If we had to sit here and list all the ways, subtle and overt, that the working world is systemically titled against women, we’d be here all day. (But just to do a dab of due diligence: Unequal pay, sexual harassment, constantly getting talked over, double standards…It’s an unpleasantly unceasing list.) One of the more insidious elements of modern workplace sexism, though, is the way people tend to treat pregnancy, as though it were some sort of disability or incurable disease, capable of snatching a woman (and only a woman) away from the workplace for years at a time, from five minutes after the moment of conception, all the way up through kindergarten.
Cinematographer Rachel Morrison—whose numerous credits include Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, and an Oscar-nominated role on Mudbound—pushed back against that bullshit last night, courtesy of an Instagram post in which she talked frankly about wrapping up a movie recently while eight months pregnant. While noting that no two pregnancies are the same, Morrison’s overriding point was not that she was some kind of exceptional badass, pushing through a terrible ordeal for her art. It was that she’s no different from any other woman in a professional setting, perfectly capable of knowing what kind of workload she can manage given the current state of her body.
Morrison—whose Mudbound Oscar nod was the first time a woman has been nominated for Best Cinematography, ever—noted that she “lost many jobs because people were nervous to hire me so soon after” the birth of her first child a few years back. “But again I say this should be left up to us. Pregnancy and motherhood in general is not a disadvantage and the craft doesn’t suffer as a result. If anything the added experience and enhanced empathy has made me a better cinematographer and filmmaker.”