It was during the final minute of the interview that Jolie, who happened to be sitting next to Foreign Secretary William Hague, responded to the question of whether she ever thinks her humanitarian work is more rewarding than her acting. “I think I’m going to have to give up acting as the kids hit the teenage years anyway, because there’s going to be too much to manage at home,” she said, adding, “If it went away tomorrow, I’d be very happy to just be home with my children.” And that was totally the most significant part of the whole piece. Not William Hague calling the situation in Syria “one of the worst things happening in the world today.”
…Jolie’s acknowledgment that the obligations of parenthood don’t end when a kid is toilet trained – a sentiment that became part of the national conversation earlier this year whenAnne-Marie Slaughter famously railed about “having it all” — would, in the context of a different discussion, have been a legitimate jumping-off point for another public discourse of work and motherhood. I would like to point out, however, that, gosh, it’d sure be nice if a woman’s choices about how to raise her family didn’t always seem to come with a big fat wave of A-HA! She can’t hack it! By all means, let’s focus on making sure women everywhere are reminded that, as the CS Monitor tells us, Jolie and Pitt “can hire whatever help they want. Nannies, housekeepers, tutors, LEGO experts, whatever. But still, parenthood changes things.” Thanks, helpy helpertons!
It’d be even nicer if the takeaway from an 11-minute segment about bringing aid to women who’ve been sexually assaulted could be something other than the big news that Angelina Jolie says she’d be happy staying home with her kids. I swear to God, I can’t imagine how emotionally deficient a journalist would have to be to watch a story about harrowing sexual violence and boil it down to a headline about who’s quitting acting.
I also read this piece in Salon and it is fundamentally flawed. Jolie does not work in aid, she does not work in international relations and nor does she work in development or development research. She is an actress (not a very good one for the amount of money and fame she commands) that is able to use this visibility to be a face (one of many) and make simplistic shallow comments about aid. This is my area of work (overseas development/aid work etc) and I have worked in many countries as well as for the UN and the only thing she should be representing is acting. She is given an immense amount of space to voice her opinion, none of which come from anything other than a simplistic understanding, and fly in fly out visits (incidentally I know quite a few people that have met her in this capacity) to areas where people are actually working and should be the ones voicing opinions. The more complex question about aid (late alone the multitude of other issues in this area) is much more nuanced than how much should we give. In terms of her involvement with Syrian refugees, I would far far far prefer to hear from the many many people that are educated in this area and currently working in Syria – not some overpaid actress.
If she Is to speak about something, she should speak up about acting or adoption and how to make it easier. I have always been pro-adoption (still am) and I was one of the people to say “why not adopt” – I have since realised that it is clearly harder and more expensive than I realised. But people don’t know about adoption as it’s not common knowledge – she could do a lot for funding for people who want to adopt, etc. Without her vast resources, one wonders if she would have so many kids. Her first son, Maddox was given to her as an twice married, recently separated actress. The woman who brokered it was the key person wanted in illegal child selling (trafficking) about 6 years ago that was the subject of a few UK news programmes.
I have nothing against Ms Jolie, she seems like a nice, switched on, cool and interesting person – but in terms of every “celebrity” given a platform to voice their thoughts (Most of which will be spoon fed information) is just another dumbing down of what could be a complicated and nuanced discussion with people who actually should be asked. And Mary Elizabeth Williams, the writer at Salon doesn’t know enough about this area of work to write an article about it. On top of which, most people will read legitimate news about the exchange in legitimate papers. The journalists that asked her about her personal life no doubt realise two things 1) this pointless interest in celebrity is the whole reason why some actress is sitting next to Hague rather than someone who has been working with the refugees/rape victims in Syria and could lend actual thoughts that mean something 2) these people will only be interested in pointless news about her 3) anyone who is actually interested/knowledgeable about Syria is not going to give a toss what Ms Jolie thinks because they will be reading legitimate news sources.
Which all means that the point of the Salon article was wrong and a waste of time.
I do agree with comments re: Jolie but I still find the obsession with celebrity motherhood strange.
Yes me too (didn’t mean to imply I didn’t, if I did?). I agree – I mean, honestly, who cares. I never read People, but I know there is a whole Mother/baby section. It’s odd I think. I have kids, but you would think this generation of women are the first to ever have had children. I do think the whole thing has become this media obsessed “cult of motherhood” – and it seems to have gone hand in hand with this celebrity crazed world we now live in.