Daily Double (Standard, that is)
Double Standard: when a situation is desirable for one group but deplorable for another.
I was at a commercial callback yesterday, and the guy I was partnered with brought his adorable four month-old baby. This dad was awesomely devoted to his little nugget, and while we were waiting we bonded over sleep and poop (too little of the former, too much of the latter). A few minutes later another actress offered to watch the baby for him while he was in the room and said, “Is it terrible that I think it’s so cute when a dad brings his baby to an audition but when a mom does…well, not as much?”
Ummmm, yes. Yes it is terrible. And that friends, is today’s double standard. I’ll take that daily double for $1000, Alex.
As much as I wanted to crush her in that moment, she brought up something that I hadn’t thought of before. You know that thing where we see a dad with his kids in a professional setting and think, “what a great guy, so involved with his kids”, but we see a mom with her kids in a professional setting and think, “why couldn’t she have gotten a babysitter, how unprofessional”. Yes, that old trope is still alive and well, and apparently exists for actors too.
I’m already a little skittish about bringing my kids to auditions, and this conversation put me right back in my head about it. For the record, I see kids at commercial auditions all the time (theatrical not so much, as in never). I had a sitter for this particular callback, but I did bring baby girl to the first audition several days earlier. I mean, I got the notice at 10:30pm for an 11am audition the following morning, that’s asking a lot of even the deepest bench of sitters. When I rolled up with my stroller, BG was doing fine, but after I left her with the lovely, generous session runner to go into the audition room, I could hear her protesting (AKA screaming) through the door. It was distracting, and frankly, I was surprised to get a callback. Needless to say I was determined not to bring her this time around.
Which brings me back to the double standard brought up by my fellow actress…it makes me wonder what would have happened if I had brought her to the callback. What if both me and my fake husband had rolled through the tight hallways of 1035 South with our big strollers and relied upon the kindness of our fellow actors to watch both of our babies at exactly the same time? Would he have gotten the smiles and me the scowls? I think people would have treated us equally, but perhaps they would have been subconsciously judging us differently.
Unfortunately, the only advice I can give is to echo the words of the wise T. Swift, “I shake it off.” My inner child likes to live in the land of “that’s not fair”, but my grown self knows that there’s a lot of suffering in that land. Let’s bring those double standards to light, but not to simply moan and complain, but to change minds and hearts so that future moms suffer less. If it feels good to you to bring your baby, bring her. If not, don’t. Whatever you choose, it’s likely that the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, anyway. So just do your thing, stunner, and don’t worry too much about imagining what others might or might not be thinking. (That’s me giving myself a pep talk, by the way)
Let's bring those double standards to light, not to moan and complain, but to change minds and hearts so that future moms suffer less. Click To Tweet
Have you come across any double standards in the business lately, mamas? I’d love to know—again, not to merely grouse about it, but to move forward by bringing the issue into the light of awareness. Keep the conversation going–tweet it out by clicking the link above.
From the Trenches is a segment in which I share of stories, insights, and lessons straight from the audition rooms of Los Angeles to give you an honest, behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the life of one working mama actor.