Actor Ryan Gosling won a Golden Globe the other night and offered up an acceptance speech that has been called “Notebook-esque” by his fans. In it, he gave a heartfelt thanks to his girlfriend and partner, actress Eva Mendes, for taking care of the kids while he worked on this project.
Unfortunately, despite his efforts to show his appreciation for his wife, he’s still finding himself labeled a sexist.
She wasn’t just making sure his dinner was cooked by the time he came home, no, she was “raising our daughter, pregnant with our second and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer”. Despite the swooning on social media for his Notebook-esque outpouring, I can’t help but feel that Eva Mendes, an award-winning actor in her own right, took one for the team and provided the emotional labour needed for Gosling to further his own career.
Gosling’s appreciation for his partner, may be genuine but it plays into structural inequality women face in the workplace, least of all Hollywood. Yes, Mendes has agency, and the decision to put her career on the back burner for the sake of her husband’s was hers, but why did she have to make that decision to begin with?
Gosling’s speech runs uncomfortably close to the old adage “behind every great man is a great woman”. No, she’s not behind you: she’s standing right next to you, and maybe you should tell the audience next time that you’ll be home to help out more.
Oh, for crying out loud. This is beyond pathetic.
Acting isn’t like other professions. An acting job isn’t a career in and of itself. Instead, it’s basically a temp job. For a handful of weeks, actors delve deep into their parts and, at the end of it, they go home for weeks on end.
Yes, Ryan Gosling left Mendes at home with the kid while pregnant, but that’s the nature of the job.
Further, due to being pregnant, Mendes was probably not able to work herself. No, not because pregnant women aren’t marketable or anything like that, but because there are only a handful of roles written where the character is pregnant and when shooting a movie, it goes over a long enough time period where the changes become obvious. In short, the director doesn’t have any control over the pregnancy, so they don’t cast pregnant women as a general thing.
So, Ryan went to work and Eva held down the fort.
Since both are actors, it seems reasonable to assume that there’s a bit of back and forth on who goes to work. After all, the two of them have been together for five years now, but Mendes was working fairly steadily until 2014.
Unfortunately, none of that matters. It doesn’t matter if it has been Eva’s decision to stay at home with the kids either. Take this non-sequiter from the article:
This isn’t a trend consigned to the entertainment industry. According to data from the Pew Research Centre, the number of stay-at-home mothers in the USA has been steadily rising for the past 15 years.
Yes, the number of stay-at-home mothers has been rising, and this is despite a strong media push telling them they’re wrong for doing so. Additionally, they live in a world where they don’t actually have to do any such thing but instead are clearly making the choice to stay at home. Why is that?
Women have agency to many feminists…as long as they make decisions these feminists approve of. Being a stay-at-home mom or demanding your partner stay put rather than advance his career, even if you can’t actually advance your own at the moment? That’s just not acceptable.
Either women have agency to make their own decisions, or they don’t. They’re either able to think for themselves, or they’re not. Why is it such an issue if they make different decisions?
Ryan Gosling showed his appreciation for his partner by making it damn clear that he couldn’t have done it without her. Based on this response, he’d have been better off acting like Eva Mendes had no role in his winning anything. You tell me, which is worse?