We took note of New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss' breaking ranks and criticizing the "chilling ideas and associations" of several leaders of the Women's March leaders, most notably Sharia law advocate Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, who once said, "When you throw a brick into a pile of hogs, the one that hollers is the one you hit." Weiss' article was headlined "When Progressives Embrace Hate."'
Vanity Fair magazine apparently has no qualms about Sarsour and Mallory, who are lionized in a glam group portrait in the new issue of the magazine. Also in the portrait are Carmen Perez, who has expressed admiration for a Black Panther convicted of trying to kill six police officers, and Bob Bland, the fashion designer who created the "Nasty Woman" T-shirts. Bland seems like an innocent in this gallery!
The portrait was part of the Vanity Fair's Founders Fair, launched in April, which brought together "entrepreneurial women, their business partners, and their supporters to share tales of the rewards and challenges of starting a company–or, in the case of the national co-chairs of the Women's March, a movement." We applaud the magazine for getting together women entrepreneurs, even as we question promoting Sarsour and Mallory.
Also featured in the spread are female entrepreneurs Reese Witherspoon and venture capitalist Kirsten Green, an investor in Witherspoon's company, Ssaheer Zamata, who used a "scrappy Web series" to launch her career, fashion designer Tory Burch, and Jodi Gernon, of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. There are three more pages of portraits of successful women. Former senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican from New Hampshire, is included.
Vanity Fair did not highlight some of the–er–most interesting aspects of the careers and viewpoints of the Women's March leaders.
For example, the magazine failed to mention that Ms. Sarsour, in addition to supporting Sharia law, is an admirer of Assata Shakur. Sarsour used the Women's March twitter feed to issue birthday greetings to "the revolutionary#Assata Shakur." Assata Shakur was formerly known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted cop killer and long-time denizen of the F.B.I.'s Most Wanted List. She escaped to Cuba, where she lives in exile, courtesy of the darling Castro brothers. If you'd like to know more, read Bari Weiss' article.
Although we commend the magazine for celebrating women entrepreneurs, we wish the editors had laid off the unhelpful glass ceiling cliche:
While there's ample evidence that there are still ceilings for professional women to shatter (Exhibit A: the White House), female entrepreneurs are having a moment.
This was plain to witness at the first Vanity Fair Founders Fair, at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, in April, where risk-takers, business leaders, and investors shared stories of having ignored naysayers and turning bright ideas into businesses.
. . .
Reese Witherspoon–a producer, Oscar-winning actress, and founder of lifestyle brand Draper Jones–revealed how she still isn't taken as seriously as her male counterparts.
"A guy has one hit at Sundance and he gets Jurassic Park," she said. "A woman has a hit at Sundance and it takes her like six more movies to get a big movie. "
Indeed, grit was the theme of the event.
Julie Deane, founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, described how she started her business by calling a shopkeeper every 35 minutes for almost two days until he revealed the name of a key supplier.
Grit is always worth celebrating–and it's the virtue that often lacking.
So kudos to VF on grit!
The flaw with the copy accompanying the photo spread is that even as it celebrates women entrepreneurs, it has to portray them as having the decks stacked against them.
It hampers young women when they are constantly told that this is the case, especially now when there are unprecedented opportunities.
All entrepreneurs, by the way, male and female, face naysayers. That's part of being an entrepreneur.