*As you know, Spinny is British and right now, the political situation in the UK is dire. As of last Thursday two women, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, are battling to become the British Prime Minister (not via a general election but by in-party vote, after David Cameron’s post-Brexit resignation). One of the women, Andrea Leadsom, has suggested that she’d make a better PM because she has children, and therefore has a ‘tangible stake’ in the future of the country. She’s already back-tracking because she knows it has made her unvotable. Here’s what I have to say about that…
I have never given birth, and for brevity and the sake of this argument that’s all you need to know.
Andrea Leadsom, who is running against Theresa May to become our unelected Prime Minister and leader of the Tory party, thinks this means I have less stake in the future of the country.
After throwing shade at a childless May, who is the runaway favourite to win, Leadsom delivered this witheringly patronising line: “I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’ because I think that would be really horrible.”
Then she suggested that being a mother gave her the edge: “Genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”
Adding that May “possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be part of what happens next”.
The 53 year old is missing a huge point about life and oh, has also just alienated a large percentage of the voting public; the childless/childfree spinster.
She is walking on very dangerous ground.
To suggest that I have less stake in the future of this country and the world is insulting at best but essentially shows the depth of her ignorance about what it is to be a citizen of this world. To imply that those who have children are the only ones who can possibly understand or care enough about our future, our politics, is ridiculous, inflammatory and sickening.
I am only six years younger than Andrea Leadsom but when she speaks, I feel as if I am listening to a voice from the distant past. Given that as a barometer, the future she’s harping on about starts in around 1953 not 2016.
Now, I could be crass here and throw the argument back at her in a way that will rile those with children.
So I will. Here goes: Theresa May will make an excellent PM (unelected) precisely because she DOESN’T have children. She won’t have to be distracted by those pesky parent/teacher meetings in the middle of the afternoon, be home by a certain hour to make sure the little ones get fed or drop everything and leave the office due to an unforeseen child-related emergency.
See, we can play this both ways. And you know what, both are wrong.
Theresa May, who has said very little about not being a mother, did say this a couple of weeks ago: “You see friends who now have grown-up children, but you accept the hand that life deals you.”
While politically we are not anywhere near the same postcode, I understand as a childless woman what she is saying about this one subject, and I admire that admission of acceptance. I’m there now but it’s taken a while. I don’t have a husband or partner so I cannot speak to that state but I understand how at some point you stop the questioning and you move on.
And in that space, you continue to be an engaged citizen who loves other humans young and old and wants – no, needs – the world to be a better place.
Leadsom clearly has no clue about what it takes to be a woman alone in this world.
We, (women in their mid thirties to mid fifties) have lived through two crippling world-wide recessions and a now Brexit (which is slowly killing the lifestyle of spinsters by taking away disposable income), a sexual revolution that left men with all the power (there is such a thing as too independent it transpires), a determination to forge careers that left us unable to fully nurture relationships, the over-riding desire for men to want to fuck and be seen with much younger women, the spurious media-invented fads that are supposed to make it acceptable for women to be single and powerful (think cougars *vomits*) but in fact, leave us weakened… and ultimately, the undeniable truth that in women’s cosmetically-enhanced pursuit of youth, we have become mere shadows of our inner spirit, making it impossible for real woman to grow old gracefully, and still be considered attractive.
If you can survive all of that you more than qualified to be Prime Minister (unelected).
I say this to Andrea Leadsom: every human who has lived a life has had their battles. Every woman who is childless and would rather not be childless is a survivor, a pragmatist and more importantly is strong.
I survived the hardest battle of my life. And I won. Don’t you dare suggest that Theresa May or myself or any other woman who hasn’t given birth is somehow lesser than. That my stake is less ‘tangible’ than yours.
You know at this point, I am not even sad about it. I’m just furious you think that it makes you better because it doesn’t.