Tracee Ellis Ross isn't one to keep her opinions to herself. It's one of the reasons the world loves her. Though she's hilarious on her hit show, Black-ish, she seems to shine brightest when she's having candid conversations off set about serious issues, such as sexual harassment and unrealistic body expectations. Recently, Ross even targeted her own series' role in perpetuating archaic gender norms during a Q&A discussion with Deadline.
"I'm the person on Black-ish who does constantly say, I've now coined it, 'lady chores,'" she said. "They get so sick of me. But I always ask, 'Is it necessary for me to be doing this? Is it pivotal to the story that we're telling that I'm in the kitchen cooking? Can't I just be sitting here with my laptop and a glass of wine?'"
Her perspective is so refreshing, because it highlights the subtle ways in which sexism is ingrained in Hollywood. Black-ish, as a whole, is a progressive show, yet, and perhaps without even knowing it, the writers have given Ross' character, Rainbow Johnson, most of the household chores.
"Not because there's anything wrong with a woman cooking; I cook all the time," Ellis Ross added. "But because I look at the larger perspective of the story that is being told across television in general, and how can we continue to balance the scale of what has been out of balance?'"
Just as the oven ranges have evolved since the days of I Love Lucy, so, too, should our expectations of who takes on the majority of the responsibilities in American households. These conversations shouldn't start and stop with "lady chores," though. Ross also challenged fans to evaluate the "systemic response" people have to working women like her who aren't married or have children.
"I don't know if I feel judged [for not having a family], but that certainly is a paradigm that we're all still breaking through," Ross said. "I mean, even someone today really, truly meant to be supportive in what she was asking, but unconsciously still framed it in a way that was, 'I know that you've chosen your career over having a family.' And I was like, 'No, I haven't!' I was like, 'There was no point in my life where I chose career over a relationship, or over having a child. This just happens to be where I’ve landed.' So I think it's not the fault of every individual. I think it really is a systemic response to culture's way of having an expectation of women within patriarchy and all of that."
Someone please fetch this superhero a glass of wine.