I saw Refinery29’s feature on Laila Ali and was captivated by the headline which read, “Why World-Famous Boxer Laila Ali Puts Being A Mom 4th On Her List.”
Interesting because a lot of women put motherhood in front of everything else in their lives, including ahead of themselves and their own dreams and aspirations.
So, to read a headline that insinuates a famous actress and boxer prioritizes motherhood so far down on her list, is eye catching (and click worthy).
Indeed, the feature focuses on Ali’s work on encouraging and empowering other women and mothers to not sacrifice ther hopes after they become moms.
“The 39-year-old mother of two is in New York with T.J. Maxx (a Refinery29 sponsor) promoting her role in the brand’s Maxx You initiative, which is aimed at helping women shrug off the stereotypes that hold us back,” writer Laura Norkin notes.
Though, ironically shortly after, Norkin pens that nothing about Ali “flashing a French manicure, palest pink pedicure, and a bright-red bodycon dress that can barely contain the face-bashing biceps for which she is most known” says “mom.”
Well I know plenty of moms that fit this description, individually and collectively, but she’s right, society doesn’t equate sensuality, femininity and physical strength with motherhood. It should.
And for the record, Ali didn’t say she put motherhood fourth in order of her priorities, rather when asked the ways she self-identifies, Ali simply named “mom” fourth.
“I’m a professional boxer, athlete, entrepreneur, mom; now cooking enthusiast coming out with a cookbook.”
Later she adds that she also has a podcast, Norkin writes.
Really, the headline was literally accurate in that she did list it fourth but to me, naming it fourth doesn’t make it fourth in order of Ali’s focus. So realistically, it is misleading.
But I get it.
The point of the Maxx You Initiaive is to encourage women to shield whatever obstacles hold them back.
“Despite the stereotype of motherhood as an all-consuming identity, I know many people who’ve achieved new levels of career success after having children. I’m wondering if you relate to that experience at all,” Ali says.
“I think in general people assume that when you have children, that’s all you are — a mom, and that’s actually not true. You can be a mother and still pursue your dreams.”
Ali will be hosting the Maxx You workshop later this summer alongside Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran; 80 selected online applicants will receive a cash prize and personal mentorship from the two.