You know what I like? Freedom of speech.

You know what I dislike? Babies.

You know what I abhor? Being preached to by someone touting their own priorities as a one-size-fits-all. That priority being: Babies.

kirstie allsop

I’ve got a bone to pick with you, Kirstie Allsop. About this here Guardian article where you claim we should ditch education and career prospects so we can have children earlier.

Nope.

Children are not the be-all and end-all.

Kirstie love. I understand that you’re not criticising anyone’s choice. But coming out with statements like “Young women: ditch university and have a baby by 27” – or allowing news agencies to do it on your behalf – whilst simultaneously claiming to put your feminist foot first is beyond contradictory.

The true meaning of feminism gets easily blurred with getting one-up over men, actions that either do or don’t qualify as rape culture and the strange judgement that feminists can’t be feminine. So I prefer to go by the basic idea that feminism means I have a choice to do whatever I want with my life. No prescribed timeline. No wrong decisions. No sacrifices that I don’t want to make. I get to choose. Assuming we’re all dying for babies, or that they are an end goal, is an archaic idea that myself and plenty of other women don’t care for at all. Because we made the choice not to spend the rest of our lives financially supporting a child. Or give up our figure to carry a baby. Or add the strain of an 18 year long school run to our everyday lives which, actually, we quite like as they are. 

Some self-centred choices there perhaps, but still our rightful choices. And, as a feminist (a phrase you appear to have enjoyed using, Kirstie), I’d like them respected when you address the young females of the nation. 

You’re blaming women for having wombs. Again.

Regardless of whether I want a baby, now, later or indeed ever, Kirstie Allsop has made a cretinous mistake that echoes something terrible. This article has presented to us the maternity equivalent of victim blaming.

Of course, the term “victim blaming” is identified in rape culture – which Kirstie’s article has nothing to do with. But the concept is the same. Articles like this convey that wanting children means you aren’t able to have a fulfilling career, or at least not a long-term one. This teaches young women not to bother being educated or expect a successful lifelong career, rather than asking why employers are still setting women up to have their careers tail off when they have a child.

Has no one noticed that without childbirth, the human race doesn’t carry on? In that vein then, hows about someone out there gets their fucking maternity allowances in gear so women can drop their chavvies without having to risk their job to do it. It’s called employer responsibility, and, ironically, employers clearly aren’t employing it enough. Don’t blame us for your lack of progressed systems.

Without education or experience, what am I meant to teach my child?

There are young mums everywhere who do a fantastic job, and I couldn’t be more inspired by them. If I manage to start my day without dropping cornflakes down my dress and get to work in matching shoes, I buy myself a congratulatory cappuccino. I’m 24, and I couldn’t handle a child. I’ve chosen not to have a child. And I’ve chosen that because I’m one of the girls who wanted other things more, and I know I’ve made the right choice. Right now, I’d make an appalling mother.

Not everyone is the same. But in a general sense, if we all limited ourselves to rushing from high school to a job to a boyfriend to being a homeowner to plopping out a kid, I’d say we were in danger of limiting ourselves. If I ever decide to have children, I want to teach them what I learnt in my twenties. I want to have been through stuff that makes me a wise parent, so I can stand by their side when they make those same mistakes themselves and think “you know what, that’s fine. I did this and got through it alone and I am grand about it”.

I am no parental figure. But what I have learnt from my own parents is that their hopes and dreams for their children were – and still are – infinite and impressive. To skip the bits of my life that made me into the woman I am now, blessed with unforgettable memories as a single person (not being reliant on a man or the love of a child, I feel, has been a key part of my personal growth) without too many metaphorical grown up saddles, would be one of the things I’d want for my own children. And as a feminist that respects the choices of everyone, Kirstie Allsop, that is the right I’ve been entitled too, and a choice any daughter of mine has the right to make too.

 

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