By Michael Baker and Eric Zanzucchi (@ericzanzucchi)
The recent announcement that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is pregnant has sparked the age old debate of whether or not a woman can have it all. Evidently Marissa Mayer can, and plenty of people are not happy about it.
When it comes to Mayer’s doubters and detractors, there are really two factors at play: jealousy and sexism. The business world is abuzz with those who feel that it’s simply not acceptable for the CEO of such a massive enterprise to take maternity leave. Then there are female commentators who suggest that by getting knocked up, Mayer is somehow setting back the cause of women in the workplace. Combined, these two viewpoints set an impossible standard for any woman with career aspirations who also has a family. The good news is that it seems clear that Mayer can handle it.
We hadn’t heard her name until last week so we don’t know too much about Mayer. But here’s what we do know: she’s well educated, very intelligent, and has a personality that’s suited to the business world. To make matters worse, she’s young, attractive, and married to a guy with a great job (and – we can only assume – rock hard abs. Abs that just won’t quit. Abs that you could play like a xylophone. Abs that if you shot them with a cannon ball, the cannon ball would break into a million little pieces).
Marissa Mayer can have it all because she’s Marissa Mayer. If you’re not as intelligent, hard working, confident, or attractive, you don’t get to have it all, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Like most of us, you get to have some of it. The tradeoffs between career progression and time spent with the family are a fact of life for both men and women of all classes. People who sacrifice in one area or the other are still perfectly capable of living a good life. For those who don’t have to sacrifice in either area, life is charmed, and the rest of us will just have to deal with it.
And look on the bright side: Marissa Mayer may have it all, but her wealthy ass will never know the simple joy of a $5 Footlong.