UMaine professor to be guest on syndicated talk show 'Katie'

Posted:  Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 10:15am

ORONO — University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone will share her expertise about childfree adults with Katie Couric on an upcoming broadcast of Katie slated for Sept. 16. 

According to a news release from UMaine, Amy Blackstone, associate professor and chair of the school's sociology department, was a guest on the show taped on Aug. 27 in front of an audience at ABC's TV1 Studio in New York City. Blackstone said that producers of the talk show are 99 percent sure that it will air on Sept. 16. She added that it was rewarding to discuss sociological research on a national stage.

"I hope the show will help dispel the myths that continue to pervade when it comes to perceptions of the childfree," said Blackstone. "Two of the biggest misperceptions of the childfree are that they are selfish and that they die lonely and miserable. The research shows that neither stereotype is true. I was grateful for the chance to describe that work."

For Blackstone, having the opportunity to describe research during an interview with a role model was "truly the experience of a lifetime."

"I came into adulthood watching and admiring Katie on the TODAY Show," Blackstone said. "She was truly one of my idols as a young woman in my 20s looking for models of how I'd like to be professionally. I'm still a little stunned when I think about the fact that I not only got to meet someone I admire — I got to be interviewed by her."

Blackstone said that during the interview Couric asked about the supposed "mom gene."

"What I appreciated ... was the chance to discuss research showing that while the desire to nurture kids once women have them may be genetic, there's very little scientific evidence to suggest that we have an instinctual drive to have kids," Blackstone said.

She added: "The key force behind the desire to have kids is socialization. Children are taught from a very young age that one of the most important things they can do when they grow up is become parents. Girls in particular are taught both that they are natural caretakers and that their primary role — and primary aspiration — should be to become a mother."

Two childfree couples and Lauren Sandler, author of the August TIME Magazine article "The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children," were other guests on the show. At the taping, Blackstone also met fellow childfree blogger Piper Hoffman and Madeline Lane, founder of ChildfreeNYC, a group of childfree-by-choice people in Manhattan.

Amy Blackstone described her experience on Katie in a recent post on her blog, "We're {not} Having a Baby!"

Katie airs at 4 p.m. weekdays on WLBZ 2 in Bangor and WCSH 6 in Portland-Auburn.