UMaine Professor to Appear with Couric on ‘Katie’

University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone shares her expertise about childfree adults with Katie Couric on an upcoming broadcast of Katie.

Blackstone says producers of the talk show are 99 percent sure the show will air Sept. 16.

The associate professor and chair of UMaine’s sociology department says 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,” says Blackstone, who was a guest on the show taped  Aug. 27 in front of an audience at ABC’s TV1 Studio in New York City.

“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.”

And having the opportunity to describe research during an interview with a role model was “truly the experience of a lifetime,” Blackstone says.

“I came into adulthood watching and admiring Katie on the Today Show,” Blackstone says. “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 says 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 says. “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,” are other guests on the show. Blackstone also met fellow childfree blogger Piper Hoffman and Madeline Lane, founder of ChildfreeNYC, a group of childfree-by-choice people in Manhattan, at the taping.

The second season of Katie started Sept. 9. The show airs at 4 p.m. weekdays on WLBZ 2 in Bangor and WCSH 6 in Portland-Auburn. Couric co-anchored the TODAY Show for 15 years and anchored and was managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric for six years.