Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Bletchley vs. Allsopp

On the one hand we have ITV mystery series The Bletchley Circle, which vividly depicts the suffocation of women who were unable to fulfil their true potential in a society that saw their place tethered to the kitchen sink.

On the other hand we have television presenter and working mum Kirstie Allsopp who has kicked up yet another stink – this time over her comments that she finds housework therapeutic after a busy day out at work.

My question today is can there be any defence to Kirstie's words in light of the plight that intelligent and ambitious women suffered under the shackles of 1950's Britain?

I would like to argue that despite the fact watching the suppression of the Bletchley Circle women and feeling desperately moved, and angry, at how they were unable to be themselves and make their way in life on an equal footing with men, there is a defence for Kirstie's words.

Many broadsheet newspapers have attacked Kirstie for being anti-feminist as they believe her words suggest a woman's satisfaction doesn't reach much further than the ironing board and the scrubbing brush but for me, this is such a limited view of feminism.

Of course the basic principle behind feminism is equality with men but we have come so far since just the 1950s. There is still some way to go but women can have careers, they can even have careers and children (at a struggle) and they can stay-at-home and look after their children full-time.

And that is the crux of the matter. Unlike the Bletchley Circle women, women of today's Britain – generally speaking - have the power of choice. They can choose whether they want to work but they can also choose to stay-at-home.

Take it from me -a career woman turned stay-at-home mum - it is the fact I have been able to choose to stay-at-home and look after my children which is the crucial point. It gives me a whole new type of freedom and empowerment, which gives me far more satisfaction than leaving my fellow male work colleagues for dust as I progress up the career ladder.

If I had had a life of being a housewife and mother thrust upon me then I would have felt far more dissatisfied about the matter.

So that is how I can support Kirstie Allsopp's comments. She is talking about the ultimate in choice. She can be out there all day beavering away and fulfilling the path that the most traditional of feminists would consider the best way to live, but then come home and relax by ironing and cleaning, because she can.

It will be a true measure that we are living in a society which truly accepts women and what they are all about when no one feels the need to turn around and berate someone for making a comment like Kirstie's.

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