Hillary Clinton needs to shut up. Stop talking. So does Lena Dunham. Yasmin Abdel-Magied should definitely be quiet. Or go away. Why did any of them write books or give interviews about them? And Taylor Swift? And Zadie Smith? Enough. Hush. Just silence please, ladies. We don’t want to hear your songs or your opinions.
And the people doing this infernal shusshing of women most aggressively? In many cases lately, it’s other women.
This week, Camilla Franks gave an interview about her pregnancy at age 41. “A couple of years ago I went through so many different tests and got told I needed to do IVF and spent thousands of dollars all from fear of what I was being told,” she told the Sunday Telegraph. “I went to all these meetings and appointments all driven from complete fear that I couldn’t have a child. I think we need to take the fear out of it. It was the wrong advice and it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t true and I was told I had to potentially go down the path of IVF and it was absolute BS. So I think, take a lot of it with a grain of salt.”
Many people did not like this advice. Fair enough. Franks is a designer not a doctor or fertility specialist. But instead of arguing her points and putting forward their own, some angrily insisted she should never have voiced her opinion at all. Which is kind of censorious. She was branded ‘irresponsible’ and her comments were dissected and analysed and criticised. Again, fair enough. Argue. Analyse. Dispute. But think before you tell a woman she has no right to raise her voice about her own experience and or voice her own opinion.
One of those who spoke out against Camilla, was Lisa Wilkinson who wrote a personal and impassioned plea in the Huffington Post for women not to take Franks’ ‘just chill and it will be fine’ advice about their fertility. At no time did she tell Franks to shut up, she was very measured in her response, simply pointing out that it’s far more important to listen to medical advice than the anecdotal experience of one person when making decisions about when to start a family.