The real story behind Elizabeth Vargas' departure.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
May 25 2006 5:42 PM

Pregnant Pause

What's the real story behind Elizabeth Vargas' departure from World News Tonight?

(Continued from Page 1)

What everyone is talking around are some of the same issues we didn't talk about last year during the brief national flip-out over the dearth of women columnists in major newspapers. Somewhere between the insanity of the assertion that a pregnant woman asked to be benched permanently from a major news show (for her second child but not her first), the bland media assertions that the pregnancy was a convenient smoke screen for legitimate business decisions, and the overreaction from advocates and feminists who see this as brazen discrimination, there may even be some snippets of truth.

At the core of all this chatter is also an interesting and unspoken problem about pregnancy and maternity, and the ways in which women who are fully competent to do any job at any other time may nevertheless falter or choose to rejigger their priorities for a few years. There were days during my pregnancies when I couldn't even rinse and spit, much less cover a major news story. When do you think I'll be allowed to write that without setting back the feminist cause?

Advertisement

Everyone is turning Elizabeth Vargas' pregnancy into a referendum on pregnant women in the workplace, and particularly in the media, because it's happening on a big screen in front of us, but also in our homes and our book groups. Vargas isn't just carrying the extra weight of her unborn baby here; she's carrying the weight of a whole nation of people who still see gender in absolute and defining terms. Maybe the reason we can't quite stomach a hugely pregnant news anchor is that we can't even manage to talk coherently about all the ways in which they somehow freak us out.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.