Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Praise and Criticism for the Today Show
Well, it looks like that Newsweek article I posted on here the other day has really been getting a lot of notice in the media. I couldn't believe my eyes this morning when the Today Show did a spot about it! For those of you who watch the Today Show, you know that they are very parent/family-oriented. In fact, that's the one thing I don't like about the Today Show. They do so many spots on parenting, always with a positive spin and always with this underlying assumption that all their viewers are MOMS. They almost never mention anything about people who choose not to have kids. So I was completely surprised when I saw the spot this morning featuring the author of the Newsweek article talking about how parents are not as happy as people without kids. For the Today Show, this is a real breakthrough!
Let's not get too carried away with our excitment, though. If you watch the clip, it is interesting to note that the Today Show still manages to keep the spot somewhat pronatalist. After a discussion of how people without kids are happier than parents, they make sure to point out that there are rewards of parenting that are so wonderful and indescribable, driving home the relentless message that it's so worth it.
The other interesting thing about this spot is that they chose to spend the last couple minutes of the spot discussing what parents can take away from these studies - ways that parents can make their lives HAPPIER. Given that the Newsweek article focused on studies concluding that childfree people are happier than parents, and given their discussion about the unfair prejudices CF individuals are subject to, they could have spent the last couple minutes of this spot discussing ways that people can be more supportive of those who choose not to have children, or ways we can encourage people to consider this happier lifestyle instead of pressuring people to choose the less-happy parenthood route. They could have illustrated the results of these studies by bringing in some happy CF people to talk about their happy lives, showing that yes indeed -there are fulfilling paths in life other than the sole parenthood path prescribed for everyone. Or, they could have offered advice for childfree people on how to deal with the pressures and prejudices we come up against every day in our culture. But nope. In true Today Show fashion, they managed to turn it around and orient it toward parents and families.
Anyway, it is worth watching and I'd love to read your comments.