Stop Talking About Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer

Marissa MayerYou may have heard about Yahoo’s new CEO, Marissa Mayer, and how they hired her knowing she is pregnant… and that she’s planning to work through her maternity leave.  If you haven’t heard about it, I’m going to assume that your internet has been down until this very moment because everyone seems to be talking about it.  And I wish they would stop for two very specific reasons:

  1. People have been giving kudos to Yahoo for hiring a woman they knew was pregnant.  Why am I not high-fiving them?  Because it is the law, people!  Not that they have to hire her, but that they can’t use her pregnancy as a reason not to.  Yes, I realize there are jerks out there who will say “Oh, she wasn’t the right person… her pregnancy… I mean her resume…”  But Yahoo wanted her so they hired her.  I follow a lot of rules in a day and no one gives me kudos, so I’m not going to give into this “Yahoo is a hero” thing unless they are going to give into the “Michelle is a hero for not jaywalking” thing.
  2. I know that Marissa Mayer is planning to work through her maternity leave.  Yes, I saw it… about eleventy-bazillion times.  I’m a working mom and I took three months off after Sweet D was born, and I’m glad I did.  It was the best thing for me.  Does that mean Marissa Mayer should do the same thing?  I am so freaking tired of the media creating situations that pit parents against one another.  While there are aspects of my life that I wish everyone would adopt (namely my political views), I am not going to judge one mom for choosing to work through maternity leave just because that wasn’t ideal for me.  In exchange I ask that moms not judge me for going back to work after three months.

Marissa Mayer is a role model for moms for one reason: She’s doing what she wants to do and what’s best for her family.  She is working because she loves her work. She is having a baby because she wants a family.  She’s not a good or bad role model because of how long her maternity leave is or isn’t; and Yahoo isn’t a good or bad company because they chose to hire her.  I respect her for living her life as she wants to live it.  Is her decision helping or hurting women everywhere?  Maybe, but only by saying that there are a lot of ways to be a mom.

(Get ready… I’m going to go there…)

For those who are concerned about the example Marissa is setting for her child, perhaps consider what type of example you are setting as you show your kids that it is ok to judge other people.

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MichelleAmandaIngridKim Nascimento Recent comment authors

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I completely agree with both of your points, until we stop talking about women in power differently than we speak about men in power we will never level the playing field. Yahoo! has hired 5 CEOs in as many years and the media never dove into the male CEOs personal life in this manner. If women don’t stop judging other women how do we expect men and the media not too. Don’t make a comment about another until you walk a mile in their shoes and we all should expect the same in return.


The main thing that worries me is the message it sends. Yes you can do it all, IF you are willing to man up and be a man about it and work through a period of time where your body really should be healing. Kind of sends the message that women milk pregnancy, just so they can have an extended vacation. Which is just about what priviliged white males feel about women and their ‘ailments’, be it pregnancy, migraines or breastfeeding. To me it sends the message: sure be all you can be, but don’t you DARE to even be… Read more »

Kim Nascimento
Kim Nascimento

Your first point, that its the law and they can’t use her pregnancy as a reason not to hire her, is invalid. She did not simply apply for the job, and then get hired because the law said they have to. Yahoo recruited and poached her from Google; they CHOSE her because she is top talent, despite knowing that she will need time away from the helm in only three months time. They could have easily chosen someone else (man or woman), or waited to hire her until after her maternity leave, but they wanted her that badly. I think… Read more »