Pando

“I was too much of a girl to fight it”: Media legend Susan Lyne on… everything

By Sarah Lacy , written on August 30, 2017

From The Gender Wars Desk

Given how much Susan Lyne has crammed into a 30 year career intersecting with everyone from Patty Hearst to Shonda Rhimes to Martha Stewart to Rupert Murdoch to Michael Eisner, doing a 45 minute podcast covering her career and journey as a mom was pretty much impossible.

But I gave it a shot.

In this episode of “A Uterus Is a Feature Not a Bug”, we talk about women’s depictions in media throughout Lyne’s career-- from Jane Fonda, to Martha Stewart to greenlighting empowering shows like Grey’s Anatomy to … less empowering ones like the Bachelor. Even Lyne admits of the hit that’s still on 15 years later, it made her cringe a little too.

And on the topic of reality TV…. I finally get to ask an executive who was at a major network greenlighting the biggest reality hits about the whole Donald Trump thing. Back when reality TV started, people feared it would make our country dumber… Did those naysayers have a point?

We talk about those board meetings at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, where they discussed the importance of Stewart going to jail to get the scandal behind her, whether it was fair or not.

We discuss Lyne’s time at the Village Voice in the late 1970s, her early days as a radical feminist, decades before she had the capital and market clout to really help women. Today, she runs BBG, a venture firm, focused on funding female founders. She says she heard over and over again that women in New York just couldn’t get funded. We talk about how much of that is mere unconscious bias… and how much is something more direct and insidious.

And -- of course-- we talk about her journey as a mother. She’s a stepmother of two girls and a mother of two more girls, one of which is expecting her first granddaughter in a matter of weeks. Like so many women, Lyne feared children would take her off of her ascendant career track. Her career only accelerated after becoming a mother.

At the end of every podcast, I ask women what “super mom” thing they do and what “super mom” thing they’d never do. You’ll want to hear what the woman who once ran Martha Stewart’s empire said to that.