Natasha Kaplinsky in married 35 year-old woman gets pregnant shock!
I've read two articles recently that have returned to the themes and questions of "The Compleat Woman", first published 20 years ago, and asked, in today's world, can women have 'it all'? 'It all', in this context, doesn't mean everything they might want, whether that is travelling the world and living out of a backpack, or marrying their childhood sweethearts and living in a cottage with roses round the door, it means having a job, a man, and children. And keeping all three, successfully, for a long time.
Not just any job, either, a Career with a capital 'C'. Preferably one that pays at least as much, if not more than, your husband's does - because yes, he does need to be a husband, not a partner or boyfriend, apparently. And children plural, and ideally one of each gender.
Is this model the only way women can feel like they've achieved something in their lives? Not in my book - but then my book isn't The Compleat Woman, clearly. But neither is it a bad thing - if that's what you want, what works for you and your family, then great. Surely that's what feminism is about, at its heart; women having choices and options. The ability to choose whether to have a family or not, to have a job and get paid fairly for it, to have both of these things, or neither.
But we - and when I say we, I mean the media - seem unable to quite get this. Natasha Kaplinsky is attractive, intelligent, successful, and apparently happily married. Now she's having a baby. Fab. Seems like she's doing just what we're told we should want, and strive for. Er - no. Because she's only recently started a new job, the media are up in arms. The London Paper has even calculated the amount of maternity pay she WOULD be getting, we she not a freelancer. Which means she won't get and maternity pay, apart from the 'whopping' statutory maternity pay of about £112 a week. So, essentially all that will happen is she'll take a few months unpaid leave during which time someone will fill in for her, and then (I'm sure) she'll return to work and juggle motherhood and career and everything else, just like thousands of other women do. Should the story be breaking news? Only if 'beautiful cook has podgy knees' is also... oh.