Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Leave Marissa Mayer alone (said in a Chris Crocker voice)

So the world is all atwitter about the new Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer (who's name sounds more like that of a Victoria's Secret model's and not of an ex-Google engineer). It's beyond impressive that a woman will be heading such a huge company. . .even if that company hasn't had the best track record in the last few years, and that fact that she's only 37? Well, not only is that even more outstanding, but it also makes me feel wildly unsuccessful, though I can't hate since I jumped the corporate bandwagon by choice and will never -- mark my words -- go back. So major props to her for sticking with it.

But the biggest news isn't that Marissa is Yahoo's new CEO. Nope, it's that she's (gasp!) six months pregnant(!!). Um, what decade is it again?  Obviously this woman is more than capable of running with the big dogs of business, so why are her talents and capabilities suddenly called into question just because she's got a bun in the oven? Oh I forgot, because people are still saying women can't have it all. Now I know not every woman is cut out for high-stress, high-powered work (I'm looking at yours truly here), but some are, some even choose it and work hard for it, and I think Marissa has proven she can do it all. Yes, this is her first baby, but her career has obviously been a top priority in her life till now -- and if she accepted said job at this point in her life knowing she's going to be con baby in about three months, why should the media/analysts/we question if she's up to task? She's already stated that she won't be taking maternity leave.

Also, let's define "having it all" while we're at it. "All" doesn't necessarily mean a full-time job, kids, a husband and a white picket fence, does it? To one girl I know, her definition of "all" is working from home and spending time with her kids. This makes her very happy, and she used to be a pretty high-profile, in-the-newsroom reporter. To another girl I know, it's a life with no kids and a high-ranking title at work. "Having it all" is such an ambiguous way to put things since there is no one thing that makes the female masses happy. So maybe we need to stop defining women as whether they "have it all" or not. Maybe we should be asking whether today's women are happy, and why or why not. Happiness seems a better indicator than having it all.

Plus, let's not pretend that Marissa Mayer is not going to have the luxury of 24-hour private, in-office daycare, all-day access seeing her baby (if she feels like it) and the ability to take it (and her husband, if he's lucky) anywhere in the world she needs to be for a business meeting, along with her private 24-hour live-in nanny, if her baby needs one. So let's stop comparing Marissa Mayer to any other average career woman in this country. She is not the norm. The girl has choices, and with those choices come great flexibility when it comes to building her family and her career. She's earned it.

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