Months ago, when it first hit the Internet, I talked to enough readers of this blog about Penelope Trunk’s assertion that “Women Don’t Want to Do Startups. They Want Children.”, that I feel obligated to at least mention here that there’s now a sequel, somewhat more querulously titled: “Stop Telling Women To Do Startups.” I discovered this and report it not because I am a fan of Trunk’s: far from it. That first article exemplifies a kind of wrongheadedness that runs like a dark stain through all colors of non-hegemonic apologia. In this form of rhetoric, the author purports to champion the rights of some marginal class by saying, “I’m a member of the marginalized class and I like to do things that I’m told by other members of my class I shouldn’t want to do, and I’m going to champion my right to do these things, and that is REAL feminism/activism/advocacy/whatever.” Now, I recognize that I may be wrong. I’m not a woman, and I don’t understand fully all the choices that go into balancing the demands of being a woman in a man’s world, against other demands such as motherhood, family, and career, so I can’t say for 100% sure that Trunk is traveling a misguided path… but that’s exactly part of the problem and what makes this kind of inverse feminism so pernicious and difficult to root out. It exists, but you can’t ever really prove that any particular instance of it really is an instance of it. So, me, personally, in the end, I just chose to tune out Trunk as much as I could. If I couldn’t hear her opinions, I couldn’t be irritated by her, or irritated by the hornet’s nests she stirs up. Any time I saw her name somewhere, I decided, I would just click right the hell away from it.
I actually learned about this most recent article of hers, then, from a link to a different article that appeared today on YCombinator: “STFU About What Women Want”. I thought it was going to be an article about relationships. It wasn’t. It’s an article by a woman who likes to do startups, and she has had it with Trunk, and she has written a great article that hits every possible nail on the head with regards to what I think is wrong with the Trunk tack. Go read it, it’s great. Don’t bother with Trunk, not worth your time. If you want supplemental reading, I highly recommend the discussion to be found on the Hacker News discussion page, as it’s actually on a bit of a higher level than most of the comments on the blog article’s page itself. Enjoy.