Today’s NYT Article About Marissa Mayer is Mean

Marissa Mayer

The article in todays New York Times Business section reminds me of recent coverage of Gwenyth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter – mean spirited and indicative of our continuing cultural ambivalence about successful, attractive, high profile women.

I personally think the article says a lot more about it’s author, Laura Holson, than she probably realizes.

Why is it surprising that a successful, wealthy, high profile tech executive is somewhat self-involved?  I’m pretty sure the last time I read a profile of Steve Jobs or Larry Ellison, it didn’t have the same scathing, personally critical tone.  Ms. Holson, do you never employ subjectivity in your job?  Do you not utilize self promotion to further your career?

I checked out your bio on the New York Times web site – no self promotion there at all:

“Laura M. Holson is an award-winning reporter who currently writes about communications, media and the mobile lifestyle from New York. She joined the Times in 1998, first chronicling the mergers and acquisition boom and then, in 2000, moving to Los Angeles to write about Hollywood, Michael Eisner and The Walt Disney Co. and the major movie studios. Before that she was a writer with Smart Money magazine and, in the 1980s, worked at an investment bank where she earned her stockbroker’s license and helped manage client accounts.”

An undercurrent of jealousy or lack of abundance type thinking runs through these kinds of profiles.  The same thing can be said about recent commentary of Ms. Paltrow’s  new venture, chronicled (coincidentally?) in last Sunday’s New York Times.

It saddens me that the worst enemy of womens’ ascent to the higher ranks of business or popular culture often appears to be other women.  I’m not saying that we need to be holding hands, skipping through the fields together, but maybe we could think about why we so often feel the need to tear each other down.

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2 thoughts on “Today’s NYT Article About Marissa Mayer is Mean”

  • 13 years ago

    I think there’s a strong meme sweeping through the technology community that, in a company such as Google that preaches meritocracy, Marissa’s position within the company comes as much from her romantic history with Larry Page as her credentials for the job.

    Gawker did a much harsher analysis after the NYTimes piece came out, and there may be some truth among the libel. There is a lot more backstory here emerging from disgruntled Googlers and shareholders alike than the NYTimes brings to light. That may have helped their case on this hit-piece.

    I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to run to the hills and scream “sexism” given all of the backstory with regard to what I’ll call the Mayer Incompetence Meme. If she was not a woman then the “sexism” defense against these accusations that she is incompetent would not even be on the table.

    I have no opinion on whether or not Mayer is a rube at the throne.. I just don’t believe it’s appropriate to build the shore defenses around gender in this case.

    • 13 years ago

      Hey, easy for a man to say 🙂 Hope you’re well Ian. Looking forward to the wedding!

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