to think Mary Berry is at best naive, and at worst deluded, about feminism?

(304 Posts)
MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 13:42:56

Times link if you can get through the paywall
free Daily Mail link

Apparently feminists are shouty. We should enjoy being "looked after" and gently persuade our menfolk with our feminine wiles to do what we want. It's alright if you're surrounded by well-meaning malleable blokes.

No mention of equal pay, equal voting rights, equal employment opportunities, freedom from sexual discrimination or harrassment, etc. No - all you need to do, is "persuade them [men] gently to do things and, of course, when they come back they say, “Oh, wasn’t that fun?” Try telling that to victims of domestic violence Mary...

AmberSocks Mon 28-Jan-13 16:45:26

the thing is feminists do have a bad rep,i can see why some women dont want to be seen as a feminist.

If being a feminist means i am a woman who wants to have equal rights and opportunities to men then yes i am one,but i have to say,some people on here seem to look for sexism where it isnt,some people are just idiots,just because they are being nasty to a woman doesnt mean is sexist,they are just being nasty!Same as when a white person does something to a black person,its not always race related.

I

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 16:46:24

"What does it matter if she is a feminist or not?"

She has every right not to be a feminist. The problem is that she doesn't seem to have understood what feminism is, and is unfortunately perpetuating the DM/netmums myth that feminists are some man-hating shouty stereotype.

MmeLindor Mon 28-Jan-13 16:48:32

In the interview, Berry was asked whether she thought feminism meant “shouting at men and being horrible and angry and rejecting them”.

The “Queen of Cakes”, as she is known, replied: “I don’t like that at all. I respect them. I don’t like shouting.”

“Feminism is a dirty word. You’ve got to persuade them [men] gently to do things and, of course, when they come back they say, ‘Oh, wasn’t that fun?’”

I reckon that was quite a leading question really.

And agree with whoever said that the journalist should have followed up on what feminism has done for Mary Berry, and asked what she thought feminism is.

Not everyone self-identifies as a feminist, but they may still live their lives with feminist principles.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 16:50:43

Maybe if Mary Berry has been misquoted or misrepresented, then she should come on MN and set the record straight.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 16:50:53

Feminists don't have a bad reputation. Women do.

It's women who are seen as weak, incapable, emotional.

And because feminism questions that and was succeeding to an extent, there was an outpouring of negativity about it. BUT, when you get a popular figure such as MB restating that feminism is nasty and shouty, it just perpetuates the myth and makes women reject the concept without ever really considering it.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 16:53:20

LRD min - I would think the way around it is to get rid of the idea that the best way to work is by working 12 hour days, and that only women take leave when they have a baby?

Yes but that throws up a couple of issues
1. How many women would be actually willing to share their leave - I'll be honest, I wanted those 6 and 10 months respectively with my babies. My DH was happy enough with the arrangement, he loves the time he spend with the children but a couple of months at home - no way.

2. How can one rise to lead a company without putting in the hours required to truly make an impact?

AmberSocks Mon 28-Jan-13 16:55:05

i disagree,feminists do have a bad rep!

Mme - true, that's a very leading question.

min - well, obviously. There are masses of issues. That's why I say, it's a question that's been discussed a heck of a lot, and even if she hasn't had a personal stake in it, it is surprising she's somehow missed the debates, and rather implausible.

bonceaswell Mon 28-Jan-13 16:57:31

I was really shocked at her comments, but am prepared to put them down to her advanced age and just a silly slip. But I'm wondering whether she would have said that if her parents had sold her to her husband at the age of 11, she was forced to give birth over and over again, wasn't allowed to have an education, was beaten and raped and then denied access to justice. And had her external genitals sliced off with a dirty knife before she reached puberty. Women's rights is not about shouty women that hate men burning their bras - it's about having equal rights to be in control of their own lives, just like men.

Btw, I should say, I'm pretty sure it's bollocks you need to work 12 hour days before you make an 'impact' on a company.

If that were true, there would be no differences in terms of working weeks across different countries, would there?

But in fact, we in the UK work very long hours and people in France don't. I think a lot of it is to do with a culture of presenteeism.

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 16:59:30

How many women would be actually willing to share their leave - I'll be honest, I wanted those 6 and 10 months respectively with my babies. My DH was happy enough with the arrangement, he loves the time he spend with the children but a couple of months at home - no way.

I think more men would if raising children was seen as having value. There's no reason why it can't be the norm for two parents to parent equally during the early years. It's just a matter of changing legislation and expectations. Your husband probably was perfectly capable but didn't want to because he's not expected to

2. How can one rise to lead a company without putting in the hours required to truly make an impact?

By realising that impact does not equal presenteeism. More and more employers are recognising this but only when men like your husband take time off or equally share in parenting, will it become the norm. Women, for their part, will also need to let go of the notion that they are always, automatically the best carer.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 17:01:45
MmeLindor Mon 28-Jan-13 17:02:17

I also agree with AF. Why was she asked about her views on feminism at all.

You know, just cause someone is a woman, and one I admire for her cakes, it doesn't mean that I am going to agree with her on issues.

I met the granny of Pres Obama last year, who was presented as a feminist icon, when she was nothing of the sort. It annoyed me that there was a pretence - this idea of a wise 'village elder' feminist, when she was really wasn't.

Just because she is the granny of a president, or a well-loved baker/TV presenter.. it doesn't mean these women speak for feminists the world over. And if we expect them to, then we will be disappointed.

expatinscotland Mon 28-Jan-13 17:03:42

She's a professional baker, fgs, who is nearly 80 years old.

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 17:03:56

bonceaswell That's what I meant earlier when I said that she must have lived a charmed life if she has never been affected by any sexism whatsoever.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:04:00

LRD But in fact, we in the UK work very long hours and people in France don't. I think a lot of it is to do with a culture of presenteeism

Agreed to an extent but no very senior person working in a private company in France or anywhere else is working 6-7 or even 8 hour days.
I abhor long working hours but to be a CEO of a large company you cant do a short day.

Blistory Why would raising children be seen as having value in a corporate environment. It has no value to a company so why would they reward it?

MardyBraWouldDoEddieRedmayne Mon 28-Jan-13 17:05:07

"Why was she asked about her views on feminism at all. "

It would appear that she has a new telly programme this week. And now we're all talking about her.

Yes, min, I know. I am just saying that my impression is that these are issues people have been discussing, at some length and in some depth.

Of course we could do the 'Feminism and Working Women, 101' right here and right now, but I doubt Mary Berry is reading. I do take the point that she is elderly and that most men aren't asked their views on feminism with the assumption that women would care if they agreed. But I do think it is selfish of her/her interviewer to decide to paint such a negative picture of feminism while ignoring what it's about.

I can't separate out what is down to the interviewer and what is down to her, and in the nature of an interview. But I do feel disappointed that someone who is successful would say the things she's been quoted as saying.

It doesn't mean I don't still think she comes across as a lovely person and a knowledgeable baker and so on.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:08:43

Well she is a bit more than a baker. She has a company that produces sauces etc

She is asked her views on feminism because she is quite unusual for women of that generation - career, children etc

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:09:48

LRD The interviewer was Camilla Long who I find to be quite sneery to women and a bit simpering to men.

expatinscotland Mon 28-Jan-13 17:09:54

I still couldn't care less. If her sauces are good, I'll buy them!

Blistory Mon 28-Jan-13 17:10:25

Min

Because it is generally women who take the time off to raise children so it is women who are penalised with their long term career prospects. Men are able to be present at work because they're not expected to be present at home. We need to get away from this.

If men also took time off as the norm, we would be able to get away from the culture of presenteeism and start valuing the input/output. And I say that as someone who works in a corporate environment which charges by the hour.

And that benefits everyone, not just parents.

Gigondas Mon 28-Jan-13 17:11:17

Yes Mindosa and (as most journalists do) she goes looking for an angle which i imagine is what paper employs her for.

min - I've not read much by her, but that's a pity, if so.

I would agree with gig that most (all!) journalists have an angle, so it's not surprising IMO.

I agree with blis about benefit and childcare, btw.

mindosa Mon 28-Jan-13 17:13:56

Blistory But the company doesnt benefit and that is all the company cares about so in reality what would happen is that the men/women who took the least amount of time off would be rewarded because their outputs would be much higher. So no change then.
Its rare indeed to have someone who can deliver within a siginificantly shorter time frame than others at the same level.

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