I’ll start off by saying that I’m pretty irritated that I’m even writing this post. I never intended to throw my hat into the ring on Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. But after I read a piece on CNN about her recent Vogue interview and photo shoot, I became too aggravated to leave it alone.
Many are criticizing Mayer for taking a “provocative” picture, (um, check out them sexy ankles?) for the Vogue spread. It seems as though women are angry with her because it was an inappropriate picture to take as a smart, powerful, female CEO. Plenty of stories have also been written about her only taking two weeks of maternity leave and no longer allowing telecommuting.
The thing that aggravates me is that none, NONE of this would be at the forefront of national news if she weren’t a woman. As to the picture in Vogue, she is perfectly entitled to let the photographer take a picture which highlights her femininity and the fact that she’s *GASP* pretty. I’m not sure why there is an insistence that if a woman is smart and powerful, she must also check her femaleness at the door.
With regard to her maternity leave…..WHY DO YOU FREAKIN’ CARE?!?!?!? (I guess the mommy wars extend on up the corporate ladder.) This is her family, her job, and her choice. (Also, pretty sure she didn’t leave her child alone in front of the tv to watch porn with a bottle full of bourbon.) Why not focus on the US’s abysmal family leave laws instead? The focus should be on the fact that many women don’t get any sort of choice when it comes to how much maternity leave they take. And paternity leave? Pthttttt! Why not talk about the inherent sexism in most company’s allowances for the fathers. My husband received two whole days! Any other time he took was vacation days.
As to Ms. Mayer’s decision to end telecommuting, I am in no position to judge the rightness or wrongness of that decision. I am not at the helm of a floundering technology company. I don’t know the specific and behind the scenes challenges Yahoo is facing, and am in no way qualified to comment on them. What I do know is that much of the indignation about the decision seems to stem from the fact that she’s a woman. She just had a baby! She should get it! This is nothing more than the opposite side of the “thinking with your uterus” coin. In this case, she’s catching crap for NOT making a decision with her uterus.
Rather than spending all our energy on what Ms. Mayer is doing, why not focus on something that matters? Perhaps:
– Girls in Afghanistan who have to worry for their lives because they want to go to school or have the gall to speak their minds
– The rampant rapes and murders of women in Sudan and the Congo
– The virtually unchecked rape and murder of women and little girls in India
– The problem of femicide in Italy and Latin America
– The fact that women are prevented from being in positions of authority in many evangelical churches
– The fact that equal pay and work conditions in the US is still something we’re fighting for
– Calling women like Sandra Fluke a slut and a whore because she testified before Congress on behalf of a friend’s medical need for contraception, (or the choice to use it for any reason)
– And while we’re on Congress, the fact that there are people who write laws which control women’s bodies and their medical decisions and also use terms like “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape”
– That the first questions people still ask when they hear a woman was raped are: How drunk was she? What was she wearing? Did she really say no?
Women have had to fight for our right to vote. Women have had to fight for the right to control our own bodies and make private medical decisions. Women have had to fight for workplace equality. With all these real fights going on, I would hope that we’d be too tired to worry about something like a picture in Vogue.