Another day, another article drawing attention to women without children who appear to be simply getting on with life. These particular women however, just happen to be getting on with life in public office.
This weekend, The Sunday Times ‘tantalised‘ us with a secret about Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister. ‘OOOOOooohhhhh’ thought my inner Kenneth Williams. I expected to see revelations that she cartwheeled around Holyrood when she took up office, naked apart from a pair of leopard-print kitten heels that she’d half inched from Theresa May. Or that she enjoyed nothing more than eating a full fry-up in bed without cutlery, on a Sunday morning, then staying in her PJs all day watching back to back Keeping up with the Kardashians. In complete contrast to her immaculate, steely public face. That would have surprised me greatly.
It was however, the revelation that she had experienced a miscarriage at the age of forty.
Nothing about this is ‘tantalising’. It is a deeply private, and often painful, matter. I’m not knocking The Sunday Times for the story, that in fact was an extract from the book, Scottish National Party Leaders,with which the First Minister of Scotland has co-operated fully. It was the approach to the matter that was, shall we say, a little skewed. Not least of all because it was accompanied by a fabulously irrelevant guide to other childless MPs. Only women of course. Yay! <solo Mexican wave>. I’d been wondering about that, how thoughtful of the ST. Said no-one. No-one knows why these women don’t have children, but there they are listed like a latter day, women-only version of Guess Who – where the worst possible question you could ask to eliminate faces is, ‘do they have children?’……. Doh! Interested in the family status of male politicians? Well, nothing to see here, move along now.
I mean, whatever next?
“OK! Hands up! Who here has had an abortion?” We simply don’t need to know-unless there is a direct conflict of interests, or with the policies you’re trying to impose on the masses, that proves you to be an enormous hypocrite. (eeerrhermm, * coughs KEITH VAZ)….
Imagine the headlines:
- FIFTY TWO PERCENT OF MALE POLITICIANS MASTURBATED LAST NIGHT
- OH! BOJO PEES SITTING DOWN/ANDREA-MUVVA-LEADSOM PEES STANDING UP
It’s quite simply irrelevant.
We have the equipment and the capacity (but not always), to make and carry a baby – but that doesn’t mean it’s obligatory or we’re not to be trusted if we don’t use it. Very often it’s a choice. I’m pretty sure I could lay my hands on a set of golf clubs, but that doesn’t mean I’m under orders to lose a day of my life trying to smack balls into a series of tiny holes……. I could also enter the lions’ enclosure at the zoo, but I think I’ll give that a miss too thanks. All logical choices. And when it isn’t a choice, it can be a sad and sensitive issue. So, you know, mind your own business. The information Sturgeon gave to Mandy Rhodes who contributed to the book, was about addressing the issue of miscarriage, stripping away the stigma. OK. But the addition of a sidebar of female politicians without children was completely useless, uninteresting and moreover – irrelevant to the article and also their ability to do the job. What of it? At the moment, 20% of British women ages 45 don’t have children (I’m one of them), and that number is set to increase to 25% in the not too distant future. So you can see, we’re not just all about the baby making. Higher numbers than you might imagine.
How and why we have no children is of no consequence, unless we ourselves choose to address it. As Sturgeon has. It never crosses my mind who in public office does or does not have a family: male or female. I don’t know and I don’t care. (I care if they’re a divisive f*cking idiot or not. Looking at you Farage. Or a bumbling bare-faced liar, looking at YOU Johnson.) But what I do know is – the death of an unborn child is most certainly NOT ‘tantalising’, and being a woman (in the public eye or otherwise) without children should no longer be presented as something strange or unusual, worthy of scrutiny.
Honestly, for the most part you’ll discover it’s not a very interesting story. Me for example, well – I just simply forgot to do it.