In 2016, it always remains a sad thing to see women passing judgement on other women for their life choices, but it still happens regardless. Motherhood is a particular topic that never fails to generate debate and discussion, and women can bear the brunt of backlash if, for example, they do or don’t advocate breastfeeding. Or if they have reached a later life stage and have chosen not to have children. And even those who are in the non-biological mother’s camp have been subjected to belittling comments. It’s frequently a case of “you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t” and actress Emily Blunt is the latest to speak out against these societal pressures women are subjected to.
In her much-anticipated new movie, The Girl on the Train, Blunt plays an alcoholic woman, struggling to cope with her divorce and failed fertility treatment. She begins to develop an obsession with a young couple with a seemingly “perfect” family and baby though the woman (played by Haley Bennett), doesn’t want the baby.
At the film’s world premiere, Blunt has used the movie as a means of addressing societal pressures on women to become mothers – and the divisions it creates amongst them as a result, otherwise known as what she calls a “mommy cult.”
“I think there is a huge societal pressure on women when it comes to motherhood, this sort of mummy cult that goes on,” Blunt explained. “And I think it sort of makes women feel that they have to be a bit defensive about the choices that they make, whether they want to be a mother, whether they don’t, whether they want to breastfeed, whether they don’t. I could go on and on.”
“In the domestic world, I think it’s when women can be a bit cruel about each other, more so than any other environment. And I think this film captures that.” And in today’s daily dose of sexism, in response to critics who said she was “too pretty” to play the character of Rachel (has anyone ever asked Brad Pitt the same thing?), she said: “I think people should see the film before they decide if they think I look pretty or not.”
And while it is positive that her comments will draw more attention to the societal pressures of motherhood, what we really need to see is less judgment. Less of the degrading comments and more vocal support amongst women who are going through the joys and challenges that go along with motherhood, regardless of how they choose to go about this.