Marissa Mayer in Vogue fashion shoot
Purple Princess' Vogue shoot unleashes torrent of purple prose from world+dog
Yahoo! boss Marissa Mayer has sent the digital chattering classes into a frenzy after posing for a series of buttoned-up photographs for fashion bible Vogue.
In an entirely predictable reaction to the Vogue spread, feminist bloggers unleashed tens of thousands of words of purple prose discussing Mayer's decision to appear in the rather stiff shoot.
This was no lad's mag-style display of tit and bum, but rather a sober, slightly awkward depiction of Mayer reclining upside down on a sun lounger, wearing a chic, demure blue dress and clutching an iPad with an image of her own face. It was also accompanied by a mammoth 3,000 word article with the headline "Hail To The Chief" - which regular Reg readers will note is missing at least four exclamation marks.
Vogue's piece about the "unusually stylish geek" shows Mayer "having the time of her life". She discusses a "well-rounded childhood", her love of coding and how she is "blind to gender".
“I didn’t set out to be at the top of technology companies,” she said. “I’m just geeky and shy and I like to code. 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."
As soon as the images hit the wide wordy web, opinions shot out at gatling gun speed.
Anna Holmes, founder of the prolix women's blog Jezebel, used her column in Time to discuss the issue, although a good chunk of it was spent taking a swipe at one Bryan Goldberg who recently announced he had raised $6.5m to start an online women's magazine – presumably competing with Jezebel.
She wrote: "I think that Mayer does not look so much passive as she does rigid and brittle, thanks to the unnatural positioning of her body and a set of straps on her Yves Saint Laurent stiletto shoes that resemble restraining devices or monitoring ankle bracelets.
"Women who hold any position of authority get it coming and going of course, and this particular debate – should business leaders or icons of female strength say yes to fashion shoots – has been taking place for decades."
Kelly Wallace, CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large, said: "I didn't think Marissa Mayer, the Yahoo! chief who caused quite a stir with her two-week maternity leave and decision to ban employees working from home, could get any more controversial."
Dan Schawbel, author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success", said the image makes Mayer look like "she's on vacation, she's relaxing while everyone else is doing work".
He added: "I think a lot of people who are powerful just want the publicity. You're probably not going to see a male CEO turn down GQ. Maybe she's doing it because she wants to make Yahoo! look cool, with the iPad?"
Twitter was also ablaze with opinion. We've selected a few of our faves.
Nothing says, "I'm a powerful woman" like a photo of you upside down on a weird couch. Nice work, Vogue. Oof. http://t.co/kqZIvnQJRb — stanhoraczek (@stanhoraczek) August 19, 2013
If u think stylish photos of Marissa Mayer undo & detract from an article abt her achievements, maybe Vogue's not the one w a sexism problem— Mia Saini (@miasaini) August 21, 2013
Vogue is getting increasingly tech savvy, with a recent Google Glass shoot showing that the worlds of high fashion and hi-tech aren't as far apart as they used to be. Is it just a matter of time before the two worlds lean in even closer? ®