Asking Women How They "Balance It All" On Awards Show Red Carpets Is Not OK
The #AskHerMore campaign is focused on asking women on Hollywood red carpets more than just what they're wearing. However, I'd like to submit that we retire another problematic and very gendered question on the carpet in addition to that — "how do you balance it all?" Coverage of the 2016 Emmys red carpet saw many hosts asking several female actors how they manage to juggle raising their children and doing their jobs — and that question has seriously got to stop.
Giuliana Rancic, for instance, asked both Ellie Kemper and Heidi Klum the dreaded question. "Women are getting busier and busier," she said to Klum, before questioning how the supermodel could possibly do it. It's insulting to ask this question because, as Tina Fey put it in her memoir Bossypants , there's the underlying passive-aggressive accusation that we women simply must be screwing something up if we're juggling more than just caring for children. And if a woman is achieving more than that, why is it so shocking? It's like a double-edged sword:eEither woman are sacrificing something by having to choose between work and a family, or they're looked at as if they're attempting a seemingly impossible juggling act.
Don't get me wrong: of course it can be difficult to balance work and home life. Everyone struggles with self-motivation, and having children shifts your priorities in a pretty significant way. However, it sucks that this question has to be so gendered, posed only to women. Is nobody interested in how men balance their careers with fatherhood? The expectation just isn't there, and that sucks for the many women, famous or not, who are constantly asked this question. Like Rancic said, women are getting busier and busier, and while men are now picking up more domestic responsibilities, women in two-career marriages still do more in the home, according to The Washington Journal.
Frankly, asking women this question just seems too dated to still be a thing. Maybe if this question was asked to men as often as it was to women, it wouldn't be as bothersome — but until that day comes, maybe it's best to not ask it at all.