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Mon Jun 30, 2014, 08:57 PM

Barra/Lauer Interview: reframing the question

I wanted to address two subjects that hit me as I watched the interview and I want to get your feedback on my reactions. Let me say here that I mean no dispargement of Ms. Barra in discussing the interview; it is just one example of a universal situation.

First what is the purpose of asking "can you do both"?

This is the macho version of have you stopped beating your wife.
This nonquestion is designed to remind all viewers that women are handicapped in the business world; that they lose some intangible "mommy" ability when they are successful. In fact, Lauer says that it's okay for him to ask the questions because she brought it up: by mentioning her family. As if mention of a family suddenly generates a doubt that she can do the job: OMG, she has a family.

Lauer is not interested in if Ms. Barra "thinks" she can do the job; he is interested in framing the interview.
Though Ms. Barra's answer seemed reasonable, it only legitimatized the question and put her on the defensive. The question made Lauer a "hard hitter" and Barra's answer, "I think I can", sounded defensive and weak.

Second, why do business women still fall into the trap of answering nonquestions? I am sure that as a successful business woman, Ms. Barra has been taught the fundamentals of answering hard questions as well as the importance of public relations. But on national tv, given an opportunity to provide a strong answer that highlights the subtext fo the question, she stumbles.

This is not the first time that question has been asked, and yet she had not a prepared answer. Where was her training in dealing with gender stereotypes?

My feeling is that she needed to reframe the interview by emphasizing that this is not the first job she's had since having a family. She's already done it: raised a family and was a business success.

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Reply Barra/Lauer Interview: reframing the question (Original post)
cheyanne Jun 2014 OP
Gormy Cuss Jun 2014 #1

Response to cheyanne (Original post)

Mon Jun 30, 2014, 09:55 PM

1. I wish that her response had been on the lines of "the same way you juggle parenthood, Matt"

because that's the only way the dolt would be forced to admit that it's a sexist assumption.

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