For Yahoo!'s (YHOO - Get Report) new CEO, Marissa Mayer, it's going to be difficult to make it fade away. Over the next three months, her stomach will continue to get bigger. It will be on display for the world to see.
Before I even knew Mayer was pregnant, I wrote the following in an article published Monday by TheStreet:
Of course, because Mayer is female she will draw even more attention and, quite possibly, face a different type of scrutiny.
Her baby -- the budding human who should be a constant reminder of new beginnings -- will trigger questions. Of course, it prompted them immediately. Did the Yahoo! board know? Will she be able to work through a pregnancy? Can she handle the stress and pressure of being a CEO Mom? Should Yahoo! have even hired her in the first place? Did the Board screw up again?
Of course, if the Board effectively discriminated against a woman for having a life outside of work, only feminist organizations would have uttered a peep. And they would have been vilified as kooky liberals for doing so.Newsflash. None of this should matter. This is not Steve Jobs's cancer. While I cringed at the attention the media and Apple shareholders paid to it, I understood concerns over his ability to lead, the likelihood that he would lead again and succession. Death. It's practically the inverse of having a baby. The media has no business -- and serves no utility -- reporting on Mayer's pregnancy with anything but "We wish you a happy, problem-free experience and a healthy child. We hope he gets your looks." Anything else beyond that -- the scrutiny, the questions -- are little more than chauvinist insults directed at a woman so many deemed a CEO failure before her first day on the job. As if Marissa Mayer -- the public face of a company that quickly became of the world's iconic brands -- cannot manage the work-life balance. Forgive me for being presumptuous, but this is 2012. Marissa Mayer is 37. She, by all accounts, is incredibly progressive and savvy. I would guess that right after they placed her as Yahoo! CEO, Spencer Stuart began an all-out search for a nanny. (If a headhunter steals that idea, I will litigate). Interviews are likely already in progress. Or maybe Yahoo! has on-site day care. It's not unheard of in parts of the country where -- gasp -- people actually have open minds and attempt to accommodate the somewhat unfamiliar.