In metre-high letters on a prominent building in an occasionally affluent London borough the opinion-led website britainthinks.com has proclaimed loud and bold what some of us secretly fear.
How bloody dare they?
The poster invites me to agree or disagree with this statement. I can do neither.
The debate is what might make a bad mother, not how we can identify bad mothers without knowing any more than the external choices they have made.
Suggesting that career women make bad mothers with a one-way medium that incites controversy rather than invites debate is irresponsible.
Twenty-seven years ago my mother was shouted at by a woman in a shop who thought it disgusting that she had gone back to work, rather than commit to looking after me. She is still working and has gone far in her chosen career, still making time to give me the love and support both I and my brother need. She may not be maternal but she is a brilliant mother.
I know a few women my age that have children and have career ambitions. I also know people that would choose motherhood as their career. Society needs to give women who make either choice all the support they can, because ultimately what we need are good mothers, not women crippled by insecurity or glass ceilings.
According to their website, britainthinks “was created to give people a new voice and support the vibrant democracy that the people of Britain already participate in up and down the country – in the pubs, living rooms and street corners of our nation. We’re not backed by big news media organisations. We have no political or religious axe to grind. We just believe it is high time for us all to listen, speak and vote for the issues that count in our daily lives.”
At first read it sounds like a Daily Mail-lover’s social networking site de jour, and the bruiser fronting the show affirms this initial view. Until you hit play and discover that this man is brusque in manner only and not going to rant incomprehensibly with his 1 minute of frame. Visitors are invited to comment, rate vox pops and users’ videos, and upload vodcasts of their own.
Subjects under scrutiny include immigration, who really runs the country and the value of the BBC. Posters as large and prominent as the one above include:
- 1966. It won’t happen this year.
- Educashun isn’t working.
Neither as emotive as the one that caught my attention this morning. What makes them think suggesting the above is in the same league of discussion?
For football fans, winning the World Cup is important but invites real debate that brings in players’ form, the latest Manager; the dig at education is almost witty, were it not for a widespread endorsement of poor spelling by tools like texting and Twitter; career women are among us and some of them are mothers, that part of the debate is over. The rest is a whole new issue.