Marissa Mayer Suffers From Gender-Blindness

Profiled in Vogue's September issue, Yahoo's controversial CEO Marissa Mayer is portrayed as a woman who isn't trying to deny her employees anything. No, she's just sort of awkward; in her own words, she's still just a "naive" "geeky" "shy" woman who "likes to code." According to Mayer, it's actually a total accident that she became one of the few female leaders of a tech company because she had no real "grand plan" for any of her success.


Writer Jacob Weisman says that Mayer's always been sort of detached from the real world, something she's said before:

At Stanford, she majored in Symbolic Systems, which combines philosophy, cognitive psychology, linguistics, and computer science. Once, reading The Stanford Daily, she was laughing over a column about campus icons—the local man who abuses passersby, the guy in the sandwich shop who always gets your order wrong. “And there was literally a line in there that said ‘the blonde woman in the upper-division computer-science classes.’ And I was, like, I’m a woman in the upper-division computer-science classes—I should know this person! I really had just been very blind to gender. And I still am.”

Mayer also explains that any of her success was just a product of working hard and not any attempt at ladder-climbing:

“I didn’t set out to be at the top of technology companies,” she insists. “I’m just geeky and shy and I like to code,” she says. “Once, Eric Schmidt [then Google’s CEO] pointed out to me that at Google, when you want to have an impact that’s bigger than just you, you move from being an individual contributor to managing a team. . . . And I was like, Oh, right, it would be nice to have an impact that’s bigger than just me. It’s not like I had a grand plan where I weighed all the pros and cons of what I wanted to do—it just sort of happened.”


Other words used to describe Mayer: "underdog" "talented" "extremely driven" and "aggressive" (Henry Blodget, Business Insider) and "happy" and "optimistic" (David Karp, Tumblr founder).

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer: Hail to the Chief [Vogue]

Image via Mario Tama/Getty

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