Thursday 5 June 2014

The right to choose

Do you consider yourself a feminist? For some, saying they have feminist views can be a difficult admission, for fear that they'll be branded as bra-burning men-haters. For others, it's a proud statement to make, showing solidarity for the sisterhood and championing equal rights for the fairer sex.

But what does being a feminist mean today? Having it all? Career, relationship, children? Doing what you want and when you want as men have done for centuries?

What is the price of such freedom? The opportunities we have today as women are greater than they have every been before, but in turn, so are the pressures. Whether the pressure comes from society, the media, other women or ourselves, us 'modern women' seem to be feeling the impact that freedom of choice has had on our lives.

I am all for choice, for everybody. There is no right or wrong way to do things. If you want to be career focused and save having a family until later in life, if at all, then great, good for you. If you want to devote your life to raising your children and being there for your family all day, every day, brilliant! Both choices are perfectly reasonable and it's all down to personal preferences and situations.

To go all Carrie Bradshaw on you, does having the right to choose become compromising? To have a successful career, you could need to compromise on when to have a family or how much you are there for your children when you go back to work. I'm a working mum and it is a choice I made, for financial reasons but also for myself.  I want to be successful at work and I want to be the best Mama I can be. To do this, and be a good wife, friend, daughter, housekeeper, blogger... phew!... it can be challenging and compromises have to be made.

You can have it all but it comes at a price - what price, you decide and it's up to you how you pay.

When you decide to have a family is largely dictated by what you do for a living, what you can afford and the support network you have. Oh, and don't forget that ticking clock! As more and more mothers have left it until later to have their children, there seem to be more and more fertility issues. I was 28 when Ethan was born, but if I were to have another child or, say, want another two or three, when will I fit this in? I have four 'optimum' years left before being considered as an 'older mum' and whilst I'm in no rush - I want to enjoy Ethan and all the stages he's going through - I am aware that there needs to be some sort of master plan. Romantic eh?

I have met a lot of news mums who are younger than me and I do think there has been a shift in recent years to having children earlier again, as used to be the norm.

Essentially, that's what feminism is about - the right to choose.


Kirstie Allsopp has caused some controversy this week in an interview for The Telegraph, with some people blasting her for doing feminism a disservice.

"Women are being let down by the system. We should speak honestly and frankly about fertility and the fact it falls off a cliff when you’re 35,” she told journalist Bryony Gordon.

“We should talk openly about university and whether going when you’re young, when we live so much longer, is really the way forward. At the moment, women have 15 years to go to university, get their career on track, try and buy a home and have a baby. That is a hell of a lot to ask someone. As a passionate feminist, I feel we have not been honest enough with women about this issue.

“I don’t have a girl, but if I did I’d be saying ‘Darling, do you know what? Don’t go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit – I’ll help you, let’s get you into a flat. And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you’re 27.” 

It seems that our reaction to this should be one of shock - how could she say these things?! We're modern women and we should be able to do whatever we want to do, when we want to do it!

But, is this the reality any more? House prices, career paths, fertility issues - there's so many factors that can affect our choices that really, do we have as much choice as we think?

Whilst Kirstie's comments may have ruffled some feathers, I do think she has a valid point. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves and as I've said, having it all comes at a price somewhere along the line. What some people seem to think is Kirstie was suggesting that all women want to be mothers, or should want to take on this role, and that this should be our main priority. She's not. She's pointing out the fact that we may not have as much time or as many options as we think. It's harsh, but it does have a ring of truth to it.

Life never goes according to plan but in these modern times, are we really the masters of our own destiny?


  1. Everyone has the right to choose how they live their life. Allsop went wrong by saying she'd tell her daughter not to go to university when should've said that she didn't have to if she wanted to get a job instead.

    Also most parents can't afford to give their children help with buying a flat, and if your n minimum wage it's going to take a lot longer to save for a mortgage deposit than 27. You won't earn enough to get a mortgage in most Uk towns.

    Whilst the principle point, that university isn't for everyone, is right, Allsops privileged upbringing makes her seem out of touch with most.


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