MSNBC’s Chris Hayes sent a subtle message last week when he interviewed The New Republic editor Rebecca Traister. When “All In” producers tracked down Traister for a last-minute interview about Hillary Clinton and her email, the TNR editor said she could do it, but she had her newborn baby with her. No problem, they said.
As Randye Hoder writes in Fortune, the interview was your typical cable news segment–anchor asks questions, interview subject gives answers, and it’s all over in about five minutes. Only there was a baby on board:
As I watched the interview, I couldn’t get over the fact that two worlds were colliding on live TV: that of the pundit and that of the parent.
In most professional settings, there still is great pressure for women to pretend that their kids don’t exist, at least from 9 to 5. Women feel the need to go out of their way to avoid the stigma—yes, stigma—of being labeled a mom.They don’t say they’re leaving work early for a parent teacher conference. Instead, they say, “I have a meeting.”
Effortlessly, Hoder argues, the interview broke down the strange mystical barrier between working and Mom. “In a public, high-profile, but matter-of-fact sort of way, Traister and Hayes were saying, ‘Newborn baby, breastfeeding mom, no big deal—let’s get to work.'”
“It seemed totally natural,” Hayes told Fortune. “This is part of…normalizing that kind of thing.”