Penelope Cruz: ‘We’re all superwomen,’ mothers & the childfree alike

8th AACTA International Awards - Arrivals

Penelope Cruz covers the February issue of Marie Claire to promote her latest film, Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows, a Spanish-language drama which also stars her husband Javier Bardem. Honestly, I like Penelope but I usually find her to be a boring interview. That being said, I enjoyed this piece – maybe it was because Penelope was speaking to a Spanish-speaker, someone who could translate in real time. The editorial though… it’s charmingly dated. The cover looks so vintage, and the rest of the photos are like that too, complete with acid-washed jeans. You can read the full Marie Claire cover story here. Some highlights:

Her family life with Javier Bardem: “You know it’s the beginning of something, but you don’t know what it’s the beginning of….My life is…a very different life. But it’s the life that I always wanted since I was a little girl. When I was four or five, I was already performing, and the characters in my games were always mothers. I really wanted to be a mother, for as long as I can remember. But I did it when I felt the time was right—the right time, the right person.”

On motherhood: “The thing is, I never speak about the children in interviews. I don’t care if people think I’m strange; that’s sacred for me. So let me think how I can address that without talking about them…It’s the thing that has made me happiest. But there are a lot of things that have surprised me about it. It’s like a revolution inside you—a very animal-like one. The whole world looks different. You’ll never think of yourself first again, and I think that’s a very good thing. It happens in a second.”

The taboos related to women: “There are so many taboos related to women. You realize when you go through the whole process that society tricks women a lot—and men too. This image society gives you—that you have to be a super-woman, that you need to be out of hospital in 24 hours, wearing high heels. No, you already are a superwoman! We’re all superwomen—those of us who have children and those of us who don’t.”

The working class actress: “My job is normal for me. I’ve had to work very hard, and that’s what I see in my family. I don’t feel that my life is different from that.”

Hollywood isn’t the only industry where women get abused: “A teacher or a doctor, they’re not going to get a microphone and somebody asking them: ‘What’s your situation? Are you suffering these things?’ So it’s important to me to make clear that I’m not just talking about our industry. It affects women in all industries and every single country, and I speak for them, the ones that are never going to be asked that question… It’s good to remember that men can be victims of this too. This can’t be about more division. If we don’t do this together, it’s useless.”

[From Marie Claire]

I like that Penelope finds that balance of talking about her experience and desires and journey without making it sound like every woman should do the same: “We’re all superwomen—those of us who have children and those of us who don’t.” She wanted to be a mother, she wanted a quiet family life in Spain, she waited for the right guy, etc. Those were her choices, her journey, but she’s not judging other women’s choices. It’s not that hard, but so many celebrity women do fall into that trap. Also: even though Woody Allen was canceled a long time ago, I still watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona a few times when it was on TV recently and… while the film does not hold up, Penelope’s Oscar-winning performance really does. I’m actually sort of fine with her winning the Oscar for that.

Cover and photo courtesy of Marie Claire.

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17 Responses to “Penelope Cruz: ‘We’re all superwomen,’ mothers & the childfree alike”

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  1. Tiffany says:

    Okay, her comment about abuse…did not bother me.

    I really thought that was going to go off the rails.

  2. adastraperaspera says:

    The first thing I ever saw her in was Pedro Almodóvar’s movie “All About My Mother.” I’ve been enthralled with her ever since. Being a 90s girl, I of course love the vibe of the photos.

  3. Bettyrose says:

    It’s a touchy issue, but speaking as someone who is childfree by choice, when I leave work after a 9 or 10 hour day, I am amazed by my coworkers going home to cook family dinners and help with homework. I’m cool with calling parents superheroes.

    • Tiffany says:

      As another childfree by choice parent, I too have had co workers who would talk about the things that they have to do after leaving work and it honesty reads like a second job and that is if they have a partner or babysitter to help.

    • meh says:

      As a CFBC woman, I do not think someone choosing to have children makes them any better than anyone else.

    • Annabel says:

      Anyone who thinks women with children are somehow “better” needs their head examined, but my personal experience has been that having a kid is objectively much harder than not having a kid—e.g. it used to be possible to sleep in past 5 a.m. when I was sick—so I really appreciate @Bettyrose’s comment. For myself, I only have one kid, so I’m in awe of mothers who somehow manage two or three or more.

    • AnotherDirtyMartini says:

      Agree BettyRose! How do you superhero parents do it? I’ve known parents that worked full time & went to college full time, as did I…but I didn’t have tons of laundry to do, and meals to cook, and children to bathe, and read stories to, etc etc etc. I don’t know how people do it. Take university out of the equation and it still feels impossible because there are errands galore to run…wow. Just wow…(standing ovation for those great parents).

      And for all of us, single or not, with children or not. Being a woman means we’ve all put up with a lot of $hit. And we’re still here, fighting the good fight.

  4. Aoife says:

    This ‘all women are superwomen’ nonsense is really grating! No, we’re all flawed human beings. If everyone is super then no one is super.

    • Case says:

      I think it just means that we’re all powerful and have the ability to do great things. Superheroes have flaws, too. 🙂 I think it’s a lovely sentiment.

  5. minx says:

    Just watched The Assassination of Gianni Versace, she was excellent in it.

  6. GreenQueen says:

    I don’t know, I agree that all women are superheroes. President Carter had it right when he said no other group has been marginalized throughout history more than women. We have been degraded and treated as less than men for thousands of years. Only now, in the last century or so, we have leveled out the playing field and we still have a very long way to go. In that time, we have had to work even harder because men haven’t taken over as many of the duties of the household as women have. So we work in two stratospheres, in society and the raising of the children and household maintenance. It’s friggin exhausting! With worklife has brought more opportunity for harassment, i for one have been assaulted at work more times than I can count. And Penelope is right again, nobody handed me a microphone asking about my abuse as a nurse.

  7. h3Rh1GHN3SS says:

    YES YES YES as a woman who chooses not to be a mother, Its great to be validated by a woman who has kids, usually we are dismissed as not having ‘arrived’ or something terribly lacking in us. This is progress! GIRLPOWERRRRR

  8. Sadezilla says:

    I’m late to the game but I really enjoyed her soundbites. This is how you speak about women, and humans in general, celebrities! People with different experiences from yours can enrich your life.

  9. Dee Kay says:

    I love her comments!!! Every woman that I am friends with (I’m talking grown women over the age of 35) can really do it all, it seems to me. They can do everything on the domestic front and everything on the career front. The husbands just seem to “help” them get it done. I swear that when women get divorced these days, it’s more like, “Phew, now I’m free of some of my load” rather than “Who’s going to be my next man?” Of course we still have such a long ways to go to achieve pay equity and opportunities at the top jobs (including POTUS) and workload equity when it comes to household duties/childrearing. But women today are soooo competent and well-rounded. (I know there are exceptions, and many women who can’t be as competent or well-rounded than others, I am making a gross generalization about my friends network.)

  10. Julie says:

    This was a great interview. I agree with those that said it’s nice to hear this from someone who is a mother! I’m sure she wouldn’t want her daughter to be criticized for choosing not to be a mother or anyone close to her and knows that her own decision to become a mother was a personal one and that one choice isn’t better than the other. Her words kind of level the playing fields in this area, as it should be! Love her and this interview!