Saturday Link Roundup


East Side Bride has always has done Groom Style better than anyone else.

This video proves two things. One, that it’s generally dubious to wear a fancy suit near a body of water. And two, nature obviously thinks that your proposals should be even grander.

Because you guys are the coolest, APW-er Sasha put together a Spotify List of all of your first dance songs, compiled from this open thread. That’s dedication, y’all.

Let’s face it. The big news of the week (particularly if you’re religious, as I am, or Catholic, as other APW staffers are) is the new Pope. So on that note, did you know Catholics can get their weddings blessed by the Pope in a mass ceremony in St. Peters Square? And everyone wears their wedding attire. While I do have disagreements with the church on the definition of marriage, this is still awesome.

Also awesome? The story about the two guys whose Jet Blue flight attendant signed up to be their New York State witness will restore your faith in humanity. Plus, she brought cupcakes.

For those of you doing your own wedding flowers (respect!), long time APW sponsor Blooms By The Box just launched a DIY Flowers 101 project. Helpful.

Reclaiming Wife

Reader Jen sent us this link as a follow up to the kids/no kids conversation. NPR: Is having kids a rational decision?

Amy Christensen, from Thursday’s post on risk and learning to ride a motorcycle, has a great article on her blog in response to a video that went viral this week about a guy pushing his girlfriend off a cliff (literally) and about why taking risks needs to be a choice you make on your own terms.

This reader submitted link, Marriage Is For Losers is written by a therapist, and it’s as smart as it is emotional. He talks about letting our marriage be a radical rebellion to the way the world tells us to live. “Maybe we need to be formed in such a way that winning loses its glamour, that we can sacrifice the competition in favor of people.” Read it, then do some thinking (I’m going to be pondering it for awhile).

General Interest

This post, I’m Tired Of Having To Be A Feminist, nails the way I’ve been feeling about the Marissa Mayer / Sheryl Sandberg news cycle. “Women are still being treated as a discrete group, a special interest lobby and an unpopular one at that.” I’d like to live in a world where we can agree or disagree with Marissa Mayer’s decisions as a CEO (or decide we don’t know near enough about the situation, and it actually might not be our business), not as a woman. The fact that we’re not there yet makes me tired.

A Jessica Valenti link a week seems to be the standard around here, eh? She Who Dies With The Most Likes Wins is a few months old (hey, I was having a baby), but it’s a must read. This bit is solid gold, “I had to choose between being likable or being successful, I’d choose the latter every time. Yes, the more successful you are—or the stronger, the more opinionated—the less you will be generally liked. All of a sudden people will think you’re too “braggy,” too loud, too something. But the trade off is undoubtedly worth it. Power and authenticity are worth it. And in a world where women are told to be anxious about everything—that we can’t “have it all” but will forever be searching for it—saying that ambition and success are actually pretty great can be a radical message.” For women, success is a life liability (particularly among other women, oddly). And we’ve got to stop this nonsense, for all our sakes.

A debate popped up a few weeks ago on APW about body image and dress forms, and for me, the real issue was much broader: we live in a culture where super small bodies are treated as the norm. The issue is so prevalent, that it can be hard for people with the best intentions to work around it. So this article on ‘realistic’ mannequins at an H&M in Sweden is awesome. Also, if you ask me, those mannequins look hotter than the normal terrifying variety.

This NPR story about a father who hacked Donkey Kong for his daughter so she could play Pauline and rescue Mario, made feminist Meg cheer. It also made parent Meg (it still sounds like a lie when I call myself a parent) cry. Listen to it in full, it’s a good one.

And speaking of NPR, I found this New York Times article about how NPR wants younger listeners, aka, “People that Tweet,” really interesting. I think every blogger I know is an NPR listener, as are most APW readers. So what gives? Are we not vocal enough about it? I’m not sure, but I’d like NPR to invite me to their next “Weekend in Washington” to blog about it. I mean, RIGHT?

And closing out the week with awesome, you guys helped Liz raise 211% of her goal of money for children’s cancer research. She’s also now bald! Updates on that to come…

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  • BB

    The Donkey Kong story is awesome. What a great father!

    The “tired of being a feminist” article really resonated with me. My fiance and I talk about this a lot, especially in the context of how often when the media is trying to be fair to women, they throw men under the bus. I see this especially in the ways commercials portray dads and how the media portrays men in their 20’s. Men are not incompetent, and every time we as women sigh and nudge one another about how “they just can’t be trusted” to do certain chores or take care of children, we are dismissing men in many of the same ways that women are thrown together into a homogenous group of stereotypes.

    Wow. “Marriage is for losers” is incredibly profound. I really struggle against my compulsion to “win” in arguments. This reminds me how important it is for me to keep fighting against this impulse. I want to learn how to be a good loser.

    In reference to the article about whether our not it is rational to have children: You know, I have always felt this way about the decision to have children our not. How can I compare between two completely unknowable lives? Even without children, what I imagine for my future is pure fantasy.

    Thanks for the entertainment as I wait at the car repair shop! Very thought provoking!

  • scw

    I think “Marriage Is For Losers” is right on. It reminds me of something Joan Morgan says in “From Fly-Girls to Bitches and Hos” –

    “A few years ago, on an airplane making its way to Montego Bay, I received another gem of girlfriend wisdom from a sixty-year-old self-declared non-feminist. She was meeting her husband to celebrate her thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. After telling her I was twenty-seven and very much single, she looked at me and shook her head sadly. ‘I feel sorry for your generation. You don’t know how to have relationships, especially the women.’ Curious, I asked her why she thought this was. ‘The women of your generation, you want to be right. The women of my generation, we didn’t care about being right. We just wanted to win.’

    “Too much of the discussion regarding sexism and the music focuses on being right. We feel we’re right and the rappers are wrong. The rappers feel it’s their right to describe their ‘reality’ in any way they see it. The store owners feel it’s their right to sell whatever the customer wants to by. The customer feels it’s his right to be able to decide what he wants to listen to. We may be the ‘rightest’ of the bunch but we sure the hell ain’t doing the winning.”

    That’s long, I know, and Morgan uses slightly different vocabulary than Flanagan (her ‘right’ is closer to his ‘win’ & she replaces his ‘lose’ with a collective ‘win’) but I think both get at an idea that is helpful for all relationships, not just marriages.

  • Hannah

    I love the DIY flowers tutorial! Really helpful. Thanks for sharing that!

    • Hello! I am Diana from! Email me anytime if you have questions! diana (at)

  • Emily

    Can I just say I love everything about the new link roundup feature? It’s the best and I’m rocking out to the first dance songs on Spotify now!

  • that donkey kong story is amazing! npr is the best and I totally tweet about it :).

  • KC

    (fantastic reads, just like last week! thanks for the roundup!)

    The Jessica Valenti article was interesting, but I think the solution is somewhere other than women just deliberately choosing success over likability.

    1) In general, people listen less frequently to people they hate (and in some cases, likability is necessary for continued success, yet success itself seems to often gradually reduce likability – see last week’s article about female actresses). This isn’t a problem in some fields (if you’re the best aerospace engineer in the world, the public opinion of you does not matter as long as it’s not bad enough for your company to squish you), but politics/acting/CEO/PR/”media empire” and other outward facing roles, it’s really important.

    2) It’s not just “being liked”; people absolutely *shred* disliked, successful women, and a slightly smaller proportion try to destroy successful women however “nice” they are (see Kathy Sierra, whose only “crime” was having an extremely large following in a field where she “shouldn’t have”, as far as I can tell). This can be a serious occupational hazard, or just a chorus of continual unpleasantness.

    3) As long as we’re prioritizing success in terms of ambition/being on top/having the most eyeballs on us/money/attention (and not in terms of accomplishing the things you want to do in an ethical manner), I don’t think the women-disemboweling-women thing is going to get better. I think part of it’s jealousy – I don’t have it, so why does she get to have it? – part of it’s ladder-climbing – I can look better by shoving her down. [see the warring editorials for this] – and part of it’s freaking out over not conforming – she’s not doing things “right”. The last is by far the *least* frequent in my experience among women (only occasional – and that’s the only one that seems like it would be at all helped by more women choosing success over likability); the first two seem to be most active where success is defined as being on top, where there’s explicit or implicit competition (blog followers; job prestige; money/power/attention/sexiness/eyeballs/book deals).

    I think the most basic way to achieve the goal of people-doing-their-stuff-superbly-without-taking-flak-for-it is for all of us, men and women, to see their own value not as what they do/can do/have achieved, but as an inherent characteristic that does not rely on external measuring sticks – so your value as a person is not lessened by someone else’s accomplishments, is not threatened by someone else having more talent (or less talent but more “success”, although that may still be unfair), is certainly not reduced by not being thin enough/pretty enough, and is not in conflict with either your own success or others’. But, not sure how to do that on a societal scale, and it’d have to be on a societal scale, for both men and women, or the epidemic of snipers wouldn’t stop.

    But I agree that it’s a problem! I just don’t think that a salt march of women all choosing success over likability (without also changing the measuring sticks they value themselves against and without also committing to civil discourse and treating all others fairly) would break this structure. Actually, I think it’s more likely that it would reinforce the structure in a very bad way, because a pileup of women beating down women in a quest for success without even being moderated by “is this going to hurt someone?” does not seem likely to enhance respect and cooperation anywhere.

    • meg

      Definitely think that’s smart analysis, but I think it goes beyond that. IE, it doesn’t matter how nice you are as a woman (though, arguably, being “nice” is the most important cultural yardstick for women, and one can argue that it shouldn’t be, but that’s another conversation), if you’re successful, people won’t like you. Studies show this, day to day life shows this, and it functions as a sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious deterrent for women to do more.

      I do this ALL THE TIME. I’ll drag my feet on doing something I should do, because I know I’m going to be disliked for doing it. IE, “Yeah, I want to write a book, but do I really want to take the personal flack that comes with that?” Delay delay delay. Just because something comes with explicit or implicit competition (book deals, job prestige, etc.) doesn’t mean those things are not worth doing, or women shouldn’t be doing.

      And I think plenty of people value success as doing things you want to do in an ethical manner. Jessica Valenti is the definition of doing this. But she’s taken WORLDS of shit she shouldn’t have ever had to take. And that sucks.

      So while I agree that we all need to value ourselves internally, both because its important, and would do tons to solve that problem, I still think women should be able to push for those book deals/ job promotions/ etc, without flack.

      IE, the point isn’t success over likeability. You can stay exactly the same, but the more successful you are, the more people will hate you, if you’re female. The point is us breaking the back of this idea that successful women aren’t likable, or that all women are in competition with each other, and if you have it, I can’t.

      • Kestrel

        Um, ok. Slight life changing-ish moment here.

        I may have just realized that the reason I’m so scared of actually doing anything in my grad program is because I don’t really want to be ‘the girl with the *masters* in engineering’. Not really because I’m female (although I think that’s definitely a part as conversation with many people just shuts down when you mention you’re a female engineer), more because I don’t want to be one of those ‘hoity-toity academics’.

        • KC

          So now you get to consciously decide what you want to do about that! :-) Sorry, that is probably not a fun thing to hash through; best of luck to you!

          (and academics are awesome; I don’t know what the deal is with people being intimidated. Having the person you just met say the equivalent of “I have something I’m legitimately well-informed and passionate about!” is basically the best smalltalk escape pod *EVER*.)(I may be slightly more concerned with escaping smalltalk than the average person, however.)

        • meg

          High five. Realizing those things is where it starts.

          And yeah, I really really feel you.

      • KC

        I also agree that the flack shouldn’t be there. If you break the law or act unethically (i.e. insider trading or pyramid scheme or tobacco-industry-research-suppression stuff), then yes, flack seems appropriate. But this thing where someone’s success at something means that they’re an appropriate target for whatever irritation or whatever you’re feeling that day – that is not okay at all, and is actually really counterproductive culturally – as a society, we benefit from people doing their best in a good way, and we should be incentivizing rather than deincentivizing that. (and yes on the “is it worth the backlash?” question. So frustrating. “Am I currently capable of dealing with jealousy, mockery, and trolling without it resulting in massive personal harm?” – if the answer is no, then the answer to “is it worth it to share my things with the world/on the internet at large today?” is also no, generally. And that’s frustrating.) Actually, the way US culture deals with celebrity of any kind seems really, really unhealthy for all involved, but that’s a tangential issue.

        I think “nice” is about as ingrained as “pretty/sexy”, albeit with cultural variations, and has some very screwed up junk attached to it as well. Both, I think, rely significantly on our value depending on others’ assessments of us and come with pressure to exist for the convenience/use of others, both individual and corporate. But I have a lot (A LOT) of opinions about “nice”, so I will stop there.

        I’m really glad that Jessica Valenti (who I should apparently read more of!) doesn’t have what appears to be the most common US definition of ambitious success (as high as you personally can solely for your own benefit by whatever means necessary; see golden parachutes) – if ethics and civility are built into your definition of success, then totally dropping likability as a goal is probably safe and actually ideal except for the likability-success-ceiling problem, since likability is at its best (and it’s not often at its best) a sort-of proxy for not visibly being a mega-weasel (and has gobs of other junk attached to it, including the inverse successful/liked ratio). It’s just… it seems like a lot of people don’t have those ethics built in to their idea of ambitious success (the people who cut pages out of law library books so other students can’t find the answers…), so I’m jumpy about *them* all being told to go for success and ignore likability.

        I guess; I entirely agree it’s a problem, and a big problem. I just read the piece as offering a solution of “hang likability; go for success!”, which both made me nervous and seemed like an inadequate answer to how to break the back of this thing, since it’s systemic, not just a problem of individual choices of career or presentation (and, as I indicated, that success/likability inversion means that there’s a weird public-success ceiling that didn’t seem to be addressed by that direction, although determining when you need to visibly fall on your butt in order to continue to be sufficiently likable to make it a bit farther is also pretty bizarre and not appealing).

        But, yes, its back: needs to be broken. I just don’t see how that can work without a massive interior revolution of value/esteem, and don’t know how to make that happen other than one non-“successful” person at a time.

        • meg

          You know, I’m a big proponent of not believing in competition. IE, if I do my thing to the best of my ability, I’m going to be fine. You doing your thing to the best of your ability just makes the world a better place, it doesn’t threaten me.

          But women (more so than men, I think) are really taught on a deep level from… kindergarden really… that it’s zero sum. If she’s the prettiest, you are not (so destroy her). Hence, we attack women who have what we want, because on some level we think we have to destroy them to get it. Instead of, you know, asking them out for drinks and advice and high fives.

          But, on the flip side, it’s bad for men in a different way. When they’re successful they are loved, and they cheer each other on and the world loves them. But holy shiittttt have I watched men who’s friends just stop calling them back, and can’t get a single date, etc, when they are unemployed/ decide to be a stay at home dad, whatever. For men, not having perceived success makes them unliked. Which BLOWS. Kick ’em while they’re down.

          • KC

            Yeah, what both genders get attention for as children and beyond seems very likely to play into this, but guys also have the “highest tower” or “fastest runner” or “can beat everyone else at arm-wrestling” one-winner thing, so I don’t think that’s 100% it (although “prettiest” and “sweetest” are indeed insidious). It’s possible that traditionally male accomplishments have more of a “don’t be a sore loser; try harder next time” suggestion, whereas having one’s friends join together and make super-catty comments about the girl who is now going out with your crush to “make you feel better” is… not uncommon.

            Or maybe the originally observed situation has something to do with successful, ambitious women being something of a minority and hence self-policing in weird ways (like the study of male and female professors sorting through submissions that had randomly-applied male names and female names) and being under unusual scrutiny by outsiders who wish they were in and are trying to justify the situation (either by taking down their accomplishments, or by saying “just affirmative action – they don’t deserve to be there” or “they may have made a lot of money, but they’re ugly [or they don’t spend enough time with their kids, or their skirt is so out of style, or whatever], so I’m still better than them”).

            What boggles me is the habit of destroying women who have what we *don’t even really want*. (maybe it’s similar to the toddler-grabby “I want that toy!” “why? X is playing with it right now. There’s a similar toy right here…” “No, I want *that* one, because X has it!” sort of tendency?) Or maybe it’s a generic grubbing after status-of-any-kind.

            I think part of the unemployed men thing is a lack of non-awkward-things-to-say and a lack of perceived connection, plus a (un)healthy dose of fear (what if that happened to me? if I stay away, I can rationalize it farther from me…). I say this partly because I’ve observed women who are going through really hard things that other women fear also get a pretty thorough brush-off from a really high percentage of people (usually excepting women who “get it” for whatever reason, usually personal experience of their own [miscarriage; infidelity; special-needs child; severe illness or any mental illness; stalker]). And with both genders, when someone is going to drop out or take a year of leave off of grad school, they’re sometimes treated a bit as though they have a contagious disease in public by other grad students. I’m not 100% sure, though, that that, or the accurate-and-horrible let’s kick them while they’re down lacking-male-success situation, are being “disliked” in the same way that huge crowds of people lick their lips and gleefully point when someone famous (of either gender) gets embroiled in scandal or trips up or just has a sub-par performance on one occasion.

            Human beings have some awkward-avoidance parts (I might put my foot in my mouth about your grief or situation! I don’t want to hear a depressing thing today! That’s outside my social script!) and some sense of justice/excess which is often misapplied or goes entirely too far but sometimes has semi-legitimate roots (see: French revolution and fortunately-not-yet-that-extreme response to Kardashian and similar empires) and also some pretty horrid streaks going through them. It’s sometimes hard to detangle the indoctrination from the innate-stinker parts, but I agree the cultural messages all the way up should change for the better for both genders (your and other peoples’ innate value is not dependent on employment status, name recognition, hotness index, or the number of people who like you; we can build each other up without “losing”).

            I think Momastery has some of this education going on for adults, which is cool to watch, although sometimes slightly too you-are-perfect-just-the-way-you-are for me (since: room for growth and improvement, over here!). (but the occasional vitriolic commenter sometimes being responded to with kindness and compassion by community members rather than being exclusively torn to shreds; yay!) And APW is also, I think, less-directly but slowly training some in civil discourse by example and moderation. :-)

            It’s possible that the move away from “you did such a good job” toward “you tried so hard; I’m proud of your effort” in child education might help with the your-success-takes-away-from-me thing. I’ll be interested to see!

          • meg

            I think you should turn all this into some sort of post. It’s too smart and thought provoking to sit in the (weekend!) comments, where most people won’t see it. I’m not even sure I’ve chewed through half of it yet.

          • KC

            Thank you! The problem is that it’s not written in a straight line like a post sort of has to be; it’s more like a smashed pileup of index cards of thoughts and experiences and references, all squashed together with an overabundance of parentheses and semicolons, and leaving out various aspects of personal belief that tie some things together for me (I believe that people are made in the image of God [and, actually, this is where the value comes in; you are personally, individually made out of GOLD, so the stuff that people are oh-so-busy having opinions about is not even a measurable fraction of your net worth], corrupted by sin, then influenced in both positive and negative directions by society et al; this would probably offend the heck out of many people, yes? Possibly even including you, but I hope you’re not offended?). I’m okay with inflicting this sequence of rabbit-trails on the comments section, especially on a likely-low-read day (as long as you’re okay with comments of ludicrous length, oops, sorry!), but I have no clue how to turn this into something coherent that adequately addresses even one of the many behavioral sources or results noted above. But if I figure something out (that is remotely appropriate to this site; also a problem), I’ll send it in!

          • KC

            (um, just to be clear, not literal gold. metaphorical gold. I realized belatedly that I don’t know if there are any belief systems out there that conclude human beings are made out of literal gold, but if there are, that’s not me.)

          • meg

            I’m not offended. I’m religious. I’d say the APW staff is a good benchmark of readership on that: half of us are religious and practicing in our various faiths, half are not religious at all. And besides, we talk about lots of things here some readers believe and some readers don’t, all as civilly as possible. SO. Think about it. It always takes awhile to turn rabbit trails into cohesive narrative. Often framing it around a personal experience, and using that as the through line helps.

    • Caroline

      I read this article when it came out, and I’ve found it literally life changing. I so often consider not doing something because I’m scared people won’t like me if I do. It gets in my way. Since reading that article, I’ve adopted it as my motto, that you shouldn’t let what people might think of you from chasing your dreams. Already, it inspired me to be bold and start and indiegogo campaign to ask for help attending the Op-Ed Project’s Write to Change the World seminar.
      Without Jessica Valenti’s article, I never could have been so bold as to ask everyone I know to contribute money for me to attend a seminar. I would have been too scared people would think me rude/not nice/greedy/whatever else negative and not like me, but I decided to chase success (as defined by chasing and accomplishing my dreams) rather than likeability. My family and close friends love me and think I’m a good person, it’s ok if some people don’t. I try to be empathetic, compassionate, kind, loving, and otherwise a good person. But if I try to be “nice” and “likeable” by the cultural definition of a “nice” woman, I’ll never get anywhere, or accomplish my dreams. Being a “nice” woman is to be a doormat in our culture, and I refuse to be a doormat.
      I found Valenti’s article so important for articulating this for myself, and freeing myself to be someone of consequence, regardless of whether that makes me “not nice” or “disliked”.

      • To give you even more inspiration, I recommend watching Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on asking. So insightful.

        • Caroline

          I loved that TED talk! It’s one of my favorites.

  • I talked my coworker (who is getting married in September and honeymooning in Italy) into going to St. Peter’s Square for the wedding blessing. Both she and her fiance attended Siena College (a Franciscan college) and are getting married at the chapel. She’s pretty excited about it.

    • Katherine

      The blessing during the papal audience is really cool! I hope your friends are able to get tickets!

      (Also, to Meg and the APW team, as a Catholic and regular APW reader, I want to thank you for not only including this neat news but doing it in a way that is respectful of the church and the differences of opinion! It was great to read and I appreciate it!)

    • Samantha

      Ah I’m getting married in September and taking an Italian honeymoon too! I’m so glad to hear that she is going to do the papal blessing. I saw the date on the article and how it was Pope Benedict that did it and I was hoping that Pope Frances would continue it! So it’s every Wednesday?! So Excited!

  • Catherine

    Wow, Marriage is for Losers, what an awesome article. Loved it. What a great world we would live in if everyone wanted to be a servant for everyone else- not just in marriage? It would be like a giant collective stage dive or something..sigh.

  • Now I am mad that we didn’t go to Rome on our honeymoon and get our marriage blessed by the pope! That is seriously the coolest thing.

    Also, I read that “Marriage is for Losers” article several months ago and firmly believe it should be required reading for every couple ever. GO READ IT, EVERYONE!

  • H

    FYI: Those mannequins aren’t actually from H&M. H&M has denied using them in their stores anywhere. That doesn’t change their awesomeness, but just letting you know.

    • meg

      I’m not reporting and fact checking, just linking :) Is there any idea of where they ARE from? They are rad. And hot.

      • Sally

        They’re from another Swedish store called Åhléns — here’s a Swedish newspaper article about them,: :)

        • jlseldon7

          Did you see the comment where H&M had noticed how successful the models were and considered putting them in stores? I thought that part was so cool

  • amber

    yay saturday links! i knew my obsessive weekend checking of APW would someday pay off. while i’ve got comment momentum, i want to say how very grateful i am for what goes on here. this space has been invaluable to me in my education of being female. i started reading as a sophomore in college (researching everything i could about marriage because i simultaneously was too cool to ever get married/wanted marriage to answer all of my identity/career/happiness questions – which i had sort of expected would happen ever since watching disney movies as cliche as that sounds). through the years of reading i’ve realized what a gaping hole of feminist dialogue existed in my life, and the consequences of seeing things through a lens of preconceptions that i didn’t even realize were preconceptions. breaking down judgments about this category of sex has branched into a more balanced perspective on personhood in general – it is so simple but incredibly giddily profound to actually experience people with an unbound mind, to count myself among “people”. i’m forever changed! the future is bright and yielding. amazing how dialogues about marriage could lead to all of that. plus, as a science student, this place gives me some much needed cultural balance. thank you everybody!

    • meg


    • Breck

      Are we the same person???

  • Kat

    Enjoyed all the links, but especially liked the wesbite Put This On linked to in the comments of the ESB post –
    Intelligent information on men’s clothing!

  • Class of 1980

    There is a lot of truth in the “Marriage Is For Losers” I think. The really successful happy marriages I’ve seen fit that model for sure.

    On the Marissa Mayer issue – I think the historical nature of her position (being made CEO while pregnant) makes it impossible for people not to watch her more closely. I don’t think subsequent women in the same position will ever be scrutinized as much.

    I have to admit my own thoughts on her latest decision at Yahoo have wavered over time. People are saying that it’s ridiculous that an Internet company can’t make telecommuting work, but I figured that considering it’s a company IN TROUBLE, maybe it’s necessary.

    But when I read that she built a nursery next to her office for her own baby, my first thought was that she is tone-deaf. It’s almost like rubbing the employee’s noses in the fact that they have just LOST the same ability to be near their own children. And yes, if a male CEO did that, I’d say the same.

    I know she has extended perks (free food) to the employees, but perhaps creating an on-site daycare would have meant more at this time.

    • meg

      Yes to all of that, though I’m not sure that internet companies make telecommuting more or less feasible. I run one, and while we all telecommute because I don’t have an office, I can see the pluses and minuses of it really clearly. Face time is just important, PARTICULARLY when you’re making a pivot of any kind.

      • Class of 1980

        Yeah, although I don’t think face time needs to be the whole schedule, you do need some. And if you need some face time when you’re doing well, I suppose you need a ton when everything’s going to hell in a hand basket.

    • KC

      I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of telecommuting, but I grasp that getting things straightened out sometimes requires temporarily lousy situations (if someone unknown is stealing office equipment continually, you may have to do things that aren’t as ideal for all the other employees, like have all labelers and whatnot in possession of a secretary and require them to be “checked out”). Better, in many cases, to have your job with fewer perks than to have the company go under and not have a job.

      But some of those employees worked there *based on* the fact that they could telecommute (and hence lived not-close), which seems unfair because of the difference between termination (unemployment benefits) and quitting, which would potentially put people who actually can’t do it in an awkward spot. Either they burn their bridges enough that Yahoo fires them (which is going to make getting a new job rather challenging), or… no unemployment benefits, even though the deal was changed on them?

      Yahoo does have arrangements with a number of childcare centers, but I don’t know if any of the locations are on-site, and they probably aren’t? I would note that the hours a CEO like Marissa Mayer appears to be expecting to work (All The Hours) while she’s doing this major transition are different from what regular employees are expected to work. (which, in the ideal case, is why high-level employees get personal assistants to cover the errands of life) So an office-attached nursery makes a lot of sense as a reducing-the-number-of-non-work-hours tactic, similar to a personal assistant, and probably also reduces the snipey news stories like “Marissa Mayer hasn’t seen her infant for five days” as she sleeps on the couch in her office for a little while during a crisis situation or whatever. But yes, it sounds bad, and probably would be incredibly frustrating to employees who had been telecommuting in order to be more involved in their kids’ lives, so an on-site daycare would have been a nice touch. On the other hand, I don’t know how much of an outlay that would be of time and money (due to regulations and whatnot), and a nursery-next-to-office would potentially cost very little.

      I think the telecommuting choice was probably a “there are no good options here” situation. I don’t know if she made the best choices, but I also don’t know if she made the worst choices. I wish/hope that she’s given telecommuters an “out” that still allows them to collect unemployment or a similar benefit if they absolutely can’t be there in person, though.

  • LoLauren

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