“A woman who tries to act like a man is a total waste of a woman.” So asserts Shelley Zalis, the founder of the “Girls’ Lounge” — as counterpoint to the traditional “boy’s club” dominating business culture. Hers is a place for serious businesswomen to express themselves as girlie girls. A dash — or, better, a lot! — of the feminine should make any business that much more successful, according to Shelley.
I love the idea.
Which makes me think of all my hard-charging, leaning-in female colleagues who, in the words of a wonderful woman short-story writer (Sara Majka), “have no femininity in them…their lives are such that they no longer have any extra gestures.”
And that’s what femininity is, isn’t it? Gestures. Expressions that you don like a delicate chemise.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, where I first ran into Ms. Zalis, men outnumbered women five-to-one. But we got a disproportionate amount of the attention! Maybe because we didn’t mind being pretty or (dare I say) sexy?
And “attention” is the currency of the moment in this social media age. Call it the Attention Economy, whereby the market has the ability to objectively calibrate and quantify the precise degree of attention paid to every post and tweet.
So it is that in fighting inequality, what we’re really doing is creating a redistribution — not of wealth — but of attention. Redistribution of attention.
Attention must be paid. So wrote the playwright Arthur Miller — a man, yes, but a man who was married to Marilyn Monroe.