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Leaning In, Being a Strong Woman, and Drunk Tank Pink

Karren Brady BookCover

According to Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave by Adam Alter, pink anaesthetises the senses. That’s the only interesting fact I really extracted from it. Why do certain federal prisons paint their walls pink? And that’s the answer. Apparently pink is numbing. Violent criminals are stupefied by pink.

Adam AlterIs that why little girls are dressed in swathes of pink, and “girl toys” carded exclusively in the colour? Are we aiming to stupefy girls, or are girls supposed to be stupefying?

That would be great, if that cute little tutu was a secret weapon, sneakily emitting a dazing mist that mysteriously persuades everyone around her to do her will. The pretty child at the centre of the frills smiles gracefully, with a little spark of evil, as her distraction action conveys her into her seat at the top.

But wait, how fortutitous! That’s exactly what Sheryl Sandberg is suggesting we do.  She’s chief operating officer of Facebook, so let’s listen and learn.  Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead tells us that Sandberg asked for “Most Likely To Succeed” to be taken off her yearbook as she didn’t want to ruin her chances of a prom date. She’s right. How horrid, how unsexy, a woman who openly wants to succeed. Isn’t it a bit unladylike to be even writing a book about it? Sandberg’s advice is that “A woman needs to combine niceness with insistence,” – the “Lean In” of the title – not to push, but to keep leaning until you get your way.

Sheryl Sandberg BookWell, ok. Moving on to another successful woman. Karren Brady, Vice Chairman of West Ham football club and, er, aide to Alan Sugar when he’s on telly, has also published a book. Strong Woman: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels explains that Karren began her glittering career by “persuad(ing) David Sullivan to buy Birmingham City football club” She persuaded a man, she didn’t buy it herself, she didn’t go into an equal partnership with someone, she didn’t even “advise” the bloke to do it then run off with all the profits. She “persuaded” him. And who is David Sullivan?  According to Wiki: “a highly successful and well known businessman, philanthropist and pornographer”.

Aha. My new “How To Be A Successful Woman” list, (written, naturally, with  the Bic “For Her” pen – a new biro that comes in either pink and mauve, uniquely thinner-than-usual to fit a woman’s hand, and flaunting  ”a diamond engraved barrel for an elegant and unique feminine style”) now reads:

“1. Persuade Porn Baron to buy you something.

2. Do it nicely!”

What else? I’m stuck. But I really do want 21st century success as a woman. Ladies, advise my rise! Karren: “Wear nice shoes!” Sheryl: “Smile!” Both: “Regress for success!” I’d respond except I’m busy shopping to replace the bra my mother burned on my behalf. Pink would be nice, don’t you think?

Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave by Adam Alter (Released 21st Mar)

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg (Released 11 April)

Strong Woman: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels – Karen Brady (Released 11 April)

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