A Look at the Reputation of Marissa Mayer
The CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer is creating waves after she participated a fashion-oriented photo spread for Vogue.
The spread displays Marissa laying upside down on a lounge in stilettos and a Michael Kors dress. The photo, her detractors say, takes away from the article that talks about her achievements in the world of business. The caption that ask what would she wear doesn’t help either.
One editor from Popular Photography criticized the photo as being at odds with the idea of a powerful woman making headway in a male-centric industry.
She has her defenders as well, though, like Anna Holmes, who founded Jezebel. She writes that women who are in authority get criticized as they are both coming and going.
Mayer’s life has been under the microscope, so to speak, for a while now. Her reputation has suffered its shares of highs and lows, and here is a short look at that storied history.
As a Mother
Mayer first gained public notoriety when she became the CEO of Yahoo! while she was five months pregnant, back in 2012. To ensure that her work didn’t suffer much, she only took two-week maternity leave and then had a nursery built beside her office. She continued to work long hours despite having just given birth. People criticized her for being what they perceived to be a workaholic, which they felt was at odds with her new role as a mother. She defended herself by saying that motherhood hasn’t been as difficult as she thought it would be, but her reputation took a plunge.
In the Area of Telecommuting
Mayer suffered more criticism when she decided to change Yahoo!’s policy on telecommuting. She made it so that people in her company could no longer work from home, telling them they would be out of job if they continued to do so. Those who cried out against the ban were working mothers and business owners who thought it unfair that someone who was very well off would be able to create a policy affecting them in a way it would not affect her. After all, she could keep her child in the room beside her while she worked, and those who suffered under her new policy were not compensated for their inconvenience and had to put their children in day-care. Telecommuting allowed working mothers to handle their dual responsibilities as mothers and employees, but that was taken away from them, her critics wrote. Others believed it was a step back for a technologically advanced age and company. Mayer’s defence is that the move makes it easier for employees to work together and create new innovations. She said the intention was never to hurt any working parents, but her reputation took another dive.
With Maternity Leave
While she lost points for her telecommuting stance, Mayer gained some ground when she announced a doubling of maternity leave for all new mothers. The leave went from eight weeks up to 16 weeks. Even paternity leave was increased, going up to eight weeks. New parents would also be given money for necessary supplies- $500 for all the things their new baby would need. These changes made the telecommuting policy less painful and helped Yahoo! match up more closely to its competition- Google and Facebook and their policies. Mayer’s reputation improved following this announcement.
About Her Looks
There has been a lot of commentary surrounding Mayer and her role as a woman in a CEO position. The Vogue photoshoot was simply another in a long line of talks about Mayer’s appearance and tendency toward fashion. Business Insider talked about her designer favourites. One supporter of Mayer sad that she hoped there would come a day when a woman could be applauded for her talent as a figure of authority without a love of fashion bringing criticism to bear on that talent. Mayer has made a name for herself as someone who dresses well no matter what role she is placed into, and that has allowed her to create a reputation that other women look up to. It has placed her in a rare group of women who are Fortune 500 CEOs and who have a well-defined fashion sense. Her reputation has improved due to her passion for fashion.
As a Woman
Many times when Mayer’s name is brought up, it is about her being both a woman and a CEO, particularly a CEO of a technology company. It may seem outdated to harp on a woman for being in a position of authority, but it’s a conversation that never seems to die out. She is subject to all sorts of scrutiny she otherwise would not experience because of her role, and what she chooses to wear and what decisions she makes are often placed in the light of her being a woman in a position of power. Her reputation can fluctuate based on how that conversation goes at times.
The Company’s Turnaround
Mayer should receive criticism and recognition for what she does and not how she does it or what she wears while doing it. She is managing to be effective at helping this to right the course of the once-faltering technology company. Since Mayer has risen to the CEO position, she has managed to improve stock prices and earnings. While the numbers may not be jaw-droppingly great, they are not insignificant. Even office morale is up, according to some reports. More people are applying for jobs at Yahoo! since her tenure began, many of which are former employees. Yahoo! also recently acquired Tumblr, which is another success in a long list from a CEO who is showing up her detractors. Her reputation is on the rise because of it.
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