I understand why for some people, “When are you going to have a baby?” may seem like a harmless question. But it’s actually intrusive and sexist. Yes, even for celebrities, no matter how much people think they’re entitled to their personal affairs. For actresses especially, the baby question, along with “When are you getting married?” are among the most asked from them. For instance, Jennifer Aniston struggled with it for most of her career. Even Miley Cyrus, who just got married last December, is already facing pregnancy rumors. In a very Miley move, she used the most-liked egg meme to answer the speculation, saying she’s not ‘Egg-xpecting’ and though she too is “’Egg-cited’ for this next chapter in our lives…. Now, can everyone leave me alone and go back to staring at an egg.”
I’m not “ Egg-xpecting” but it’s “Egg-celent” to hear everyone is so “ Happy For Us” …. we’re happy for us too! “Egg-cited” for this next chapter in our lives…. Now , can everyone leave me alone and go back to staring at an egg. pic.twitter.com/uPya87cDSz
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) January 17, 2019
While Miley downplayed her response, Margot got serious in hers. The 28-year-old actress said the question of when is she having a baby makes her “so angry.”
Alright, so I know a lot of people (especially men) are confused with her reaction. After all, it seems like a normal, even nice, question. Like some trivial thing that inevitably comes up during small talk. And that’s exactly why you need to keep reading: Consider this a lesson on why you should refrain from asking that seemingly innocent question. As I’ve mentioned, it’s intrusive or insensitive. The woman you might be asking is struggling to get pregnant, or recovering from a miscarriage. Having to explain that might open up a world of pain for her. Obviously, her reproductive situation is none of your business. Also, she might not want to have a child at all. Which brings us to our second reason, which ticked off Margot: it’s sexist. One is because it assumes that all married women, or any women at all, should have kids. It tends to promote the belief that in the end, no matter their accomplishments, women are reduced to their roles as someone else’s wife or mother. Like Vogue wrote, “It’s highly reductive: Never mind that Robbie is an Oscar-nominated actress with her own production company. While promoting her latest film, the emergent line of questioning is: When are you having kids already?”
True enough, she is one of the busiest actresses. Aside from her production company, she has nine projects lined up this year, including Barbie, and the spin-off Harley Quinn movie. So why is anyone asking her about babies? Surely, her projects alone provide no shortage for possible interview questions. Sadly, Margot revealed: “I got married (to filmmaker Tom Ackerley, in 2016), and the first question in almost every interview is ‘Babies? When are you having one?’” That constant line of question understandably get annoying. “How dare some old guy dictate what I can and can’t do when it comes to motherhood or my own body?” Margot said. It gets even more frustrating because as she noted, “Only women get asked that when they get married. Men don’t.”
Ironically enough, Margot recently played Queen Elizabeth I in the film Mary Queen of Scots—a woman who faced immense pressure and scrutiny for not being able to produce an heir. “Unfortunately, it’s a conversation we’re still having,” Margot told Radio Times magazine. It’s important to note that Queen Elizabeth I was very real, and she lived in the 16th century. That was 500 years ago! After centuries of patriarchal ideologies dominating society, that narrative of women pressured to produce children still lingers. “I’m so angry that there’s this social contract. You’re married, now have a baby. Don’t presume. I’ll do what I’m going to do,” Margot said.
I have no doubt Margot will do just that. Meanwhile, I hope this and her response enlightened you to think before you ask married women the baby question.
Art by Marian Hukom
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