We Are Far Too Indulgent of White Men and Their Plethora of Productivity Advice
"It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate."
― Amy Poehler
The other day someone male suggested that my work can’t be as valuable as theirs because I write on less popular topics while he is a guru on in-demand issues like money, success, and productivity. And I thought damn, how unfortunate for him and anyone else who believes that writing with vulnerability about sex, relationships, religion, parenting, and mental health are any less valuable than advice on how to check off your daily to-do list much faster.
And then it occurred to me that he might have been onto something after all.
Let's get real. The new year means a heightened interest in topics like productivity and lifehacks, but as a female writer, I'm aware of an alarming trend. Readers are obsessed with reading productivity advice... from white men.
Maybe it isn't even a conscious effort, in fact, I suspect it's quite unintentional. But somewhere along the way, we made it easy for certain men to excel in the world of writing by simply telling us how to get more work done.
You know what? I'd like to call bullshit on the whole damn thing because if you really want to know how to get shit done, you wouldn't be taking 99% of your productivity advice from privileged men.
In our current culture, men are notoriously not getting shit done. Oh, sorry, let me rephrase that. We expect damn little from our men. Even in 2019, women infamously carry the mental load for getting shit done.
So why aren't you seeking out your productivity advice the from badass women who are actually juggling it all?
Don't get me wrong--it's not that women writers aren't out there offering advice on how to get more done. We've just got a plethora of predominantly white dudes manspreading their advice all over the place, and readers are buying it because that's how our culture works.
I'm not suggesting you throw out advice that was written by a man just because it comes from a man, but I do urge you to consider why you trust their advice so innately. Do you trust their advice because they have 30K followers? Or do you trust them because they actually know what the hell they're talking about?
If you think you're reading this or that guy for their incredible lifehacks that have been written out of experience, why wouldn't you also seek out the advice of women who are vastly more often expected to juggle family, careers, and home management all at once?
We routinely ask if women can "have it all," all because nobody expects men to even try. Good dads don't have to balance their work life with their family life. We give them credit just for showing up anytime. Good moms are held accountable to an entirely different curve.
All day long, I run across stories written by men filled with lifehacks and quotes from other men. Story after story full of male wisdom and male quotes. And then I read stories from guys garnering incredible support just for wanting to enjoy shorter work hours to spend more time with their wife and kids. Good for them... yes. This is not to rain on their parade.
Except it's almost as if nobody's even heard of a working single mom. Or even a working (but not single) mom. We've been working our asses off without pats on the back. And we've been doing the shit that most men won't do.
It's not exactly fun to critique the culture we live in. Women who do so are called snowflakes, Debbie Downers, and Negative Nancies. And of course, angry women are to be tuned out as nags or bitches.
The problem is that this is our culture too. Not just for men, no matter how it's been tailored for them. A culture where it’s all too normal for men to take credit for a female co-worker's idea. Where men explain themselves and even our own ideas back to us because women still aren't on equal footing, not yet.
And so, anytime a woman sets out to make a living with her words, and get her voice out there, she's fighting an uphill battle just to be taken as seriously as her male peers.
Men only need swagger and charisma for people to pay attention. We help them build a brand of glibly dispensing life advice whether or not they're even qualified.
Women need proof of credentials and then some. Yes, we can gain traction and get followers too. But it's much more of a fight if we're trying to break into a space normally occupied by men.
Some people dispute this, and vehemently believe that there are simply far fewer gifted female writers in the topics of productivity and lifehacks. Maybe... or maybe there's an inherent bias against the idea that women could have anything worthwhile to say in areas of business, productivity, leadership, success, or money.
Frankly, it's gotten so bad, that I don't even want to read another advice article from another white guy unless he's got the kahunas to get a woman's input as well. Because our world is full of women who get shit done when men won't. When men don't want to do it, or simply don't know how, women routinely do undervalued work. And it keeps the world turning.
To be honest? As a working single mom, I don't need advice from a man about how to get more done. I'm already getting it done. I'm already giving my daughter my all and showing her how to be independent and stand on her own two feet. How many more white men do I really need taking prime real estate in my head and encroaching on my thoughts to tell me how to operate in the world when they will never stand--let alone walk--in my shoes?
Look. If you really think you get something valuable by pouring yourself over these articles about how to use your time wisely by men who already have an inherent upper hand... the more power to you.
But I am done.
I only have so much time in every day to give away, and I'm not going to give it away to privileged white men who seem to think they have all of the answers when I could be supporting more women, and more minority writers. People whose voices have been marginalized enough.
“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
― Brené Brown
Maybe you're with me, or maybe you think I'm just a crazy SJW, but it doesn't even matter. I write to help empower more people who once thought they had no say. I know my purpose in writing what I do. And I have no time for your lifehacks, boys.
I've got shit to do.