Lifestyle

So what if Rihanna chooses to be a single parent?


The media have a long-standing obsession with female celebrities and their plans to procreate (Picture: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Our world as we know it has changed for the foreseeable due to coronavirus.

However, if you’re yearning for some normality during these unprecedented times, just take a glance at the entertainment news and you’ll see that, when it comes to misogyny, it’s business as usual.

In an interview for Vogue this week, Rihanna spoke about her upcoming music, multi billion-dollar business empire and her black rights activism, yet the single quote that many other news outlets chose to focus on for their headline was a fleeting comment she made about having children.

I wish I was surprised.

The media have a long-standing obsession with female celebrities and their plans to procreate. If Jennifer Aniston had actually been pregnant each time it was speculated, she would not only have enough offspring to occupy a football team, but to populate the Premier League.

It would appear that no matter what a woman has achieved in her life, in the eyes of society, her real success is whether or not she has finished her shift as a baby factory. 

‘Rihanna’s 10-year plan includes having “3 or 4” kids with or without a partner’ was the headline chosen by one particular publication, which then sparked a Twitter debate over whether or not it was selfish for Ri-Ri to raise children as a single mother.

‘Children NEED fathers, Rihanna’, wrote Twitter’s resident sphincter and king of misogyny, Stefan Molyneux, ‘Life is not all about you’. He then followed this with a tweet about actress Priyanka Chopra, ‘Priyanka Chopra is 37. No kids. Like a toddler, everything is about her.’ He then presumably came up for air from his bottle-feed to add, ‘Women who don’t raise children rarely grow up.’ Thank you, Stefan, now back to your cave.

Under ideological circumstances, of course there is an argument for the importance of both a male and female parent in a child’s upbringing. Does that sole factor guarantee a happy childhood and well-adjusted adult? No.

You don’t have to be a clinical psychologist to see that it is beneficial for a child to have both male and female positive role models during their development, but surely those primary figures do not exclusively need to be biological parents in a relationship.

Love, no matter the familial set-up, is the key ingredient here.

Being a mother isn’t a given, nor should it be (Picture: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

With a net worth of $600million, how on earth will Rihanna provide for her children without a man in her life? As the founder of a $3billion business, however will she manage running a household all by her dainty little self?

I wish society threw its shade on parents who abandon their children, rather than those who go it alone either by choice or through necessity.

I also wish that society did more to recognise and celebrate women who make phenomenal achievements in the world of business. To think that all of Rihanna’s work, her music and her (sadly necessary) pioneering work to develop beauty products for women of colour had been overshadowed by her plans for motherhood is a sad reminder of how far we have yet to go.

I hadn’t given motherhood any serious planning until Instagram told me I should. Where once there were adverts for laser hair removal, came sponsored posts for pregnancy tests, which have now been firmly replaced by ads for egg freezing, as though each product was dependent on the success of the former. It was as if the marketing algorithms were informed by the lack of holiday snaps with a partner and had given up on my breeding capabilities long before I had even considered them. 

Being a mother isn’t a given, nor should it be. Since barely having their own umbilical cords sliced off, little girls are taught to play mummy to plastic-faced children of smaller proportions, but becoming a real mother should always be by choice. Yet so many women still face the stigma of being ‘childless’.

I would like to be a mum one day but not because of any societal pressures to do so.

If I’m fortunate enough to meet someone I love and tolerate who tolerates and loves me back, then having children would most certainly be part of the plan. If I’m still young enough (and thanks to Instagram, I’m now very aware that I don’t have very long) I would love to have children of my own.

If, for a myriad of reasons, that doesn’t work out then I would absolutely try adoption or surrogacy. If I hadn’t met the right partner in that time, then I wouldn’t hesitate to go it alone.

I wouldn’t be the first woman to raise a child without a father present, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the last.

There are far too many women in the world who are forced to take on the role of both father and mother and do so impeccably, so why should we judge any woman who does so by choice?

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing claie.wilson@metro.co.uk

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