In an affecting interview with The Daily Telegraph, the rather confused TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp tells women to shun university, buy a flat, get married, have children and then worry about a career after that.
Well, what enlightened and sensitive advice from a woman who’s not bothered about being married herself (she has two children) and who seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that marriage is ‘the world’s greatest tax dodge’. Please do explain Kirstie. Most people find it entails a tax sacrifice.
Anyway, if she does decide to make her children legitimate one day it will be for that reason. It seems to be that the cost of the wedding is the deterrent (though the interviewer has just mentioned the huge rock weighing down one finger of her hand and the huge house she lives in).
Read on and all becomes clear. Kirstie pontificates about other people affording marriage or not, people who only have a thirty thousand pound house deposit but had the temerity to spend £20,000 on their wedding.
How gross and irresponsible. They should share their weddings, she thinks. No need for other women to have their day in the sun, to be the centre of attention for even one day in their lives, thinks the TV star.
But I am wandering off the point. I was just trying to work out where Kirstie was coming from, in her would-be role as female agony aunt. Here we have it – it’s all about honesty:
“We should speak honestly and frankly about fertility and the fact it falls off a cliff when you’re 35. We should talk openly about university and whether going when you’re young, when we live so much longer, is really the way forward.”
Really. I am far from the only woman to have no problem starting a family in her mid thirties.
“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.”
Now we know. So what do Kirstie and her fellow feminists propose to do about the ‘have it all’ dilemma they created for women? That the economy is now geared around? Don’t worry, her answer is waiting:
“If you’re a man of 25 and you’re with a woman of 25, and you really love her, then you have a responsibility to say: ‘Let’s do it now.’ …. Men need to know, men need to be taught in school, that there is a responsibility, that if you love someone, decide if you want to have a child with that person or not.”
Well good oh! I am sure my two sons, and the current 25 to 30 year old male generation they are part of, will be now leaping to act on her advice. Not.
Kirstie, this is in your dreams. They have no money and no homes to provide for the girls, who you would now not bother to educate or have work!
Kirstie must be very detached in her mansion from the reality of young men’s prospects today. Nearly 30 per cent of under 25s are unemployed.
For those who are lucky enough to be working, buying a flat simply doesn’t happen unless mum and dad can stump up and then it still depends on two people working indefinitely to pay off the mortgage.
Incomes of around £25–£30,000, which is what the luckier young men of that age group will be earning, do not go far. Even with Help to Buy, couples need about a £35-40,000 deposit.
That’s impossible without parental support… how many parents can give it? And how many parents can afford it if they have three or four children!? What about their old age?
But then I am not a property expert like Kirstie. Nor am I a feminist and I don’t have daughters.
But there is one thing I am crystal clear about. My university degree was the passport to the life I have now. There is no way I would advise a daughter, if I had one, to marry without first getting some qualifications, training or skills behind her to equip her for life before setting out on the long journey of being a parent.
On that I am at one with my kids’ generation in thinking a woman’s career should come first – welcome to liberal Britain!
What it shouldn’t mean is mothers having to work through their babies, but to have something behind her to get back to work as and when.
Kirstie with her property credentials should know that one reason house prices are so high is because mortgages are calculated on two incomes, because it is assumed that women will not stop working to have and bring up their babies.
That is what is wrong and that is what needs to be rectified. Whom do we have to thank for that? but Kirstie’s feminist friends.
It’s that, not a sentimental waving of a magic wand to make boys love girls, that needs sorting.