The December issue of British Vogue has the following plopped upon its cover: “High Tech Heroines: The Silicon Valley wives and girlfriends.”
The article calls out an alpha trio of this new breed (with the phrase “Swags”) as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, co-founder of One Kings Lane Ali Pincus, and Kleiner Perkins partner Juliet de Baubigny (or, in Vogue’s words a “stylish venture capitalist” who “manages her frenetic family life … through judicious spreadsheeting”).
These women could all be justifiably classified as “high tech heroines.” But Vogue framed them as “wives and girlfriends.” Sure, Marissa Mayer is married. But Vogue seems to think her primary identity is as Zack Bogue’s wife.
Here are three other ways we thought the piece was dumb:
1. In its before-and-after comparison of California’s “nerds’ paradise,” Vogue’s Nicole Mowbray describes the Valley before the Swags took over as characterised by “Converse, baggy jeans, and a hoody” where people held brief dinners in local diners to leave everyone “time to code until the small hours.” Now that the ladies have moved in though, it’s apparently all about “networking cocktail nights” and glamour. Subtext: the dudes were focused on creating new companies but the girls are more interested in fashion and booze.
2. Not a single member of the “alpha set” spoke on the record to Mowbray. She does, however, talk to Bita Daryabari as a testament to how women can prosper in Silicon Valley. Yet Daryabari’s story, per Vogue, goes like this: She was working her way up in the telecommunications industry, got married, quit her job to focus on her kids, and had her (now ex) husband become a multi-billionaire by being Google’s twelfth employee.
3. Mowbray says that Swags are not just arm candy and are more likely to be seen “power-walking to a business summit than driving to a spray-tan appointment in the latest Ferrari.” Because everyone else in the Valley drives a Ferrari, right?