The Location, Location, Location presenter Kirstie Allsopp has told the Telegraph that if she had a daughter, her advice would be: “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.”
As usual the reaction to the comment is more telling than the comment itself. The twitter twits have predictably gone beserk as they do at anyone who dares to cite an opinion that might provoke them into thinking a bit. Honestly, are we really so insecure about our life choices that we get so narked at what one woman might say to her fictitious daughter? Kirstie was not telling us all what to do with our lives yet has been treated as if she has done. Are we so incapable of allowing women to be individuals that when one woman speaks for herself she automatically becomes ambassador for all?
Yes I need admittedly cringe at the bossy tone and the “nice boyfriend” bit – (and we all hope that Kirstie’s imaginary daughter is a lesbian academic genius) but the essence of what Kirstie was saying was not that women can’t have it all but that for women, some things can wait whilst other things have a natural time limit. This is the truth isn’t it? I have gone a little against Kirstie’s prescription having arsed about in my twenties with men who would struggle to be classed as “nice” and got a home, a degree and a child in my thirties, which for me was the right time. I appreciation education and motherhood now far more than I would have done in my twenties and if I had a daughter I would say, bear in mind that certain things get harder as you get older but life is unpredictable and you’ve got to be happy and do things when the time is right, if at all. At 35 I had discovered the benefits of early nights, airport-free holidays and not being the hottest woman in the room and to be honest had become rather disillusioned with all the backbiting and thanklessness of the workplace so I had less to give up but in my twenties it would have been a much bigger sacrifice.
The only danger with leaving education too late is that it never happens and that just-for-now job on the bakery counter becomes the whole world. The only thing more scary than risk is routine. But that’s just my opinion – we are all individuals and we are all allowed to do things our own way – let’s just celebrate that rather than condemning every woman that exercises her right to free speech. Maybe when we accept our own life choices, we can learn to accept other people’s without offence.