What Natalie said

by Sarah on March 3, 2011 · 3 comments

At the Oscars this weekend, Natalie Portman, who won Best Actress for her role in Black Swan referred to her impending motherhood as "the most important role of her life," during her acceptance speech.  I was watching the Oscars, and thought it was a very sweet comment.  Though I'm not a mother myself, I have heard from my own and others that it's an incredibly rewarding experience, and that while other things are important, nothing else comes close to this.  That was more or less the only thought I gave to the comment.

Natalie Portman accepts her Oscar

Little did I realize the conflict this statement would create!  Comments erupted on Twitter, decrying her comment and trivializing her pregnancy.  Slate magazine called Natalie wrong, and called for Natalie to focus on her Harvard degree, her distinguished acting career, and to not get bogged down in focusing on reproducing only.  According to the author, by saying motherhood is important, Natalie has lessened the importance of everything else, and cautions that she doesn't "have to backhandedly downplay one to be proud of the other." Well.  That seems like putting words into Natalie Portman's mouth.  Fortunately not all those who call themselves feminist have let articles like Slate's speak for them.  Politics Daily stood up for Natalie.  In an article written yesterday, writer Joanne Bamberger stands up for Natalie.    She observes:
If you step off the career ladder for a moment to be a mom, you're blasted by the feminists you thought were your allies, as well as younger generations who castigate you for not being true to your original feminist values. And once you accept the moniker of "mom" into your life, those who took you and your profession seriously are suddenly willing to toss you onto a mommy track that suggests that your parental role means you're no longer dedicated to other goals.
It seems that according to some feminists, you just can't win.  Fortunately for Natalie, she's got her priorities in order the way she wants them.  Congratulations, Natalie!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth March 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I watched this too and thought it was one of the most innocent, sweetest moments on TV! It makes me extremely angry that feminists and other women are saying those terrible things about her. Although I’m not a mother either, I believe it is the most honorable, hardest, most rewarding role you can ever have. Why aren’t feminists supporting her decision to be a mother?


Emily March 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I find this interesting because Natalie Portman is a liberal feminist and even called Black Swan itself feminist (it’s about Nina’s repressed sexuality, growth and independence). Feminism is about choices and luckily Natalie will be able to have it all–be an actress, a scholar, hopefully an equal partner in her marriage to Benjamin Millipied, and of course a mother.


Lauren March 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm

It’s also interesting to note that Natalie is pregnant out of wedlock. As much as I applaud her for choosing to focus on motherhood, I cannot support her irresponsible decision to get pregnant without being married first. I understand that she won’t be your “typical” single mother (struggling to make ends meet, bringing strange men into her home, etc). However, like it or not, she is a role model to young girls. And not every young girl out there will be able to overcome single motherhood.


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