In the current economic climate, times are tough for everyone and getting a job is no easy task. So people have had to become more and more inventive in their career choices. But is marrying a rich man and being a stay at home mum - what most feminists would regard as the opposite of a career option - a valid career option?
The reason that I am asking this question is because of the recent case of mother of two Rachel Ragg. She is spending huge amounts of money sending her daughter to probably the best junior school in the country. After this she intends to send her to a top private secondary school and then hopefully to Oxford. While this is a great way to look after your children’s future, her plan for Matilda is not what you would expect. The reason that Matilda aged 9 is having all this money invested in her future, is so that she can meet a rich husband and become a stay at home mother. Now there are actually many mothers who engage in this sort of practice, but they are not quite as open about it as Rachel.
One of the most interesting aspects is the fact that both Rachel and her husband are both former academics. Mrs. Ragg is an intelligent former career woman, who has clearly put a lot of thought into this. Her son William aged 11, is also having a similar investment in his education. But this is primarily so that he can provide for his wife and perhaps even find a good husband for Matilda among his future peers.
Despite, that in many ways, this is a somewhat logical career path. There are some problems with it. No I am not taking a feminist approach, as I believe that a woman has a choice to do whatever she wants. To be honest in order to be a true feminist; I would think that you should embrace all career options especially being a stay at home mother. Sadly, so many people seem to view stay at home mothers as un-ambitious and living in indentured servitude.
Instead, my worry is whether or not this is what Matilda will want for herself. At this point Matilda loves the idea of living in a large countryside house with six kids, farm animals, and a wealthy husband, but she is nine; how will she feel when she is twenty two? This is all her mother’s idea and although she has the best intentions, one has to get the feeling that her mother is hoping to live vicariously through her daughter. Apparently, Rachel has already started looking for potential husbands for Matilda. This in itself is probably the most worrying factor, as it seems to scream of arranged marriage. Is that something that Matilda will be happy with when she is older? When she is at University it is quite possible she will fall in love with someone who is not rich. This would throw her mother’s plan completely out the window. Of course, Matilda would still have the education so I suppose her bases will still be covered.
While it is certainly an interesting career choice, it is not new in itself; people have been marrying 'up' for centuries now but of course, keeping it private. Admitting to this strategy of securing future wealth is something of a new approach that is for sure.