|This book is the Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead for the Silicon Valley non-tech set. Which is to say, it is peak all the feminisms that we have tried to be better about since Ms. Sandberg’s book, aka White Feminism x High Paying Job Feminism x One of the Boys Feminism etc etc.
That being said…I am, in my default, unexamined state, very much a White, High Paying Job, One of the Boys feminist. It takes constant work for me to plant intersectionality at the center of my feminism, and it’s only in recent years that doing so has become second nature (a term I love because to me it signifies that there is a first nature, and the best you can do is fix the second).
So while I read Lean In completely unironically and absorbed its messages without any idea of its exclusivity, reading Uncanny Valley checked all the boxes that I had plus new ones as well. Not only do I recognize a lot of the issues that Wiener faces, but I also could see her acknowledgement of her privilege and feel extra smug because had she not called it out I would have thought of it! All the gold stars for me!
Joking aside, I found this book much more engaging than I thought I would, in a glorious schadenfreude omg you too? sort of way. It’s fascinating to hear someone vocalize so many of the thoughts that have always been said sotto voce, from knowing the right thing to do and plaintively doing Not That:
or acknowledging the hilarity of the capitalist system and doubling down in its dregs:
At the end of the day, does Wiener have the right to critique what she did and who she became and what SF is? Of course! Does she have to speak for all people? No, and I don’t know that she would do a good job if she had tried! Did she write a book that made me feel intolerably complacent? You betcha! Time to exorcise some of my liberal guilt by reading books that seek to expand my tiny, ever-so-slightly-now reinforced bubble!