Rose Matafeo: Women’s on-screen attitudes to motherhood should be more complex

Comedian Rose Matafeo after winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award at the Dovecote Studio, Edinburgh.
Comedian Rose Matafeo after winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award at the Dovecote Studio, Edinburgh.

Rose Matafeo has said that on-screen depictions of the attitudes of women towards motherhood should be more complex.

The actress and comedian, 28, stars in Baby Done as an expectant mother who is ambivalent about the prospect of becoming a parent.

She told the PA news agency there is an expectation on women to want to become mothers.

Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards
(Euan Cherry/PA)

“There’s this ideal of what a mother-to-be should be, which is completely reinforced through so much of what we see in films and all types of media and everything on social media,” she said.

“When you’re put on this earth, and you have the ability to have a child, those expectations are just heaped on you.”

She said her character Zoe represents a “step in the right direction of how we create… multifaceted characters for women who actually feel a massive range of emotions when it comes to that stuff”.

“She’s not a perfect person and that’s the point, and I think it’s so rare that you see lead portrayals of women who are conflicted and complex characters and it’s really cool to be able to play that,” she added.

2018 Edinburgh Comedy Award
(Jane Barlow/PA)

Matafeo, who is from New Zealand, said the film has had positive feedback from women who have “never seen that on screen”.

She added that she admires “women who don’t have children, as much as I do women who do have children”.

Discussing her character, she added: “She actually wants a child, she wants to be a mum but she’s actually crippled by the fact that she’s scared that she won’t live up to the expectations of what people believe a mother should be.”

There are “many aspects to her personality” but she is worried they will “be erased or that she’s not seen as a person, she’s seen as a mother”, she said.

“Being a mum isn’t a personality. It’s a way of life, but it’s not a personality,” she added.

Baby Done is released in the UK on January 22. More information is available at vertigoreleasing.com/portfolio/baby-done.

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