Today’s guest post is by Megan Cassidy of MegCassidy.com! She is one of the many lovely bloggers I met while attending the ultimate unconference that was (*tear*) Bloggers in Sin City. Her post covers Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, who recently was photographed for an article in Vogue. Thanks Megan for sharing your thoughts aiming to inspire women to eliminate negativity and instead spin it, dip it and flip it to the positive side! It’s time as women, we support each other!
When I was growing up, I had a thing for Tom Brady and magazines (the thing for Tom Brady still very much exists). If he was on a magazine cover – whether it was GQ, Interview, Esquire, ESPN – me, the 15- or 16-year old, bought it and devoured it, strange looks from store cashiers be damned. I loved reading about my hero, but even more, I appreciated the photos. And not just because he looks like he does. He is impeccably styled to fit the setting he’s in…chilling in overalls with goats, in a t-shirt eating cereal, being a boss in a suit. He is a “man of style,” and he’s almost universally celebrated for it.
Then we have Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, who is profiled and photographed in the latest issue of Vogue. The profile chronicles Mayer’s transition of being a new mother, while navigating being a first-time CEO. If you’ve read about Mayer before, none of it is really surprising. She’s a well-educated, whip smart, driven woman who has earned her success over 14 years of work. She’s also been controversial, taking only two weeks off after the birth of her son, and disallowing Yahoo’s work-from-home policy.
Once again, some are up in arms over the profile and the photo. My initial reaction was frustration, at how some women continue to judge other women for one reason or another. Here is one of the most successful people in the world, looking her best, and people are angry about it? Did I miss something?
I did, actually. It might simple be for men (Tom Brady, for example), but for women it is so, so different. After getting some really thoughtful tweets and reactions from friends of mine, I started to see the bigger issues.
The idea that being beautiful and being smart are mutually exclusive is infuriating. The concept of “having it all” is not only infuriating, but running women ragged in pursuit of “it all.” The headline of this CNN story makes me want to kick myself in the face.
While I can understand some frustration and anger directed towards Mayer, from where I work and how I live, she is something to aspire to. I work at a place where the majority of employees are men. Fortunately, there’s an atmosphere of respect and professionalism with almost everyone I work with. The women I work with, especially the well-dressed ones, naturally stand out. That doesn’t change the fact that most successful women are smart, don’t take shit from anyone, command respect and have earned everything that’s come to them. They each have their own sense of style and self.
I think what has me baffled by the whole thing, and the larger issue, is that it’s a story at all. Why must it continue to be a big deal when a successful woman is celebrated with beautiful photos? It’s easy to blame the media for portraying women as it does, and that’s a problem. Media has a huge influence on how we view the world and its constructs. But instead of blaming the media, what if more women viewed Mayer’s success and style in a positive light, and someone who inspires them?
However you choose to view this, in a positive or negative light, remember it’s a choice and it’s yours alone. I guess it comes back to my original thought when I saw the photo and read the piece…maybe it’s because I can relate to working in a male-dominated field, maybe it’s just because I think Mayer is gorgeous, accomplished and I choose to admire her for it. That’s my choice.
What did you think about the profile and photo? If you’re not a fan, how would you rather have seen her look?
Megan Cassidy works at ESPN, loves having adventures in Connecticut, watches obscene amounts of football and Giada de Laurentis, and runs mostly on iced coffee and blueberries. She blogs about sports and other fabulous things at megcassidy.com. She tweets about sports and other fabulous things here.