Sex in the City starlet Kim Cattrall is well-know for a lot of things. Being sexy. Being bold. But being a mom? The nearly 59-year-old, thrice-married (but currently single) bombshell Cattrall never had any biological children, nor has she adopted — but don’t call her “childless.”
CBS News is reporting that Cattrall raised eyebrows during a recent BBC Radio interview. That’s when Kim claimed that it’s possible to be a parent even if you’re not technically a parent.
“I am a parent. I have young actors and actresses that I mentor. I have nieces and nephew that I am very close to, so I think the thing that I find questionable about being childless or child-free [is]: Are you really? There is a way to become a mother in this day and age that doesn’t include your name on the child’s birth certificate.”
Following Kim Cattrall’s controversial assertion, social media went into a frenzy.
So, what’s made Kim Cattrall’s comments so “controversial” to begin with? We live in a world with increasingly undefined roles and diverse families. We adopt, we use surrogates and sperm-donors, we have foster families, single-parent families, and same-sex parent families. Is it really so offensive for Kim to wear the “mom hat”?
Upworthy may have gotten to the heart of the issue the best. They report that Kim Cattrall’s words went far beyond what it means to be a “parent” or a “mom,” two words with ever-evolving definitions. They touched on a gender-bias issue that Kim and other women often find themselves facing: “Is motherhood necessary for female completeness?”
The actual truth of the matter, in the U.S. anyway, is that Kim Cattrall is part of a big trend. More women are remaining childless. In 2014, over 47 percent of females between the ages of 15 and 44 had never had kids. However, despite living in a society where nearly half of all women aren’t having biological children, women like Cattrall are often socially defined and/or disparaged by their “motherhood” or lack thereof.
More than the Kim Cattrall definition of “mother,” it’s the social definition of what constitutes a “complete” or “proper” woman that seems to be causing Kim so much flack for her seemingly innocent comments.
One tweet even went so far a to backhandedly accuse Cattrall of trying to redefine motherhood as part of the “liberal agenda.”
When you look at the situation as a whole, it doesn’t appear that Kim Cattrall has tried to apply her idea of what “makes” a mom to anyone aside from herself. Regardless of what you personally believe, it’s glaringly apparent that the traditional roles in our society have historically changed pretty radically as social evolution runs its course. Kim illustrate this clearly with her sentiments.
Whatever you think about Kim Cattrall using the word “mom” to describe her role an aunt or a mentor, you can’t argue the fact loving, supportive, trusted role-models are vitally important to our youth. In some cases, “mom” is a stranger, while the person who stepped up and filled the role is the central figure in a person’s life.
Is it worth the public’s time to argue a matter of mere semantics? Does it take something away from “mom” for Kim or any other female to be a mom (in her heart at least) to someone else’s child(ren)?
The fallout from Cattrall’s interview opens the door to a broader conversation: What does it mean to be family? Some of us thought that the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage broadened the definition exponentially. Most of us, Kim Cattrall included, can agree that families aren’t defined by blood, they are defined by love.
[Image Courtesy: Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images]