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[OPINION]: Stop Criticizing Marissa Mayer for Being in Vogue

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The new record-breaking 916 page September issue of Vogue includes an interview with Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, complete with a gorgeous high-fashion portrait featuring her lying upside down on a chaise in a beautiful blue Michael Kors dress (pictured above). Of course, critics are saying that this glamorization of Mayer makes her an unrealistic idol for women in tech, while Quartz found it wrong for the CEO of a troubled company to be getting adored by a magazine. My response to the Vogue spread? Good for her.

This constant criticizing of women who are business leaders for showing their feminine side needs to stop. A woman is not less smart or capable if she is interested in clothes and shoes. Beauty and intelligence are not exclusive. “You can be good at technology and love fashion and art. You can be good at technology and be sporty. You can be good at technology and being a mom,” Marissa Mayer said once. “You can wear ruffles!”

Some said the photo portrayed her negatively because she looked like she was just lounging around. Wasn’t this was the woman who went back to work less than two weeks after giving birth to her child? “One night I looked up and was like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s midnight and I have a husband and I’m, like, eight months pregnant. I need to leave!’ I was just here working, having the best possible time,” she told the magazine.

And though this was Vogue magazine, the article was very much about her work habits and thoughts on technology. The author spent hours shadowing her at work and with her friends and family.

Kristen Salyer of Bloomberg Businessweek said the real problem is that Vogue (this is their second time profiling her) and other publications have decided that she is the only woman in technology worth writing about and part of it is because of her glamorous side and good looks. But Salyer feels that though Mayer is admirable, she may not be the best role model for all women in tech because she is a rarity. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with highlighting a very successful woman’s achievements. “Marissa Mayer’s success, particularly in the male-dominated world of tech, is fascinating to women,” a Vogue representative told CNBC in an email. “She has been a target of such scrutiny for her work/life choices and is being watched so closely at Yahoo that she was an obvious choice for us to learn more about and understand the woman behind the public persona.”And if she wants to wear a pretty dress while doing it, why not?

 

Do you think Marissa Mayer shouldn’t be in fashion magazines? Tell us in the comments!

Ask Levo mentor Amy Levin about her personal style!

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Topics

fashion marissa mayer professional attire vogue women in tech

4 Comments

Why are women always but into a box? Marisa was criticized for her journey into motherhood and now this. It is sad that women are constantly scrutinized and forced to choose between being taken seriously and embracing femininity.

2y

I can't even believe this is a conversation. I'm with you Meredith, 100% - good for her!

3y
Nina Sidney

Hear, hear! Plus, I believe that if more women were featured for being smart, stylish and successful more young women would want to seek out those types of professions. Why would you want to work in technology when the stereotype is lots of geeky men in ill fitting suits? On the other hand, seeing highly powerful , sleekly stylish women may encourage making it a part of your long term goals.

3y

I agree that Mayer is both smart and fashionable. Women are stereotyped as being one or the other, but hardly ever are they allowed to be both. This attitude needs to change, and I hope Mayer will spearhead the era of a high-powered woman who has the audacity to grace the pages of Vogue (whose editor in chief is a smart and fashion-forward woman herself.)

3y
Meredith Lepore

Meredith is the Editor at Large for Levo League. Before that she was the Editor in Chief of The Grindstone and was on staff at Business Insider. She has written for magazines including Marie Claire, SELF, Women's Health and Cosmopolitan. She earned her Masters in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time and enjoys SoulCycle, jogging and playing with her Yorkshire Terrier Otis, who also loves SoulCycle.