MIA: This is Hollywood’s dirty little secret.

When my first child was small he had a nanny who was also a part-time model. She was 22, tall and beautiful and did a lot of commercials for cars and snackfoods and cleaning products. What was interesting though – if by interesting you mean totally outrageous – is that she was usually cast as “The Mother”. And her ‘children’ in the ads she filmed for TV and print were usually primary school age – around 10.

And this isn’t unusual. I recognise a lot of models from my years working in magazines and I know roughly how old they are. If the way we see motherhood portrayed in advertising is to be believed, the average age for giving birth is about 12. 14 at the oldest.

Think about that for a moment. Think about the subconscious effect that has on how we calibrate what motherhood looks like. And it’s not just advertising. Movies and TV shows do it too – incessantly.

Check out these very famous examples of women whose on-screen children weren’t much younger then they were:

This post was originally published on Mamamia’s sister site iVillage and has been republished here with full permission.

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