Diapers and Diplomacy? Don’t Reduce Samantha’s Power

In an exclusive on “The Today Show,” Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, discusses her thoughts on Syria, her career as a journalist, her regret over calling Hilary Clinton a ‘Monster’, and her life at home where she has two kids, each under the age of five. With all of that interesting and substantive content, how do you think NBC summarized this in the crawl at the bottom?

Yup. They went the “How does a working mom do it?” route. In an effort to use some catchy alliteration (diplomats and diapers both start with the letter D!) they encapsulated the segment by the most gendered part of the interview. And the strangest part, diapers weren’t even mentioned at all.

As Dodai Stewart at Jezebel points out:

Power is 43 and has two kids under the age of 5, ONE of whom wears diapers. Strangely, while Savannah Guthrie's interview with Power does touch on her children, there's actually no mention of diapers. Someone just decided that "diplomats and diapers" sounded good and slapped it on the chyron at the bottom of the screen.

Don’t get me wrong, discussing the struggle between balancing work and raising children is a valid topic. Many families struggle with this, and since it’s an interview in her home it probably makes some sense for Guthrie to ask Power’s thoughts on juggling these two aspects of her life --as Jezebel points out: Power’s son wanders into the interview at one point.

But, can you imagine a male ambassador’s interview being summed up by a similar chryon? The point is, the question of how a mom balances work and family comes up much more frequently than how a dad does it. This is probably why the chyron editor chose to write this headline, it’s a familiar topic that people can relate to and recognize. But until the problem between balancing work and raising kids is associated with working men as much as it is with working women, it will remain gendered, and thus, fair game for criticism. 

Published by Emily Birnbaum on 10/03/2013

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