Rebel Wilson, 42, has recently been slammed for attending Leonardo DiCaprio’s birthday party in the same month her daughter Royce Lillian was born via surrogate, and everyone needs to take a breath and check their misogyny.
Yes, she’s been a parent for less than a month, and she’s already experienced being mum-shamed. Wilson posted a since-deleted video of herself having a fun time at DiCaprio’s party, and the comments were flooded with criticism that she was out on the town when she had a newborn at home.
Maybe this would be a fair criticism if men ever had to experience the same kind of scrutiny. I am desperately waiting for a male celebrity to post a candid shot of him having fun, and someone comments: “Why aren’t you at home looking after your kids?”
There has always been a double standard regarding how we expect new mums to behave versus new dads. Basically, if you want to be considered a “good” mum by society’s standards, you are only allowed to be a mum. Forget parties, friends, a career. It is all over. Your whole identity must be geared around being a parent. Otherwise, you’ll be painted as selfish, neglectful, and undeserving of being a mother in the first place.
Alternatively, your life can continue as normal if you’re a man. There are so many examples of this, but to look at just one, let’s take Chris Hemsworth.
The Aussie megastar has three kids – the oldest of whom is 10. Yet no one is questioning how good he is as a father despite the fact that he’s currently the star of one of the biggest Marvel movies of all time.
Filming Thor would take up plenty of time, involve various commitments and promotional work, and I am still waiting to see one single article questioning if he can still be a good dad and a superhero.
Similarly, Brad Pitt has recently been a tabloid fixture lately because he’s hot out on the dating scene. Most recently, he was spotted with nutritionist Ines De Ramon at a Bono concert, and no one is asking where the kids are. Or asking if he can still be a good dad while also partying and dating.
In comparison, Olivia Wilde left her partner and started a relationship with Harry Styles and has spoken candidly about the fact that just because she’s in a new relationship and focusing on her career doesn’t mean she’s a bad mother or a neglectful one. She recently told Elle: “If I’m photographed not with my kids, people assume I have abandoned them, like my kids are just somewhere in a hot car without me. The suggestion is that I have abandoned my role as a mother.”
This sums up people’s assumptions about women whenever they aren’t with their children.
Are you seeing a common thread here? Men are allowed to have public lives outside of their children, and no one blinks an eye. The second women do, they are hit with the bad mum stick. It’s all very exhausting and depressing.
I understand there’s an argument here that most new mums wouldn’t be out on the town a month after having a baby, but that’s because they don’t have the support celebrities with money tend to have.
There’s no doubt that Wilson likely has a nanny and a nurse at her beck and call to help her with her baby because, frankly, that is just a perk of being a celebrity.
But the fact that we still hold mothers to a different standard than fathers isn’t helping anyone. Wilson can dance, drink and raise a baby. How do we know? Because men do it all the time.
Mary Madigan is a freelance writer.
Originally published at www.news.com.au