Those of you that are regular readers of The High Tea Cast, or who know me at all might think I’m not particularly qualified to write an article like this. Because I am married. I am coming up to my 3 year wedding anniversary with Mr S, and of course I am pleased as punch to be sharing my life with him and to be planning our future. Being a wife is awesome in so many different ways.
But I don’t have to be married to be a successful woman. No no no no no.
Quite some time ago now, Stella McCartney hit the front pages when she put a call out to all women who wanted to get somewhere in life to bag themselves “a good husband“. Reeling from this statement, it has taken me all this time to pull my jaw off the floor and not keep repeating the letters w, t and f. Ambitious women need to be married? Wow.
Sure, it is lovely to be married, or in a partnership. Someone to come home to at night and relax with and share stories on the day. Someone to work out problems with when things get tough. Someone to help when you are so busy climbing that golden ladder of success that you can’t remember the last time you did a food shop. But it isn’t always hearts and flowers being in a relationship, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that. And getting married to a man is not the tool in the toolbox you need to be worrying about when it comes to your personal ambition and success.
According to Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-A-Porter, the reason why more women don’t talk about their husbands being the key to their success, is because it implies that women need a man, and then all us feminists will get our massive knickers in a twist about it. There are loads of super successful women out there all gagging to tell us that neither intelligence, grit, savvy, a smashing idea and a super work ethic were the key to their success, but their man indoors was. Please. I imagine that the reason that there are not loads of women out there saying it, is because it doesn’t need to be said.
There is no denying that sharing your life with a good someone, can make life easier (and make more room for success to flourish). Sharing financial burdens, the duties of bringing up children if you have them – the emotional and practical support can be fantastic. But it isn’t always like that. Stella McCartney and Natalie Massenet both emphasise the good husbands bit – but good husbands can be a pain in the proverbial too. That is to be expected during the lifetime of any long term relationship.
But why does this good someone have to be a husband?! What about friends, families and colleagues? The amount of support I get from my close family is overwhelming and I wouldn’t be doing what I do if it wasn’t for the great friends that believe in me, push me and challenge me every day. Practical support is forthcoming too.
I first came across the Stella quote in an article in Grazia Magazine, which went on to say “guaranteed back up, plus affection, honest advice and sex you don’t have to dress up for, probably gives you a head start“. Sex you don’t have to dress up for gives you the flipping edge?! Well ladies, what we clearly need are paid male prostitutes, not husbands! This quote makes it out like we don’t need a good relationship of equals to get ahead, but an unpaid lackey that doesn’t disagree with you, does all your dirty work and gives you no arguments sex too. Healthy relationship of support right there.
We have a problem crediting our husbands because it implies we can’t do it alone. But we don’t want to do it alone and we can’t. The bottom line is that all successful women need their support network around them. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a man and they have to be married off. I love Mr S, and I wouldn’t swap him for the world but I also know that I can make it in life on my own terms.
Women need lots of things to be successful – but one of them isn’t a husband, and that is a fact.
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