Women’s words matter.
But can be too easily discounted in every culture across the globe, especially in popular culture. Take the popular meme “That’s what she said.” The phrase is a double entendre that has sexual undertones. Its American origin goes back as far as 1929 in a test reel for an Alfred Hitchcock movie; made popular by the 1992 comedy Wayne’s World and the television sitcom The Office, it was formally defined in 2003. At least four “That’s What She Said (TWSS)” apps are listed in the Apple App store. Here’s the description from one such app: “Turn any discussion into a funny and often obscene joke!” Women’s words are too important to be relegated to the sophomoric stereotypes of crude and rude.
Women’s words are no laughing matter. Women have important things to say about crucial topics. Yet we know that popular culture informs and shapes attitudes about so much of life, including women’s lives. Popular culture perpetuates stereotypes about women and these stereotypes creep into our places of work and worship, as well as our homes and communities. It is important that women re-appropriate and redirect our words, so that what “she” says is not used to signify sexual or obscene content but instead advances the causes of women, our communities, our families, and our world.
When “she” speaks, we want her words to be taken seriously, for the sake of our daughters and our sons, and our colleagues and managers—both male and female. We want our businesses and community institutions to value the words of women.
[tweetthis]When “she” speaks, we want her words to be taken seriously, for the sake of our daughters and our sons…[/tweetthis]
This book is composed of the courageous, sometimes countercultural words of women on the topic of leadership and leading. Let’s face it, for eons, men have been considered the sages on leadership. Though women leadership scholars and practitioners have increased in the past two decades, the implicit associations of leadership are still predominantly male.
This book, That’s What She Said! 366 Leadership Quotes by Women, adds women’s voices to the leadership narrative and aims, with our words, to dispel a stereotype about women and leadership. Women are taking charge of our representations, the memes and themes about us, and using our own words to share our wisdom. This book intentionally appropriates an Internet meme that many of us see as demeaning to women and reinvigorates it for the purposes of celebrating, affirming, and advancing women’s leadership.
[tweetthis]This book, That’s What She Said! 366 Leadership Quotes by Women, adds women’s voices to the leadership narrative. [/tweetthis]
This book uses the meme much the same way that Oprah Winfrey used it when speaking with then First Lady Michelle Obama in Obama’s last televised interview from the White House. Both were seated comfortably in front of the camera as if two girlfriends conversing about their lives. Oprah started with a series of questions about how Mrs. Obama handled the challenges she faced in the two terms her husband served as president of the United States. In many ways, race was a subtext to those challenges; they both knew it; however, Mrs. Obama was too gracious to name it explicitly. So Oprah read a lengthy excerpt of a New York Times piece written in tribute to Mrs. Obama by award-winning Nigerian novelist and feminist apologist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,:
“Because she said what she thought and because she smiled only when she felt like smiling, and not constantly and vacuously, America’s cheapest caricature was cast on her, the angry black woman.”
Mrs. Obama let out a sound, part hmm and part ha ha. It was not laughter but the sound that emits from a woman’s soul when her womanhood has been defended. In Mrs. Obama’s case, the sound was in response to the truth about the assault on her as a black woman.
To Mrs. Obama’s nonverbal acknowledgement of a truth, Oprah, with just enough sassiness in her tone, and her face fixed as if to dare anyone to challenge that statement, replied, “mmm hmmm, that’s what she said!” To which Mrs. Obama confidently replied, “She said it well, too!”
It is in that spirit that this book of quotes is offered. When the formal narrative about leadership is still male dominated, women across the world have important things to say about leadership that speak of a general understanding of leadership as well as women’s distinct perspective on leading.
[tweetthis]When the formal narrative on leadership is still male dominated, women have important things to say about leadership.[/tweetthis]
My team and I have gathered this collection of quotes from women that represent a diverse array of experiences: from women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to women who are ecclesiastical leaders in various faith traditions. We’ve included academics, entertainers, athletes, educators, writers; women from various countries, ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds; young women and more experienced women; famous and not so famous women; and infamous women. All have something to say about women’s leadership!
That’s What She Said! is a celebration and affirmation of women’s words on leadership. We dare speak our own truth about power, confidence, communication, purposefulness, collaboration, and support because our words do matter.
[tweetthis]That’s What She Said! 366 Leadership Quotes by Women is a celebration and affirmation of women’s words on leadership.[/tweetthis]
In this book we give you the following
- An introductory chapter and intro to each section
- 366 quotes—one for every day, including Leap Year.
- A short bio on each woman we’ve quoted– because not only do our words matter, but we also matter as women.
- A reference list for the quotes–a great tool for sharing resources by and about women leaders.
The book will be available on May 1, however you can download a chapter preview by visiting That’sWhatShe SaidQuoteBook.com.
[tweetthis]Download the first chapter of quotes from my upcoming book NOW at www.ThatsWhatSheSaidQuoteBook.com. [/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]We women dare speak our own truth about power, confidence, communication, purposefulness, collaboration, and support.[/tweetthis]
Excerpt from the introduction to That’s What She Said! 366 Leadership Quotes by Women.
© 2017 Dr. Jeanne Porter King