Big Little Lies is a Bit of a Lie

By: Alice Lemos

Big Little Lies is the hit HBO series that has won many awards, including eight Emmys and several Golden Globes for acting and producing.  Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgard have won accolades for their roles in the show.  Skarsgard, formerly of the show True Blood, plays the violent and volatile husband of Kidman’s character as well as the murder victim.  Big Little Lies is apparently being renewed for a second season.

This series revolves around the lives of several women who live in Monterey, California. It is about their marriages, broken relationships, children and the unresolved rape of the character Jane Chapman, as well as false accusations of violence against her young child -whose father incidentally was her rapist. I enjoyed the series until I saw the interview of the producer, David E. Kelley, husband of actress Michelle Pfeiffer.  Mr. Kelley seems to  think that American mothers who choose to work are tormented and humiliated for not staying home with their children; and I believe that this view is why several of the female characters have guilt over it and screwed up lives.

In the social circles where Mr. Kelley travels women can afford to stay home or leave their kids with the nannies while they go shopping. This does not hold true for large swaths of families of the USA. Nobody is making American women feel guilty  for working.  In fact, the opposite is often true:  Women who choose to stay home with their children are made to feel that they are throwing out their lives and their talent. Women’s magazines routinely mock them. Women need to make the best decision for themselves and their family and should not be shamed either way.

Some of the women in Big Little Lies work full time; some stay home; and some work part time. The Nicole Kidman character, a trained lawyer, is guilted by her sociopath of a husband for speaking of returning to practice law. But then again, her husband is a sociopath.  The highly successful Renata (played by Laura Dern) encourages envy in her circle of friends by flaunting her wealth and success. But nobody shames her for not spending more time with her daughter who is treated to an over the top birthday party. In real life, unfortunately women are not always that sympathetic and supportive of each other.

It must have been great for Michelle Pfeiffer to be able to stay home with her family for so many years. But it is important to remember that many women cannot afford that – and they do not need David Kelley to “mansplain” this to them. Many women work due to choice or circumstance and many women choose to stay home with their children. Many women do something in between and this decision should be up to the woman and her family.


Alice Lemos photo

Alice Lemos is a graduate of Brown University with a PhD in Hispanic studies. She is a proud mom and active pro-lifer.

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