The "Lean In" Controversy

Because it is Spring Break for Seminarians at Drew, I have had the luxury of indulging in one of my vices;  watching TV.  This is a good week to watch TV: the Papal Conclave and Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg’s book launch “Lean In.”

While I am having a lot of fun posting statements on Facebook about the conclave.  I am persuaded to briefly comment on the attention CEO Sandberg is getting on her book.  While the attention her book is getting is in part because she is one of the few 4.2% of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies; the critics are not holding back.  Some of the flack she is getting it is because the approach she is suggesting seems to be received as elitist, as is coming from a place of power.  (I have not read the book yet) But, I too, am tempted to point out to all the reasons SHE in particular was able to rise to the top of the FB empire.

However, in listening to the side conversations that have risen as a result of her book, I want to thank CEO Sheryl Sandberg for writing her book.  To this day, I have yet to hear in mass media serious consideration and thoughtful conversations about women in the work place and in positions of boardroom leadership.  Yesterday, it was refreshing to hear a reporter say, “Please, let’s go beyond the question, Can women have it all?”  The female reporter challenged her panel that this viewpoint has been cyclical and unproductive. Yes! Agreed!

In working at Girl Scouts in leadership development programs for girls, I know some of what she is saying has some standing. So let’s not dismiss all of her “manifesto”.  Moreover, let’s keep the conversation going.  This is especially important while we witness a cloud of old men dressed in red garments make decisions on an institution that has 721,935 members in their women’s orders.  

In the mean time, let’s keep the conversation going and progressing, we owe it to our girls!


Today Show

The Hijab and the Cross

This post is an interpretive work of a cross-cultural experience, it is not meant to make educational or religious statements to be considered right or wrong.  Rather meaningful interactions are to raise questions about ourselves, challenge us, and change us for the better.  The manipulated images are not intended to belittle or offend anyone of either Muslim or Christian religion, rather it is an interpretive work in it self of the questions the poem raises.  It is my intention however, to help promote a more positive image of Islam and Muslim women in general in the Unites States of America and challenge our traditional views on evangelism and the sometimes oppressive ways we treat each other.  There is so much more we need to learn. 

With love, Tere.

Art by Kenneth Post, 2013
She is beautiful…
All I could see was her eyes
Her smile
The structure of her cheeks
The dance of fabric
Moving to her rhythm
She is alive!
Pins glitter
Jewels dangle
A flower planted
In a prairie of patterns
That match her sandals
And the polish on her nails.
She is more than fashion
She is more, not just flesh.
I looked from the most western part of my own existence
I vowed to voice injustice in her name
A prayer for her freedom
I prayed for us to be the same
Equal and powerful
Hair free to be blown in the air…
Choice and free will.
She is free when she covers
She is free when she bows
She is she when she worships
The God that showed her how,
To live,
To be in existence
in peace.
Her truth
Her way
Searching and fighting
To be better free
in her own faith,
in her own terms…
I wore her hijab
Not by choice
Not with honor
Rather annoyed
I wore her hijab
And it meant nothing
I was hot and itchy
I could not wait to get it off
Of me…
I was still a western woman under those garments,
I could never know what it means to her,
To be her
I carry a cross
And live it up to be
The burden that keeps me grounded
Focused in worship
And free.
My cross, her hijab
Her and me
If I imposed my cross on her
Would she feel just as uncomfortable?
As in her hijab I did?
She chose her cross in her hijab
I chose my hijab in my cross
May God show us both mercy
May God show us both
No condition
Just love.
May God help us find God
In each other…
© Teresita Matos, 2/26/13