Last week, ‘Location Location Location’ presenter Kirstie Allsopp caused controversy when she advised young women to ditch university and have a baby by 27.
Last week, ‘Location Location Location’ presenter Kirstie Allsopp caused controversy when she advised young women to ditch university and have a baby by 27. The 42 year old told The Telegraph that if she had a daughter, her advice to her would be: “Don’t go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit.”
She then continued, “And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you’re 30.”
The comments have since been branded as “patronising” and a “throwback to the 1950s.” Allsopp responded by saying she was “not telling anyone what to do” and “not questioning anyone’s choices.”
Wrong thing to say?
However, not everyone is against her comments. Some of her supporters argue that it is actually best to start a family before attending university and having a career. Allsopp maintained that she wanted young women to be aware of their fertility, saying, “Do whatever you want, but be aware of the fertility window. Make your choices in an informed way.”
I’ll be honest, when I first heard the comments I was ready to jump on the feminist bandwagon and start angrily writing about gender inequality. But having taken the time to read and reflect on the whole story, I’ve changed my mind.
At first glance it looks like the comments are attacking young women who choose to go to university. But they’re not. Allsopp is merely expressing her opinion and giving the advice that she thinks is best.
And since when was it a crime to express your personal opinion?
Controversy a good thing
Granted a lot of people won’t, and don’t, agree with Allsopp, but that doesn’t mean she should be criticised. After all, she is just as able to put her opinion across as anyone else is.
I’m not saying I agree with everything Allsopp has said, but I can understand why she said what she did. However, I do agree that young women should be free to do whatever they want to do, whether that is going to university, getting a job, starting a family, or whatever else.
If a girl chooses to start a family before or instead of going to university, there’s no problem with that. Similarly if she chooses to have a career before a family, that’s also fine. Problems arise when people come in and start trying to tell young girls what to do and which option is best.
This shows the real problem behind Allsopp’s comments, and highlights the gap between the genders. It is important to remember that this whole debate is over young women – not young men. Men are free to do whatever they want after leaving school without it causing a fuss whereas, as Allsopp demonstrates, women’s futures are still not entirely their own.
We will never truly achieve gender equality until both men and women are equally able to choose their own paths in life without it becoming a topic for discussion and controversy.
Ultimately everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Kirstie Allsopp was just expressing hers.
What do you think of Allsopp’s remarks? Have your say in the comments section below.