I’ll come clean with you – until the last few weeks my main thoughts on the politics of this country were: Is Jeremy Corbyn fit?* What does Samantha Cameron see in David Cameron? Who would I least like to be trapped in a lift with: Micheal Gove, Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage?**
So you’ll be unsurprised to learn that I have not been called on to give my acerbic, erudite answers on News Night. Nor will you see my eager arm raised with a thought-provoking query on Question Time. ***
Fastforward to post-Referendum UK and I am all over the world of politics. Or rather I now half-watch the news and skim read the main part of the Sunday paper (not just the AA Gill review in the supplements and the recipes). Get me! It’s almost as if I was a real life grown up, actually caring about the future of our country and that.
Which leads us neatly on to my next point. Yesterday the Times reported that Conservative leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom said that as a mother of three she had a ‘very real stake in Britain’s future’ as opposed to her rival Theresa May who is childless. This then turned into her allegedly saying that motherhood would make her a better Prime Minister, with the Times headline reading “Being a mother gives me the lead on May – Leadsom”.
Now here’s my problem. I could care less that Andrea Leadsom has kids. Having children does not make you a better leader or person. It doesn’t mean you worry about the future more (although you will probably worry more about your children’s future). Motherhood does not make you more empathic or socially aware.
No, my problem here is the media. We have two strong, sharp, intelligent women contending with the leadership of government. And it seems this confuses and befuddles the British press. What should they report? How can they validate/invalidate one or other candidate.
The answer – reduce it to Motherhood.
Or should I say Parenthood?
I will not fall into the trap that they would not discuss this if it were two men (or even a man and a woman) contending for leadership. That is besides the point. Because you know what some people are parents and some people are not. That is a simple fact. And some women have children and some do not.
Just because I have a womb doesn’t mean I have to use it. And the fact that I have used it doesn’t make me a better person. Motherhood doesn’t make you Mother Theresa.
In this day and age women have choices. We can chose to be mums. We can chose to be leaders. We can choice to be both. Or neither. It doesn’t matter. It’s not up for debate.
So this is a call for the media to wake up and smell the sisterhood. As women we are over this trite, last century debate about women and motherhood. We realise that being a mum does not make you superhuman and being childless does not make you lacking. Ultimately these things do not define who you are.
In the 21st Century this should not be a headline. It should not be divisive. And it is high time the British Media went back to reporting the real issues.
Like, seriously is Jeremy Corbyn fit?
By Kim x
*Ethics, integrity and strong beliefs = sexy. Scruffy supply teacher = not so sexy.
**Answer: Micheal Gove. He has a touch of the Dementors about him and may suck out my very soul.
*** If you are wondering it would be -Whatever happened to Robert Kilroy-Silk?