As an actor-turned-director, Olivia Wilde has grown accustomed to dealing with gender politics. But in a new interview, the mom-of-two admits she was surprised to notice gender politics surfacing in her own home between son Otis, 5, and daughter Daisy, 3, (children she shares with partner Jason Sudeikis). But, being the all-around badass she is, Wilde is pushing back against societal holding patterns to ensure both of her kids are strong and independent.
Speaking with her Booksmart lead Beanie Feldstein for InStyle magazine’s Badass Women issue, Wilde admitted that parenting a daughter in a patriarchal society is inherently complex.
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“With Daisy, I have witnessed how women are born with an incredible amount of strength and that society quickly pushes them to assume the more feminine role,” she said. “I mean, I love that Elsa is looking pissed off on the Frozen 2 poster, but there’s still an awful lot out there that’s encouraging young women to make themselves the weaker sex.” In that regard, she hopes “to be the one to remind her of the strength she innately has” when Daisy questions her worth.
However, her role is “to be a safe zone of support that’ll hopefully counteract what society will inevitably do to them” — both of them. “But it’s interesting because having a boy and a girl, you really notice gender politics within your own home. She’ll clean up his plate for him after dinner, and I’m like, ‘Put that back!'”
It isn’t just at home that Wilde finds little ways to reinforce the notion that women are strong and there’s power in supporting that. At work, she even pays tribute to her daughter in describing the practice of reaching behind you to pull up the next group of women… just as the group before pulled her up. “The Daisy Chain is about wanting to lift each other up. I celebrate it because for a long time women have been told that in order to succeed, we have to push people out of the way,” Wilde told Bernstein.
Among the women who’ve lifted Wilde up? Her journalist mom Leslie Cockburn. “She’s broken through so many glass ceilings that it was never a question of whether it was possible for me,” Wilde shared.
So, she’s doing her best to master the balancing act her mom pulled off when she was a child. “Like, you filled me with so much confidence, but you didn’t let me become a fucking asshole. When I said I wanted to act at age 3, my mom was like, ‘Great, go to school for it.’ She always took my dream seriously because she’s taken her own dream seriously.”
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