Ladies and gentlemen and the entire class of 2024: don’t let anyone tell you when your life should ‘truly’ start
women's life speech

It’s safe to assume that those of you with access to the internet will have probably seen *that* speech made by a Kansas City Chiefs kicker, who I do not care to name, at a graduation ceremony at Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas. We need to talk about what he said. 

The fact of his Catholic faith, and the college itself being a private Catholic school, does not change the dangerously misogynistic message within his speech. He got up on stage and confidently said “I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you”. He went on to retell the fairytale-esque story of how his wife’s life “truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother” and suggested that the same will apply to the other women sitting in the auditorium. The college-educated women. 

Imagine being sat in your cap and gown, holding the diploma you worked tirelessly for years to earn, having to listen to someone who is neither a wife or a mother say your aspirations outside of family life are insignificant. In 2024.

It’s lovely that this football player’s wife found fulfilment in being a fulltime housewife. It really is. For her. In case we all had a momentary loss of memory, women are not a homogenous collective of breeders. They do, in fact, have unique minds, individual goals, and can do whatever the hell they want to with their lives. It is, however, incredibly sad that they still can’t seem to do it without judgement. 

He had the opportunity to discuss anything in his speech, but no. He just couldn’t resist using it as an opportunity to taint what was a monumental day for so many young women. When will people accept that what women want to do with their lives is no one else’s business but theirs?

There would have no doubt been women sitting in the audience who were looking forward to a life of settling down and starting a family. But there would have also been plenty of women who were looking forward to starting their careers, or travelling the world, or whose vision for the future does not involve marriage and children. And, do you know what? All of those women have the chance of finding happiness.

It is not a “diabolical lie” to tell a woman she has the capacity to be more than a wife or a mother. Funnily enough, the football player never made any association to masculinity and fatherhood in his speech, other than encouraging men to be present in their homes when taking time off from “setting the tone of the culture”.

Rhetoric like this is nothing more than harmful, bigoted propaganda that has no place anywhere, let alone at a graduation ceremony. He may have tried to hide behind his religion as an excuse for his beliefs, but even God did not create women to be wives and mothers. He created them to be people. 

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