How The Media Limits Moms

This past week, E! Online published an excerpt from Elle Magazine’s June interview with Angelina Jolie, that provides an example of the many ways in which the media tends to stereotype motherhood.

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(Screenshot via E! Online)

E!‘s title, “Angelina Jolie Worried She Would Never Have Children, Be in Love or Meet the Right Person,” could be trying to humanize Jolie, as one comment reflects: “it’s nice to know that celebrities have the same thoughts and feelings as the rest of our humble lot.”

But the truth is that this reduction of Jolie’s life to her partner and kids is a harmful stereotype that devalues women as dynamic and complex individuals.

Jolie is a humanitarian, a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, and an all around advocate for peace and justice. Yet, the media perpetuates a limiting portrayal of Jolie, of mothers, and women in general that is pervasive in the news. In our recent Google+ Hangout with Melissa Wardy, the author of “Redefining Girly” reminded us that being a mom is just one aspect of her whole life.

As we celebrate motherhood this weekend, remember that we’re celebrating people who have played a role in our life in more ways than one. They might have taught us about anything from work-life balance, to working out. Whatever it may be, let’s remember to celebrate the many aspects of motherhood.