Marissa Mayer’s recent profile in Vogue has attracted a litany of criticism based on the accompanying photo, and the Yahoo! CEO says that she’s embarrassed by the fashion-y photo and felt uncomfortable posing for it.
The photo in question features Mayer in a conservative dress, reclining upside down on a lawn chair (but the expensive kind, obviously). Because Vogue had a female, conventionally attractive subject to work with, photographer Mikael Jansson shot her like a model, instead of a prominent tech CEO. It’s disappointing that Vogue felt that that was an appropriate treatment for her, but I don’t know that it’s worth all the flack she’s received from other media outlets and commenters alike.
After staying quiet during the internet shitstorm, Mayer confronted the issue at IAB’s Advertising Week Conference during a lecture with Charlie Rose. According to Mashable, a joke was made that incorrectly referenced her Vogue cover.
“It wasn’t the cover,” Mayer corrected, clearly embarrassed. She went on to say that the photo was unplanned and “out of necessity.” The photographer Mikael Jansson’s assignment was to capture an unconventional CEO in an unconventional pose — sitting ladylike on the chaise wasn’t going to cut it. When Jansson suggested she lay upside down, she hesitated. He assured her it would “look good” and so she went for it.
The photo is a little silly for someone of her position, but it’s beautiful. It’s not like she’s half-naked and straddling a computer, but if she feels uncomfortable with it, then that’s all that matters. It is an absolute shame that someone in her position still felt bullied into doing something was uncomfortable with.
I wonder if she actually hates the photo or if this is a response to the backlash. It seems like a gendered response–would anyone care if a male CEO posed at his golf club or whatever rich men do for fun? No, they’d be like “look at this man who is so virile in the conference room and racquet ball court! He also hunts!”
Do you think she should be embarrassed and should have insisted on a more standard, executive-style photo? Anyone even know what an executive-appropriate photo would entail? I’m hoping for decisive stamping of documents with a giant red NO.
Photo: Getty Images, Vogue