In a recent episode of Made in Chelsea, the hit reality TV show in which posh people discuss posh problems, I experienced the novelty of actually relating to the fiery and outspoken Maeva D’ascanio.
Maeva lashed out at her boyfriend for making her wait for him to propose following the news of two fellow female castmates announcing their respective engagements. Whilst I’m only 23 and a long way off from wanting to walk down the aisle if ever, I recognise the frustration and panic that as a woman, her timeline was not going according to plan.
The notion of a ‘biological clock’ has appeared in much pop culture. From Charlotte Lucas marrying Mr Collins out of fear of becoming a spinster to Bridget Jones being sat at a dinner party table with morphed couples who have come to share mannerisms; the thought of getting left behind and winding up an old hag has haunted women for centuries.
Today, many young women look to Dolly Alderton, who has been labelled “something of a Bridget Jones for millennials.” Her best-selling book Everything I know about love details her journey of finally rejecting these pressures in her 30s and finding acceptance in her personal stage in life. However, even in this modern-day, and with all the wisdom Ms Alderton possesses, she still struggled. The implication becomes that Ms. Alderton developed her resistance as a result of the societal pressure she lived through, which remains an unjust price to pay. So, what hope is there for Maeva? And what hope is there for me?
Would a gender-wide revolt work? Perhaps we all mutually agree to not formulate five-year plans, not figure our careers out by 25, not commit to a long-term relationship before 27 and not start thinking about sacrificing said career for children by 30. Or do we just pray that those things do work out for us so that we do not become the friend left?
Whilst Maeva is objectively a very fiery character and is often involved in arguments. There is a certain sadness that by arguing with her boyfriend she sets into motion a sort of self-destructive behaviour that is a direct result of a societal construct that suggests time is running out. Potentially damaging her relationship beyond repair.
I think the development of Charlotte Lucas and her unhappy marriage, to Bridget Jones and her successful career with accepting Mark Darcy to a fulfilled and single Dolly Alderton shows that progress is being made. However, as demonstrated by Maeva, the niggle in our ears that says time is running out remains. It is not something that we can shut off ourselves because its coming from an external source. Maybe a gender-wide revolt is a stretch but certainly, there needs to be some kind of a conscious group effort to silence the niggle together.