In this week’s Wednesday 5: Debora Spar weighs in on how trying to be perfect is destructive; a 9-year-old girl debuts a clever new app; women who are leading pioneers in technology; where are the women leading orchestras?; and Frida Kahlo, artist and compassionate friend.



Trying to Be Perfect Is Destroying Us All

81XnXv319nL._SL1500_Tracy Moore at Jezebel examines Debora Spar’s new book, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection. Spar, who is the president of Barnard College,  asks why, a half-century after the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, women still feel stuck. Moore’s take on Spar:

“And while her personal story is one of privilege trumping gender barriers, her overall message is a universal one: Until childcare is more affordable, until the pay gap is closed, as long as women are doubling the workload by striving and mothering simultaneously while men are not pitching in equally, we’re stuck . . . And though her career will not mirror that of most women, nor will her safety net resonate strongly with the working class, her personal struggles are not that different: Spar talks frankly about her struggle with anorexia, sexism, lookism, perfectionism, and the pervasive sense that nothing she did was enough—and here is one lady who obviously did a helluva lot.”

Read more on “Trying to Be Perfect Is Destroying Us All,” at Jezebel.



Girls in Tech

Yesterday our resident techie, Alexandra Boghosian,  asked, “Where Are the Women in Tech?” It’s not such a pretty picture, although there’s lots of traction in the works to get more girls into tech. One 9-year-old girl, Alexandra Jordan, recently created an app for kids called “Super Fun Kid Time” that lets kids schedule play dates! And in case you’re dubious, the idea, the design, the pitch, the script—all Alexandra’s. For this week’s dose of inspiration, click the image below to watch her make her one-minute elevator pitch below at the Disrupt Hackathon!

Super Fun Kid Time



Follow These Women in Tech

101 Signals

It’s Listmania!

A few weeks ago we shared Fast Company‘s list of “25 of the Smartest Women on Twitter.” We know you immediately went for that Follow button. Recently, Wired magazine featured “101 Signals”—a list of the best reporters, writers and thinkers on the Internet—the people who understand what’s happening.” Unfortunately, very few women made the list. That, of course, caused an uproar. Katie Baker at Jezebel responded with “Wired Magazine Doesn’t Think Women Have Brains,” and Andrea Peterson of The Washington Post quipped that “Wired can’t find women on the Internet because it’s not looking for them.” To counter the absence, the folks at HuffPost Women put together a list of “28 Female Thinkers You Should Know, Even If Wired Magazine Doesn‘t.” It’s a robust list, featuring tech pioneers in Consumer Technology, Government and Security, Business, Science, Culture and Design. Next time, do your homework, Wired!



Why You Seldom See Women Leading a Symphony

There is only one female conductor of a major U.S. orchestra—Marin Alsop, the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (who also became the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, a 118-year-old London concert). Why do we seldom see women leading a symphony? Here’s how Vasily Petrenko, the principal conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, sees it. Earlier this month, he opined to a Norwegian newspaper that “orchestras react better when they have a man in front of them” because “a cute girl on the podium means that musicians think about other things.” Okay then. The folks at Mother Jones seized on the controversy to examine exactly how big is the gender gap in orchestra conducting. Last year, of the 103 high-budget U.S.  orchestras, 91 were led by male conductors, and 12 by female conductors. And, of the 22 elite highest-budget orchestras, 21 were led by men, and 1 was led by a woman (Alsop). To counter Petrenko’s greatly uninformed theory, Hannah Levintova of Mother Jones prefers to believe that “Putting women on the podium may not be traditional, but if Alsop’s Proms—which racked up a record number of sold-out shows (57 of 75) and employed an unprecedented number (five) of female conductors—is any indication, that’s an innovation that audiences appreciate.”

Marin Alsop, of the Baltimore Symphony, conducting the Last Night of the Proms earlier this month.



Frida Kahlo, Artist and Compassionate Friend

Colin Marshall at Open Culture is in love with the handwritten letter. So are we. We were thrilled to see him dig up this 1933 letter from Mexican artist Frida Kahlo to her friend Georgia O’Keeffe as O’Keeffe was dealing with a mental breakdown. In the letter,we get a glimpse of Kahlo as a concerned and compassionate friend, worried about O’Keeffe, but feeling lost and vulnerable in finding the right thing to say. Marshall writes of Kahlo’s note:

“Important twentieth-century painters, as every student of art history learns, didn’t tend to sail smoothly through existence. Those even a little interested in famed Mexican self-portraitist Frida Kahlo have heard much about the travails both romantic and physical she endured in her short life. But in this lesser-known instance, another artist suffered, and Kahlo offered the solace.”

Click the image below to read the full letter–a symbol of a beautiful friendship between two women and two artists.



Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.