Thursday, April 12, 2012

Google's Marissa Mayer: Passion is a gender-neutralizing force

This interview with Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of Local, Maps and Localization Services, is part of CNN's Leading Women series.

In the early days of Google, she and most of the technical staff routinely worked 100-hour weeks. However, she was motivated to do so, because she felt that the technology that Google was developing was really important. And indeed it has turned out be. Aside from the incomparable search engine, the company has birthed many tools that have changed how we work, find and use information and play today.


deji said...

I'm 58 years old, so it hardly matters anymore. Or so I usually tell myself. But it was extremely painful in my twenties and thirties. My disability is completely hidden in normal circumstances, and would be completely and essentially exposed during sexual intimacy. I was born with my bladder outside my body, no bone where a pubic bone should be, and other slight misplacements in that general area. After several corrective and cosmetic surgeries, my body still neither looks nor functions normally. And I leak urine. The thought of a man seeing my naked body or touching me there makes my entire being shrivel.

I was a very attractive young woman - pretty face, beautiful blue eyes, nice figure. I'm smart, can be charming and funny and interesting. But if a man seems attracted to me, I freeze, shut down, run away.

Because what he cannot know, but I know too well, is that sexual relations would be so complicated, so embarrassing, so fraught, that not only can I not bear to consider a relationship, I can scarcely bear the thought of a date. Because I came of age in the seventies, when dating had one goal - sex. Maybe I could get away with nothing more than a kiss (which I could enjoy) on a first date, but after that, how do I keep his hands from roaming? Beyond the question of when to make the big revelation (the third date?) was always, how do I talk about it? It is so private, so peculiar, so unpleasant. What words do I use, the crude or the clinical?

So in my twenties I was routinely told I was the most "uptight" person they'd ever met; with the two men I really made an effort with, to whom I did reveal my secret, I was ridiculed for my awkwardness and unease (the first time the ridicule made me tell him, but the second guy actually did it after, as a way to say he didn't want to see me again).

I tried to think that my pretty face, my lovely breasts, my nice legs were enough; that my sense of humor would help; that the most important sexual organ is the mind; that the "right" man would see beyond the outward ugliness to the beauty within. But I was either unlucky, or too cowardly, or too proud, or a lethal combination of all of the above. I am a virgin, a spinster; I have never been loved.

I could write a book - I'm trying to write a book - about my 40-year failure at love and romance, an attempt to figure out why I was never able to make the leap to intimacy when others with seemingly worse disabilities could. This is my first anonymous step.

Ore, what do you think.I am really moved.It is from a series about dating with disabilities that am reading at the moment.

Ore said...

Interesting read, Deji. And very sad too. This appears, by all indications, to be a particularly difficult disability to live with (I don't mean to suggest that any disability is easy).

What is the title of this collection?