I swear, this crazy flier from 1998 is burned into my soul. I was reminded of it when I read a post on TheGrindstone informing me that there exists an all-women MBA program. I clicked on some links. Every article about Simmons College that was not on the Simmons College website was followed by nasty – fucking nasty – comments from men. (Try the Wall Street Journal piece, for instance.
Here’s what the “monstrous regiment of women” looks like at the Simmons MBA program: There’s a lot of focus on nonprofit work and sustainability. They have a new green building. They examine case studies of women business leaders; in fact, b-school professors at Harvard have borrowed these case studies. It’s cool if you’re part-time: most of the students are, because they have other obligations. You can get a joint MBA/MSW (that’s a Masters of Social Work).
Oh, those monstrous women! THEY CASTRATE WEAK MEN.
I must admit, the idea of an all-women MBA program appeals to me for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. None of the men in my career circle are sexist in any way I can tell. (This is particular to New York; when I was running a company in Virginia, asshats abounded).
But regular MBA programs attract what I might call extreme male personalities. And they certainly attract people who have no ambitions in life other than pushing money around (I have bundled your mortgage with 10,000 others and sold it to the Chinese, muhahaha!) and creating no value whatsoever. I mean, most jobs don’t really make the world a better place, but I’m not especially excited to meet those people
I don’t think that women are automatically morally better than men. But I do think that people who choose to go to business school are already a self-selecting population, and that women who choose to go to women’s colleges are not representative of all women, and that women who choose to go to an all-women’s business school are a fucking interesting bunch of people, at the very least. Were I going to go to business school, I’d want a business school where douchebag comments are called out immediately by students who articulately point out that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and classism are all intertwined. I want a douchebag-free business school.
The nasty comments garnered by articles about Simmons mainly fall into two categories: the legitimate (if insultingly expressed) view that women who attend an all-women business program will not be prepared to do business with men, and random, virulent misogyny apparently typed key-by-key with a penis that couldn’t find anyone nearby to rape.
I’m not copying the really nasty stuff (something about how women are trying to be men so much that they need to have test-tube babies?) But quoth one, more moderate commenter – who wasn’t trying to be sexist:
“In my MBA program there was no ‘Male Leadership’ per se. Just leadership by the most able for a particular task.”
The “per se” is really key there. Does this really make you want to go to this guy’s MBA program? It’s like saying, “Why fix inner-city public schools? Those kids don’t go to college anyway.” FOREHEAD HITTING GROUND, REPEATEDLY.
So, allow me to circle back around to careers, and mention that Sara Blakely – founder of Spanx – is a billionaire.
She’s also the youngest self-made female billionaire. She started her company with $5,000, while working full-time. From Forbes: “She owns 100% of her private company, has zero debt, has never taken outside investment and hasn’t spent a nickel on advertising.”
Unlike certain “women-owned” fashion businesses where some man is pulling the strings behind the scenes: not so, in this case. Of the 125 Spanx staffers, only 16 are men. The CEO’s name is Laurie Ann Goldman. When Blakely was engaged to her now-husband, she had to sit him down for a special talk: her company didn’t just make millions – it made hundreds of millions. He started crying: “I was just so happy for her.” (He now goes around happily telling the press that Blakely is “50% Lucille Ball, 50% Einstein.”)