Now the News: Couric Still Isn’t One of the Boys


The NY Times recently published an article by Bill Carter titled Now the News: Couric Still Isn't One of the Boys, analyzing why Katie Couric's gig on CBS hasn't lived up to expectations.

Using the ‘dare to dream' lens, let's analyze this further. Shall we?

1. Archetype mis-match — When you look at Todd Heisler's above photograph, Ms. Couric looks isolated, almost forlorn. I can't help but think of the Bem Sex-Role Inventory's definition of femininity: Girls are only considered feminine within the context of a relationship and when they are giving something to someone else. The images of Ms. Couric on The Today Show are in sync with our society's view of femininity. The CBS News images are not.

Contrast the above with those Carter describes as “swashbuckling correspondents

[e.g. Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather] who became cool doing hard news”. This swashbuckler image foots with what we consider masculine: the solitary man (think Johnny Depp in Pirates and Pierce Brosnan as James Bond) slays the dragon, returns a hero, tells the tale.

In other words, our conscious mind may want to support a Ms. Couric, especially if we watched her faithfully on The Today Show, but we don't. Because there's a mismatch between what we instinctively believe and what we see.

2. Ms. Couric isn't playing to her strengths — This is closely tied to the above, except that Ms. Couric can't change what other people believe, while she can change what she does. Which is to play to her strengths — her innate talents, competencies, principles, and identity.

I don't know whether she reports hard news well. She probably does or she wouldn't be where she is. But her ability to chase down news is secondary to her girl-next-door persona.

So why would she have opted in to a situation which wasn't her?

Because of what the title intimates — that to count we need to be one of the boys.

And because our society doesn't really value women's core strengths of connecting and collaborating unless a man displays them, we start to believe we're Leah.

Because we want Leah to permanently leave the building (she likes to slip in unawares), will you consider the following:

1) Think about women in the public eye whom you admire. Do you consider these women to be feminine? Does that mean that they don't have power to get their dreams done? Or do they?

2) How can we work with the the archetypes and ideas that prevail in our society, rather than fighting against them?

3) Have you thought any more about your strengths? Relish them. Leverage them. Figure out how to pursue your dream in a context that values your strengths.

4) And if you can't find a system, club, business, or group of friends that will value your strengths, why not find like-minded people and start your own?

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