kirstie allsopp

The Kirstie Allsopp debate

Today saw an almighty bombshell dropped on the Twittersphere, in the form of a controversial interview with Kirstie Allsopp. The property expert has a reputation for being outspoken on matters relating to maternity, feminism and relationships. Yet, her remarks in an interview with Bryony Gordon have been subject to much discussion today.

Indeed, certain individuals may be guilty of engaging in this debate without reading the article in full. But, having read the interview, I feel her advice to young women may be teetering on the verge of dangerous — not to mention being non-progressive. In the interview, she counselled young women to skip university, have children in their mid-twenties and postpone their careers until later.

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.

This reordering of rites of passage may seem like a valid, viable option, but it seems fair to say that this lifestyle will not be adopted by the majority of men. By adopting Kirstie’s model, women will immediately set themselves apart from men, thus allowing men to progress professionally more quickly, without the threat (or existence) of women in that field.

Naturally, as Caitlin Moran points out, it is important to weigh up other options which allow women to be professionally fulfilled as well as having a family. With increasing pressures placed upon us by society, and ourselves, it does at times seem impossible to envisage having a family whilst also having a career. Yet, if women postpone their education until later, certain industries will become saturated with educated, better-qualified male candidates. Meanwhile, women are expected to sit at home with their babies and wait for their careers? It seems regressive, and reminiscent of a 1950s model of family life.

It is healthy to discuss other alternatives to the prescribed way of life — and it is right to acknowledge that this lifestyle does not suit all women, nor does it suit all men. It’s important to remember that feminism is about choice — but we must not impose our life decisions on others.

The importance of education should always be impressed upon young women, and young men, for that matter. For centuries, women were denied the right to a proper education, so to negate its importance is unwise. Nonetheless, this is not the right avenue for everyone, and that’s a decision to be made by the individual in question.

I don’t want the next generation of women to go through the heartache that my generation has. At the moment we are changing the natural order of things, with grandparents being much older and everyone squeezed in the middle. Don’t think ‘my youth should be longer’. Don’t go to university because it’s an ‘experience’. No, it’s where you’re supposed to learn something! Do it when you’re 50!”

Kirstie Allsopp didn’t go to university, which perhaps doesn’t lend much credence to her arguments about higher education. University is hugely beneficial, and not just an ‘experience’ — going to university has granted me access to certain jobs which absolutely require a higher echelon of education. It is not merely an excuse to leave home and engage in bacchic merriment, but also a formative experience which teaches us how to become an independent adult.

Perhaps I do feel I should be young for as long as possible, but I don’t see the harm in that. I want to be established in my career path before I have a family, and that’s my choice. Other women may choose a different path, and they are entitled to do so — it’s their choice.



One thought on “The Kirstie Allsopp debate”

  1. Great post. I think that Kirstie is from a family with plenty of disposable income which has coloured her opinion – perhaps she hasn’t realised that the majority of women out there can’t afford to not work alongside having children, can’t afford children without a job, when she is busy advertising her frivolous craft shows. I find it incredible sad that she would not want to encourage women to prioritise education after fighting so long to be entitled to it, as you say, this gives us the financial means to support a family! She does seem entirely clueless about university and the importance of both the experience and the qualification when entering the financial and business world – instead she prefers to threaten us with a biological clock that could render us back to the dark ages, married at 15 and babies by 20! Crazy. I wrote a post on it as well – would love to know your thoughts – Perhaps Kirstie needs to check out my post on things we don’t need to worry about in our twenties – haha

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