Shannon Kelley

Shannon Kelley
Santa Barbara, California, USA
June 11
Shannon Kelley and her mother Barbara Kelley are both journalists, and have just written a book called "Undecided". Together. (...Right??) This blog is a taste of what you'll find in "Undecided", a book about choice overload, analysis paralysis, grass is greener syndrome, longing for the road not traveled, and how the success of the women’s movement has left women stumped in the face of limitless options — and how to get over it. The book comes out on May 3: if you like what you're reading here, get the book here: And subscribe to our blog here:


Shannon Kelley's Links

When 30 year-old Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke tried to testify in favor of health insurance-covered contraception at a Congressional hearing (and, after being blocked by Rep. Darrell Issa R-CA, then had to issue her extremely articulate testimony via YouTube), Rush Limbaugh had this to say i… Read full post »

MARCH 1, 2012 5:41PM

Go big or go home?

I ran into a tired old phrase over there on the other day:  “Opting out.”

Surely you’ve heard it.  It refers to women who take a career-track detour.  It’s a concept that won’t go away, implying that our choices are to go big or go home. That may be an… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 28, 2012 10:59AM

Stop Fucking Up Your Faces!

So, while I was playing armchair fashion police during Sunday’s Oscars, “Private Practice” actress Kate Walsh was tweeting. And into the umpteenth hour of statues and montages and Cirque de Soleil, she dropped this twitbomb:

…dear Hollywood actresses, stop fucking up your face

Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 23, 2012 1:43PM

Reclaiming the F-Word

You run into feminists in the unlikeliest of places.  To wit:  the newest pitch for the rebirth of the F-word comes from none other than Louise Court, the editor of Cosmo’s UK edition.  In an interview with The Guardian, Court talked about the magazine’s upcoming launch of a cam… Read full post »

Flying solo is in–in a serious way. A New York Times Q&A with Eric Kilnenberg, NYU sociology professor and author of the new book “Going Solo,” leads with the facts:

In 1950, 22 percent of American adults were single. Now that number is almost 50 percent. One in seven adults liv

Read full post »
FEBRUARY 9, 2012 4:22PM

Fear Mediocrity? Five Reasons Why

Is mediocrity the last taboo?

The question came to mind a while back when I spied a column by Thomas Friedman, who suggested that in our global economy where work gets done cheaper overseas and where, here at home, technology is eating jobs in a rapidly accelerating pace, only the strong … Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 2, 2012 6:45PM

Did Facebook Bring Down Susan G. Komen?

The interwebs – and the San Francisco Bay Area, which is quite literally Facebook territory – have been abuzz since news of the social networking site’s IPO broke Wednesday.   Within hours, anyone with a mic or a keyboard was thoroughly a-riff:  Would the projected $5 billion trigger a new h… Read full post »

JANUARY 31, 2012 12:20PM

What I Learned From Viola Davis

This is a fabulous time of year for me, as I have the distinct pleasure of covering the Santa Barbara International Film Festival tributes—and the VIP after parties—for the local paper. (Tough job, I know.) Friday night brought SAG Award Winner and Academy Award Nominee Viola Davis to town… Read full post »

JANUARY 24, 2012 6:11PM

Have it all? Yeah, right!

Once again, the “have it all” myth has reared it’s schizoid head.  This time, the poster-woman is Facebook’s second most famous face, COO Sheryl Sandberg, who graced the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Sandberg.  We all… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 19, 2012 3:54PM

Brag, Dammit!

As one more reminder why you see more suits than skirts in the corporate suites, there’s this:  women don’t exaggerate nearly enough.  According to a recent study out of Columbia University Business School, one reason why men are more likely to succeed in business is because they’… Read full post »

JANUARY 17, 2012 2:45PM

You Are Your Brand?

In the era of information overload, of Facebook, of “personal branding,” of Rachel Zoe–a woman famous for dressing other famous, ahem, grown women–how do we define ourselves? Have the little things come to mean too much? Have we sacrificed nuance in favor of a slick and… Read full post »

JANUARY 12, 2012 4:55PM

Do We Do It To Ourselves?

The other day, I heard from Hilary, a former student who forwarded a pdf of the Letters page in the January issue of Washingtonian Magazine.  The top letter, which called out the editors for choosing to feature a naked woman on the cover, was hers:

Your magazine is cutting edge, informative

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JANUARY 10, 2012 12:25PM

Hillary for Veep!

Did you catch Bill Keller’s piece in the New York Times yesterday? Called “Just the ticket,” it’s a pretty compelling case for replacing Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton for second-to-the-top job when this year’s presidential election rolls around. Now, we love Biden&#8217… Read full post »

JANUARY 5, 2012 1:30PM

Whose Family? Whose Values?

With the recent rise of Republican Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses, we’re sure to hear a couple of words again and again as the right-wing’s quest to rebuild America continues:

Family. Values.

I can’t help but cringe every time I hear that catchphrase.  Not because I dislike… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 3, 2012 12:32PM

No Apologies!

“I’m so sorry,” I said to my friend, over and over, every time I put anything into my mouth or even looked at any of the food I’d spent all day preparing for a small, impromptu New Years Eve gathering. She’s a vegetarian, you see, and I’d made somewhere in the… Read full post »

According to a new report out of Sweden, the answer may be no.

Sigh. Can’t you just hear the backlash? The ugly comparisons to the odious Miranda Priestly of “The Devil Wears Prada” fame?  The rousing chorus of “I told you so”?

Sorry, folks, but we don’t bu… Read full post »

That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Crisis is just opportunity in disguise. The universe/god/buddha doesn’t give us more than we can handle. It’s always darkest just before the dawn. Scar tissue is stronger. The cracks are where the light gets in.

Blah blah blah.

Here… Read full post »

DECEMBER 15, 2011 11:53AM

She’s Just Not THAT Into You

Face it, fellas. She’s hot. You’re not. Walk away. Right?

Nope. At least, that’s what an upcoming study in Psychological Science suggests.   In a study of 200 undergrads at University of Texas, lead author Carin Perilloux found that the least attractive men were the most likely to thin… Read full post »

With New Years within spitting distance, I got to thinking about resolutions, and why it is that so many of us have found so little success with them. And here’s what I’ve come up with: we are thinking too big.

I’m going to get in shape/become fluent in Mandarin/launch my business/g… Read full post »

DECEMBER 8, 2011 12:13PM

I Think Therefore I CAN!

Two new studies, just out this week, show that the brain is mightier than the baggage — especially when it comes to those stereotypes we women carry around in our backpacks.  It’s fantastic news for women, but before we dive in:

Parallel parking: Good at it?  And speaking of driv… Read full post »

DECEMBER 6, 2011 12:56PM

Why Every Issue Is a Women’s Issue

With Herman Cain’s candidacy on suspension and Occupy Wall Street protests being shut down (though not silenced), I got to thinking about some things. Things like inequality, male privilege, and the circumstances that allow them to continue–and which are the forces that tie such seemingly… Read full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2011 11:34AM

Censorship, iPhone Style

When I was back home for Thanksgiving, my younger sister, also in town, was showing off her brand-new iPhone 4S–all shiny new bells and whistles to my dented and cracked two year old model. And, lawdie!, the fun we had with Siri, the new iPhone’s virtual assistant.

“Siri,” we… Read full post »

You might say we’ve come a long way, Baby, when even a(n older) man recognizes that it’s most often women who make the career sacrifices.  This isn’t just any man we’re talking about here — but none other than Francis Ford Coppola who, I will be the first to admit, is… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 22, 2011 11:56AM

Women, Willpower, and Thanksgiving

Hey you! Yes, you–the one with all those balls in the air! Before you take another bite of pumpkin pie, read this.

A couple of new books–Willpower, by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, PhD and New York Times reporter John Tierney, and The Willpower Instinct by Stanford University psy… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 17, 2011 11:41AM

Burn Me Up, Burn Me Out?

The other day, I got a ping from a former student who sent a link to a recent piece she’d read over on  “Have you seen this?†she wrote.  “It reminds me of Undecided!â€

The topic? Burn-out.  Apparently, it’s rampant among high achieving millennial women. At least… Read full post »