Walk a Mile in Marissa Mayer’s Shoes?
Walk a Mile in My Shoes (Part 1)
Marissa Mayer, named CEO of Yahoo in July of 2012, it appeared, was universally met with excitement from women of all walks of life. It is an impressive achievement and even more impressive still, and one many of us can relate to, she did it in a male dominated industry. According to an article in Vanity Fair, December 2013, she never felt the effects of working in a male dominated world*. (I personally had a different experience in that area and ended up with a spinal cord injury for hitting my head on the glass ceiling.)
There are still some seriously fucked up injustices among the sexes, and races further still, in the business world. Women And Equal Pay: Wage Gap Still Intact, Study Shows from Huffington Post April 9, 2013:
Women in the United States make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes and the gap is even worse for African-American and Latina women-what year is this again?
So, that should end the debate. Sexism and racism are alive, well, and thriving from men who get paid to write about it. Enter, this excerpt Forbes, October 2011: Why Most Women Will Never Become CEO by male elitist/chauvinist Gene Marks (Ok, I may have editorialized a bit)
“In the world of Rosie, Oprah, Kim Kardashian and Hillary Clinton less than 3% of our largest companies have female leaders?”
Honest to God, did this wind bag really put Kim Kardashian in the same realm as women who have actually done something other than get fucked on tape? I mean, Hillary did get fucked on tape when she had to ‘stand by her man’ after the Monica Lewinsky ordeal but you get where I’m going with that, don’t you? Gene Marks, continues by saying he’s figured out why there aren’t more women in CEO positions, (oh can’t wait).
Trust that I have a rant about this Gene Marks saved for a later day that ends with his balls as my earrings; but, when reputable magazines perpetuate sexism, it just makes me want to see Marissa Mayer prove him wrong, and for more women to strive to become, anything from a stay at home mom to CEO’s, if that’s what they desire, with continued support from all women.
There is one notable caveat, some of the women, on reality television shows, do not deserve the right to be defended. Discussing giving a guy a blow job on the second date (unless of course that is your occupation), having a multi-million dollar wedding, for a marriage that ended before the ink dried on the marriage certificate, or the woman on woman violence do nothing positive for women, and in fact, hurts us.
Lacking any discernible talent or service, may make some ready for reality television; but, in no way, should or does it automatically translate to respect or support from other women. And before anyone pulls the hypocrite card, does a woman discussing a blow job on television help women in any way? I am not saying women should not give blow jobs (save the hate male mail) or be ashamed to have those conversations in proper context. When people like Gene Marks, a writer for Forbes, equate Kim Kardashian to Hillary Clinton we don’t need to give men more ammunition to think of us with their dicks in our mouths.
However, when Ms. Mayer, returned to work after having a baby, I was disappointed and rather shocked at the backlash she received. It was selective tolerance, by many of those same women who earlier championed her success, now shaming her into fitting into their ideals of when it was appropriate for her to return to work. And, by very definition, is the opposite of tolerance and actually judgment.
Ironically, many of the naysayers, were women who have never held such a position, had a desire to hold such a position or even worked in the corporate world. We cannot expect men to respect women in executive positions, when our own gender shames us with selective tolerance.
One woman may elect to be a stay at home mom; and, another may choose to focus on her career. Neither choice is right or wrong, and more importantly, subject to any scrutiny, by anyone. As a woman, if you are making a strong argument for one ‘side’ over the other, this really is a “lightening rod” to your own deepest and darkest insecurity. I’m reminded of the phrase, “Walk a mile in my Shoes,” but, the problem is many narrow minded only see one figurative option in footwear, theirs.
I love heels (apparently a lot of neutrals) and another woman may like flats. I would never try and persuade someone who teaches aerobics that heels are really a better option, any more than I would a stay at home mom to wear heels going grocery shopping, or a CEO that she has to wear heels to an executive Board Meeting. When people are comfortable in their own skin/shoes, they don’t feel the need to shame others, regardless of the subject.
I am confident if we were all willing to take a step back, and if we’re really honest with ourselves, we really shouldn’t care when Marissa Mayer decided to return to work anymore than the footwear she chose to return in, because neither decision was, ours, or affected us personally. Some, making inaccurate and sweeping generalities, will argue her returning ‘early’ will allow all employers to think all women in the work place should follow suit.
Sure, let’s go with that skewed logic for a second:
All billion dollar acquisitions and mergers, in the absence of the CEO, are now being handled by the CEO’s administrative assistant. It would be unfair to expect an employee, who lacks, the education, experience, understanding and, perhaps, even the interest, to handle such enormous responsibility. It would never happen. But, that is, the same logic, those worried that an executive’s decision to return to work ‘early’, and will somehow set the Earth off its axis and force all women to give birth in the office.
In a Company, with over 12,000 employees, when an administrative assistant, takes leave, it would stand to reason, many employees of similar skill level, education, general understanding of the position, (many of whom may have held the exact position prior to being promoted), are able to aid the Company during that particular employee’s absence. The higher ones position in a Company, the fewer the people capable of executing and understanding the tasks.
I do not personally know Ms. Mayer, but, if she’s anything like me, she never ‘took time off’. Meaning, she was still working, from home during that time. Maybe, cutting back a little, and not working 15 hour days. Not everyone is meant to be a NFL player, a Supermodel or CEO. There is an expectation, at that level, that your job is not Monday-Friday, 9 am- 5 pm. Football players work nights, weekends, spend an enormous amount of time away from family, and are compensated for it. Some players have even missed the birth of their children. It doesn’t mean they love their wife or family any less though. We’re likely to hear; “Oh that’s sad he missed the birth, but he’s providing for his family.”
What one person would consider ‘sacrificing,’ others would call it ‘doing what they love.’ Just keep in mind that because you, may never have wanted to be a CEO, doesn’t mean you should begrudge another the opportunity. Walk a mile in someone else’s Jimmy Choos before passing judgment. If it were me, I would have had my laptop on my stomach up until the last push. In fairness, I would have immediately exchanged the laptop with the nurse upon arrival of the baby. And, likely, would have had to have been talked out of naming the baby, Toshiba.