Blog: Jane Hawking portrays a new kind of working mother

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Spoilers for “The Theory of Everything”:

This weekend, I was finally able to catch “The Theory of Everything,” a biopic chronicling the life of Stephen Hawking, the scientist who was diagnosed with a disease related to ALS and now speaks from a wheelchair and through a computer. It is marketed as a love story between Hawking and his first wife, Jane who he met while he was at Cambridge, and it is very romantic.

I realized halfway through the movie that it was much more than that.

Instead of being portrayed as a nagging girlfriend, wife or mother, Jane Hawking is portrayed as a smart and capable young woman, only worn down by the years of responsibilities thrust upon her. My mother mentioned more than once, both during and after the movie that it was unbelievable the amount of work Jane had to go through to take care of Stephen and their family. As the movie progresses, she marries a man who is extremely brilliant but can’t walk or speak, becomes a mother of three, and a garners a doctorate in Romance Languages at Cambridge. It is truly impressive.

There are times when I am watching a movie or television show that I become upset when a woman is portrayed as only a mother. That should not be the case. It is important, now more than ever, to accurately portray a working mom. In the television show, “The Mysteries of Laura,” the idea of a working mom is played as a quirk and for comical effect. It’s funny that a show revolved around a working mother can be so sexist.

I’m sure being a mother is the best gift there is. I love my mom because she is both incredibly loving and works hard to provide me with the things I need. Movies and television shows can no longer show only two ends of the working mom spectrum; there are too many of them.

That’s why I was so surprised by the treating of Jane Hawking. While the movie was based off her memoir, Director James Marsh still didn’t treat her in any typical manner. She was neither the quirky mother nor uptight and perfect, she was something in between. Exactly like my mom, and like many others out there. A wider variety of mothers needs to be represented; they work too hard for them not to be.

 

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