Did Vogue Invent Marissa Mayer in Order to Profile Her?

Photo: Mikael Jansson/Vogue

Does anything get Vogue hotter than an exceptional, blonde fashion plate excelling in a field dominated by poorly dressed men? Like Texas state senator Wendy Davis, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is a profile subject that seems to have been cooked up in Anna Wintour’s laboratory. Mayer’s “work uniform” is an Oscar de la Renta cashmere bolero, Jacob Weisberg reports. “She has the same one in ivory, navy, black, hot pink, teal, red, and royal blue, and adds new colors every season.” She favors “brightly colored and lighthearted” “happy art” and happy clothing, like the Jeff Koons balloon dog in her kitchen, a taste she inherited from her “Finnish mother, an art teacher who surrounded her with Marimekko prints she can still cite by name.” And it’s not just an aesthetic: Mayer is actually as chipper as her Google-colored dress. It was her “happy and optimistic” personality that won over David Karp, whose platform Tumblr Mayer acquired for Yahoo earlier this year, Karp says.

Since distancing herself from “negative” feminism in her PBS Makers interview last year, Mayer has been held up as an anti–Sheryl Sandberg (though they are friends), the woman who manages to climb to the top of her field without fretting about how to improve the abysmal female representation there. But any gender-based critiques of Mayer’s position don’t bear further exploration in Vogue because Mayer herself professes to be blissfully unaware of sexism. “As employee number 20 [at Google], she was often asked how it felt to be the only woman on engineering teams. She’d answered truthfully: She hadn’t noticed.”

Similarly, the politics of Mayer’s decision to forgo maternity leave in order to take the helm at Yahoo didn’t end up mattering much. This is because Mayer is exceptionally good at being pregnant and a mother, reports Weisberg, “thanks to her financial resources and physical capacity.” (Moms, help me out: Physical capacity here means what, a roomy uterus?) “One night I looked up and was like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s midnight and I have a husband and I’m, like, eight months pregnant. I need to leave!’ I was just here working, having the best possible time.” To recap: the preternaturally happy, stylish Marissa Mayer is happiest when she’s at the office all night, eight months pregnant. I’m not even sure Vogue would go that far if they did make her up.

Did Anna Wintour Dream Up Marissa Mayer?