsluttish fashion, but I might cut a few corners by linking to his piece. He even uses the reference (to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickeled and Dimed) which I was going to use. So did Terry Lane last sunday. There has to be a plot here somewhere.

Barista has come up with perhaps my Best Quote on the Internet for 2004 (2003 was Nick Possum), with this:


Confrontational journalism on teev often looks like an over-excited chook trying to argue with a lawnmower. There’s a lot of pecking but the machine just trundles back and forth, back and forth.

Or, at our place, an over-excited kelpie cross trying to argue with a lawnmower… Yes it’s the time of year where we get out in the garden, Irritate the Dog and Neglect Our Blog.

There’s no shortage of great quotes at Fafblog. Here is their attempt to answer the question: who has more rights, an “enemy combatant” in Guantanamo bay, or a Pepsi machine?


An enemy combatant in Guantanamo Bay is confined to a 2.4 by 1.8 meter wire mesh cell.
* A Pepsi machine is immobile.
* Advantage: Arab!
* An enemy combatant has the right to file a habeas corpus petition but no access to legal counsel to prepare those petitions.
* A Pepsi machine might have the legal right to file a habeas corpus petition if it were ever in some situation that yknow, required a Pepsi machine to file a habeas corpus petition. But it lacks the cognitive functions necessary to decide to file that petition.
* Advantage: Kind of a wash!

If you’re also a fan of Fafnir, the Medium Lobster, and Giblets, I suggest you read this post by Brad DeLong.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, the Governor-General has been frightening the kiddies, causing cows to give sour milk and hens to stop laying all over the colony with pictures like this. “There should be a warning on the masthead” (prolific commenter Glenn Condell).

Although interrupted by the pressure of work, such as a visit by the PM to announce an October 9 election, the G-G has also helped another blogger out with a bit of a plagiarism problem. (Girl fight! Girl fight!) I’m not above a bit of schadenfreude myself, and while I prefer the niceness of lefty bloggers, it’s satisfying when someone who badly needs it gets their arse thoroughly kicked. Only in a cyber-sense, of course.

Gianna has been on a roll, e.g. this corker of a post about the Tradesmen problem. You just can’t get good help these days. A question: if the roles had been reversed, would he have come out of it with a reputation as the pool guy – or the town bike? ah, the good ol’ double standard.

And… corblimey, Nick Possum’s employing a human.

And that’s not including a lot of other fine blogs I read. And that is why, despite the dog’s heroic efforts to save us from the lawnmower, the garden is generally in a shocking state.