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
NOVEMBER 15, 2011 1:24PM

I’m Not Mad!

“I’m not mad!”

…but maybe I should be. Gloria Steinem thinks so.

In a recent interview with the Observer, Steinem is quoted as saying:

I think we need to get much angrier about childcare, about flexible working patterns. It’s alarming to me that women are still encourage

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NOVEMBER 8, 2011 12:56PM

Is Sleep A Feminist Issue?

Well, it certainly seems like it. According to Pamela Paul’s piece in Sunday’s New York Times,

Mother’s little helper of the new millennium may in fact be the sleeping pill – a prescription not likely to inspire a jaunty pop song anytime soon. Nearly 3 in 10 American wo

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NOVEMBER 3, 2011 11:02AM

Oh Wow: The Meaning of Life

Of all the words that have been spoken or written (ours included) about Steve Jobs in the past few weeks, the wisest and most meaningful may have come from the eulogy delivered by his sister, novelist Mona Simpson, who recently shared it with the New York Times.

By now, you have… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 1, 2011 12:33PM

The Marriage and Motherhood Myths

On a recent trip to D. C., I was out to dinner with some long-lost family friends and their very accomplished, 20-something daughter who’d just moved to the city after earning her Masters of Public Administration and subsequently landing a seriously fat job working for the government, something… Read full post »

Out here in Silicon Valley, you can’t cross the street without bumping into an engineer.  And what you find is that three our of four of them are men.  As Shankar Vedantam once reported in Slate:

The gender distribution of engineers at top Silicon Valley companies is similar to the gender

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Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 20, 2011 11:22AM

You’ll Never Work In this Town Again!

Surely you’ve heard about that million dollar lawsuit against Amazon filed by an anonymous actress who claims that Internet Movie Database (which is owned by Amazon) damaged her ability to get work because it published her age.  According to the Daily Dot, the lawsuit claimed:

“If one is per

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OCTOBER 18, 2011 12:10PM

So, What Do You Do?

A perfectly reasonable question, right? It’s social shorthand for “who are you?” a convenient fall-back in the face of awkward silence or prolonged mingling; polite, simple, safe chit-chat. Um, right?

Well, consider: A couple of years ago, I reconnected with an old friend who’… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 13, 2011 11:16AM

What’s In A Word?

More than you might think.

Especially for us women, who are often sabotaged by words in ways most of us don’t even recognize.  Language, says Santa Clara University professor Laura Ellingson, an expert on gendered communication, can shape our thoughts and perceptions, uphold double standards,… Read full post »

OCTOBER 11, 2011 12:35PM

Self, How Did I Get Here?

 Last week during all the memorializing of Apple founder/college dropout/cultural visionary Steve Jobs, I found myself watching the commencement speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005 — and, in all that wisdom, one line in particular gave me the chills: Don’t Live Someone E… Read full post »

OCTOBER 6, 2011 11:22AM

Why We Are All Fashion Victims

In the ever-escalating fetishization of the female form, I was left scratching my head once again when I opened the latest issue of Newsweek to find a quick take on Paris Fashion Week. The story focused on the untimely collapse of a few high-rent benches at the Balenciaga show. News, right?… Read full post »

What’s the Occupy Wall Street movement–an ongoing, multi-city protest against corporate greed, cronyism and inequity–got to do with gender politics, you ask? I say: everything.

The movement’s rallying cry is this: We are the 99%. As in, 1% of the population holds the bulk of t… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 11:48AM

Blessed Be the Risk-Takers

And so a self-assured, kick-ass student we’ll call Jena followed me up to my office after the first day of class last week.  We made some idle chit-chat for a minute or two and then she got down to it:  She wasn’t sure she was going to stick it out.  Why? … Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 11:51AM

Diaper Parties? Bring on the Beer Bong

Let me begin by telling you about the best baby shower I never went to. It was in honor of the daughter of a good friend who lived far, far away from most of us who knew her well. But she and her husband were, like all new parents, still in… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 11:02AM

Fail Thee Well

What if the surest indicator of your future success–of living a happy, meaningful, and productive life–is how good you are at failing?

Brace yourselves, perfectionists, because the evidence is mounting: in order to fly, you’ve first got to fail. And (worse!) how well you fail may be… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 12:26PM

Poor Women and the End of Men?

Remember Hanna Rosin?  She’s the author of last year’s controversial “End of Men” cover story in The Atlantic that suggested that because women do better in school, earn over half the college degrees, and are soaring into the professions, a matriarchy is precious minutes away.

We… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 13, 2011 12:34PM

On Getting Real

Be authentic. What does that even mean, anyway? Not a whole hell of a lot, according to Stephanie Rosenbloom in this Sunday’s New York Times. The word, she says, has been watered down to the point of meaninglessness, like so many white wine spritzers. Everyone from Anderson Cooper to Sarah Ferg… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 11:37AM

“Too Pretty To Do Homework?”

I almost choked on my Cheerios Wednesday morning when I read about an incomprehensibly sexist tee-shirt that JCPenney had attempted to market to tweener girls. The shirt not-s0-subtly trumpeted the retro stereotype that girls can be smart or they can be pretty.  But never both. Its slogan, emblazone… Read full post »

Ahead of September’s “I Don’t Know How She Does It”–a movie based on Allison Pearson’s best-selling novel about the realities of life as a working mother, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker as the harried “She” in question–this Sunday’… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 25, 2011 12:00PM

The Privilege That Dares Not Speak Its Name?

When the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn was dismissed on Tuesday, it occurred to me that what we had in front of us was a good metaphor for one of the tawdry underbellies of American life.

Call it the power of privilege — the unacknowledged advantages that permeate so many… Read full post »

AUGUST 23, 2011 10:55AM

Are Supermoms Super Depressed?

This just in, ladies: Balancing a job and a family is hard! And, a recent study out of the University of Washington shows, the less difficult you expect it to be, the more likely you are to be depressed  when the rubber meets the road–when your expectations smack up against reality.… Read full post »

AUGUST 18, 2011 11:48AM

Still Haunted by the Mean Girls?

So I came across a post over at BNET the other day that suggests that our high school selves sometimes come back to kick us in the pocketbook when it comes to our careers.   According to business writer Jeff Haden, our professional lives are “like high school with money.†But what… Read full post »

AUGUST 16, 2011 11:09AM

Is Wanting to Look Good Anti-Feminist?

If a feminist worries over her worry lines, frets over getting fat, or lusts after lipstick… but there’s no one around to witness it, can she still call herself a feminist?

They’re questions we all ponder at one time or another, I suppose. Is buying Spanx buying into an oppressive i… Read full post »

A new study by University of Buffalo sociologists suggests the answer is yes, indeed. This may be well-tread territory, but we think we need to go there anyway.  One reason is what we call the “tyranny of the shoulds.”

The study, entitled “Equal Opportunity Objectification? The SexRead full post »

Fast in the wake of the success of “Mad Men”, TV’s retro series on the advertising industry circa 1965, come two new period series for the fall season:  “The Playboy Club” on NBC and “Pan Am” on ABC.

What these two new series have in common is the insistence… Read full post »