Tracee Ellis Ross has a lot in common with the fictional character, Rainbow, she plays on ABC’s hit comedy, Black-ish. They’re both super smart, funny, biracial and love travel. But while Ross and her onscreen alter ego are very simpatico, there’s one really huge difference.
Bow, as she’s called on the show, is the mother of five children, while Ross is happily childfree. Though it shouldn’t be much of an issue, the 45-year-old star said since taking on the role people have been extra nosey about her reproductive decisions.
“Last year, I was [fictionally] pregnant all season,” Ross told Vanity Fair. “That brought on a lot of comments and questions and pontifications from people with no invitation. I literally have said to people, for real, no joke, ‘Why don’t you just get out of my womb? Like, get out of my uterus? What are you doing in there? And why are you asking those questions? And what makes you think you can ask that?'”
According to Ross, the inquisitiveness of strangers is an extension of patriarchy, which dictates women live their lives according to a certain set of rules that typically includes marriage and motherhood.
“Part of what patriarchy has created for women is this siloed-off experience, with one answer for what a good life looks like,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Ross addressed the issue of living life on her own terms. During her speech at Glamour‘s 2017 Women of the Year Summit, Ross said that while she’s built a life she’s proud of, people often tell her that she can still be a mom so her life will be meaningful.
“I have built an incredible life. I have become a woman that I am proud to be. And then someone tells me about their friend who adopted a child at 52 and how ‘it’s never too late for your life to have meaning,’ and my worth gets diminished as I am reminded that I have ‘failed’ on the marriage and carriage counts,” Ross said.
Ross said while writing out her feelings she finally had an epiphany.
“I got out my journal. I’m sitting there free writing, maybe conversing with my inner child, and I write down: MY LIFE IS MINE,” she recalled. “Those words stopped me in my tracks and honestly brought so many tears to my eyes.”
Ross concluded, “If my life is actually mine…then I have to really live it for myself. I have to put myself first and not be looking for permission to do so.”
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