Jess Ennis, The Evening Standard and living the dream

Apparently not the dream...

This blog post may appear to be about something small and insignificant and that’s because, well, it is. But, when it comes to sexism, it is important every now and then to point the metaphorical finger and shout, (not so metaphorically), ‘What the flipping heck is this all flipping about??’

I was perusing the Evening Standard on Wednesday evening while on the tube home and, turning the front page, was greeted by The Mighty JEnnis(-Hill) grinning back at me. I thought to myself: ‘I like The Mighty Jennis. This is a story I want to read’.

How naïve I was. One sentence in and I’m fighting the urge to fling the newspaper very far and very fast down the carriage at some unsuspecting fellow passenger.

‘Jessica Ennis today revealed she will put off her dream of starting a family until she retires from sport.’

Her dream? Really? Here I was thinking winning an Olympic gold in her home country while being cheered on by hundreds of thousands of adoring fans might have been her dream. And perhaps going on to win at the World Championships in Moscow next month and pick up another gold at Rio 2016 was her dream.

But no. According to the Evening Standard, her dream is to have babies. All this running and jumping about is just filling time. Don’t get me wrong, babies are great, the Mighty Jennis herself admits she wants to start a family. But what is so annoying, so inherently sexist and just plain unnecessary is the assumption that a woman’s main goal in life is to start a family and anything else is just delaying that goal.

The first line to this story might as well have read:

Shock as woman denies her natural purpose in life and confesses to not wanting children…yet.

That’s another thing, (I’m on a roll now), how is this even news? If she’d come out and said, ‘I never want children, in fact I find babies and the idea of family life entirely repulsive and am considering becoming a hermit’ then I’d still be mad as this isn’t really any of our business, (if not a little confused), but at least it’d be more print-worthy. If women deciding to put off having children until they’re ready is big news then all of my female friends, relatives and I could be on the front-page!

So yes, this may be a big rant about a small article, but for blatant sexist rubbish like this to be constantly published and accepted by readers is, to me anyway, definitely not small and insignificant.


Louise Quick blogs at  Bright Young Thing. She can also be found haunting the corridors of various magazine offices in London or at my house making tea.


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