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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...

MerlotAndMe Thu 31-Jan-13 20:16:21

Men could choose to stay at home if they chose a different kind of wife.

I think men subconsciously want to earn more, they want the power and the control and the final say. They also just prioritise a woman's looks way above what she earns. That's the status quo that most men are the most comfortable with... also, even modern, liberal men are statistically likely to be paid more than the woman doing the same job 3 desks away.

MoonLighter Thu 31-Jan-13 16:23:34

I see what you are saying Xenia and i agree that men should have more choice in whether they want a stay at home role in the same way women do.

It is just such a difficult thing to comment on because there are so many shades of grey inbetween the black and white picture. The scenario you are wrote about is true for some but not for all. Women who want a career can go for their goal and achieve what they want to achieve. The draw back is when they do decide to start a family, it is tougher on women then men and it always will be because women are the ones who carry and give birth to the baby. That and maternity leave puts a big stigma on a womans career.

Whatever happens in later years when the child get bigger can be worked out to what works best for the family but to start with during that first period of pregnacy and birth, women don't have the choice because men can't do it for them. The point i am trying to make is when a man announces in the workplace that he and his wife/partner are having a baby the only thing that will effect that mans job during that time is a couple of weeks paternity leave (although now with the maternity share it could be longer.) Whereas when a woman goes in and announces she is pregnant it effects so much more. There is potential morning sickness/time off, appointments/time off, risk assessment with potential moving her job around if her condition is too unsafe/risky to do her currant role then there is maternity leave plus all the little things that could happen/change/go wrong inbetween. Maternity leave in itself puts women to a disadvantage because it's ok to give more and more rights but it ends up being counterproductive because it makes employers not want to employ women of a certain age, especially as a woman can leave the employer in limbo by not telling them if they intend to come back or not.

I know you said you went to work 2 weeks after birth and i completely respect your choice on that. But not many women do want to go back to work that soon and alot enjoy the time spent with their babies and after birth, alot of women's mindset changes so the career they were very happy with before doesn't look so appealing anymore.

I also don't think most women have the same mindset as men because that is just the way we are made. I am all for women working, i think women in careers is a very positive thing so don't get me wrong in that. There does seem to be a stigma attached to women who choose to stay at home with their children these days almost like they are letting the side down if they do.

Family life has broken down and the results aren't making people happier they are making family life harder and more miserable. I don't understand why?

Xenia Thu 31-Jan-13 10:44:26

Yes, some people do choose to stay home out of choice. Many men hate their work, nasty boss, long hours, loads of travelling and if told you can stay home and be your own boss in effect at home and your wife will work would jump at the chance. Men are rarely given that choice in the same way women are.

Most people are not happy to work particularly hard or do not like their work enough to do it to the extent you need to succeed at most things and this applies to some men too. However we still have most women earning less than their husbands as women tend to marry older men who are a bit better educated and earn more. That may be changing but for now if he is on £60k and she £25k because he picked a better career or is a bit older you ccan be pretty sure who will stay at home. If instead she is on £100k they probably won't want to lose that standard of living when a baby comes. Women very often do not choose to marry men who are much worse than they are still. It is a key reason for women not doing better as they move into their 30s and 40s - they are the ones with the lower pay so they are the ones who sacrifice career and plenty then go on to regret that too.

I would like us to get beyond women subconsciously marrying good providers and men pretty women whose career doesn't matter.

MerlotAndMe Wed 30-Jan-13 21:54:04

Enjoy being looked after?!

EVEN supposing everybody wanted that and only that, it does smack of 'I'm alright jack'. I wouldn't mind being 'looked after' occasionally but things like equal pay and tougher sentences for sexual offenders and more women in the cabinet and various other things matter a bit more. God love her. She can roll a roulade though, I'll give her that.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 21:51:33

xenia You have made some good points although on some parts, do you think some of those women who didn't filter through maybe chose to stay with their children out of choice? I mean lots of women in careers don't feel the same about their career after they have their babies because they have a mind shift and feel their priorities are different? Not all women of course but alot do feel different about life, jobs and priorities after children.

merrymouse Wed 30-Jan-13 20:57:20

To be fair to Janet and Mary, one is a journalist and going on about stuff is her job. The other is a cookery writer and presenter and that is her job.

They both just do the work for which they are paid.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 30-Jan-13 20:45:44

How do you feel about shared post-baby leave, Xenia?

Xenia Wed 30-Jan-13 20:33:15

I have always thought that long maternity leaves are a tool to keep women down, ensure sexism in a marriage and destroy female careers. I am sure the fact I have had such a wonderful family life and career is because I chose to take 2 weeks of holiday and return full time to work. Best of all worlds. I agree with Moonlighter.

I don't think we need be too concerned about more women graduating than men as by the time women hit the age of having babies they marry men who force them to stay home or put their career on a second track or who were brought up by housewives so they expect not to work much so that despite being 60% of graduates by the time they get to their thirties and 40s women make up about 15 - 20% of very senior roles. The 60% graduate rate and 50% in my day 30 years ago has not filtered through. If it had worked then 50% the cabinet, boards and the like would be female as women may age made up about 50% of graduates. In other words women doing better at university has not stopped them choosing to go part time, work for pin money and devote their lives to housework, keeping a man happy and doing most of the cleaning and childcare whilst he goes out into the big world and earns the real money.

We do have the nice recent statistic though that women like I am who set up their own businesses and do well now out earn men who do that. That does give me some comfort and in those cases you can simply be the best int h e Uk at what you do which is what I try to be and it does not matter if a male or female colleague promotes you or whatever as you own, rather than are a paye slave.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 30-Jan-13 20:25:46

I get on with my job. In my spare time I advocate women's rights and I also call sexism at work if I see it, just as I would with any other ism.

The two aren't mutually exclusive, you know.

Incidentally, "maternity" leave can now be shared by both parents and the majority of children are born after a joint choice, rather than because of "women and their choices"

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 18:35:02

There is nothing wrong with fighting for equal pay in a job where both genders do the same work equally, there is nothing wrong with women going into roles that have been traditionally for men either. But the amount of complaining and whining that goes on when it would be more productive to just get on with the job. No man is going to complain if a woman is just getting on with the job in hand.

Maternity leave is going too far the other way. Six months was perfect, now it's turning into a whole year and you don't even have to tell your employer if you are coming back. That is hard on business, especially small ones. It seems some women don't want equality, they want the whole workforce to evolve around them and their choices.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Wed 30-Jan-13 18:12:07

Compare one person with another person and one seems happier than the other and even though they are totally different people with different lives and different personalities, the happiness differential is down to their outspokenness or not about feminism.

What the actual what?

Blistory Wed 30-Jan-13 18:11:18

So because some women have advantages that allow them to benefit from the system, we should hold them up as examples ? And ignore that the system is broken and only able to be worked by a very few select women.

Do you know what ? I would have bothered be less if she'd said nothing. It's the fact that she implied that maternity leave is a negative. It happens to be a really huge area in terms of fixing the system and ensuring equality for women but when you get public personas voicing that it's somehow wrong, it reinforces the attitudes of those who don't want change.

expatinscotland Wed 30-Jan-13 17:56:57

Maybe Mary was too busy living, you know, that thing called working FT, which she has all her adult life, and raising a family and such likes to become politically active.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 17:44:34

Mary Berry has done plenty for women by just getting on with things. To me it is a far more powerful message to go out, get on with the job in hand and work alongside men happily than it is to constantly moan about how unfair everything is. There are the complainers then there are the doers who are the ones who actually get things done.

Thatcher was a doer not a complainer and look how much she got done. She didn't complain about how unfair men were, she showed them what she could do and did it.

Blistory Wed 30-Jan-13 17:26:46

Maybe MB is happier because she's only had to concern herself with her and her family. She enjoys the results of feminism but doesn't seem to have contributed much to women's rights. So she enjoys the advantages but won't recognise those advantages for being just that. Hmmmm.

Not a fan of JSP but at least she sees some of the issues and raises awareness.

It certainly makes for a harder life when you decide to speak out. I wouldn't condemn someone for staying quiet but I wouldn't praise them for it either.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 17:10:58

Compare Mary Berry with someone like Janet Street Porter, one a full on feminist and the other not. Yet i see Mary Berry as someone who has achieved far more in terms of equality than Janet has from my view.

Mary has enjoyed a career she loves with much success, has a lovely family, has been married 46 years and is a happy, joyful person who respects men and works happily alongside them.

Then i look at Janet who has been married 3 times, is always moaning about something or some unfairness she has come across, doesn't appear to actually like men and never seems happy about anything.

I know if i was on my death bed which one i would want to be.

grovel Wed 30-Jan-13 16:43:04

I like that Moonlighter.

My MiL was just like Mary B. She would completely have agreed with the list above. She once told me that she was a feminist but not a Feminist. This distinction made perfect sense to her and I suspect MB would "get it" better than I did.

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 16:37:36

monica77798 - i have to agree with you there. It's along the same lines as men looking at young, fit girls naked or going to a strip club are called dirty old pervs who are degrading women. But women looking at a young, fit guy or having a male stripper at a hen party is deamed as "a bit of fun" and "a bit of laugh." Both principles are the same but one is ok and the other is "wrong".

I think with Mary Berry, she did ok because the career she chose was classed as "womans" work anyway. Cooking and baking were what women did in those days, no self respecting man would have been seen holding a cake tin! So she wasn't really challenged in what she did because it wasn't threatening to men and she wasn't trying to compete with men. I do like Marys attitude towards men actually - she doesn't want to compete against them or "beat" them at anything, she just respects them and gets along with them and i think because of this she is repected and they get along with her back.

Is that not what we are trying to do - not compete against men but merely work alongside with them?

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 16:29:45

She (berry) comes over as confused. I do feel the need to point out to Mardy shes hardly likely to mention equal voting rights since im pretty sure we already have those and it would be a leetle irrelevant.... sigh

MoonLighter Wed 30-Jan-13 16:25:01

ppeatfruit - that is a cop out, Thatcher isn't to blame for todays recession. Sure, she did deregulate the banks but that doesn't mean she made it ok or legal for the things that went on within the banking industry years after. You should be blaming the FSA for it's failure to regulate effectively and nip any corrsive culture in the bud. They had all the powers they needed to do the job properly, they just failed to do it. But then what do you expect when the majority of staff come from banking backgrounds.

The state of the Country and the world recession is bad, but if Blair and Brown hadn't screwed up the finances so badly and made alot of people very dependant (with a belief that they can have a middle class lifestyle doing 20 hours a week) then we may have been in a better position to fight the recession than we are now. Helping people isn't to throw money at them (which we cannot afford to sustane), it's to help them stand on their own two feet and help themselves (Thatchers message.)

ppeatfruit Wed 30-Jan-13 12:58:06

One interesting point about why some older women are not keen to be called feminists (even though they are in their lives) is that in the 70s some women were SO extreme and anti male in their feminism that they set up communes and forbade the member's baby sons being part of them.

It was given a lot of publicity at that time (probably too much) but I remember feeling very shocked by that.

atthewelles Wed 30-Jan-13 12:05:29

Not only did Mary Berry suffer from polio and struggle academically at school. She also suffered the appalling tragedy of losing her teenage son in a car accident. How on earth can anyone say she's led a 'charmed life'?

monica77798 Wed 30-Jan-13 11:31:13

"MoonLighter Tue 29-Jan-13 14:38:49
monica77798 - so do you mean feminists don't want to work alongside men as their equal, they want men to work for them as their underpin? Basically reverse the roles so men aren't charge, women are?"

Yes exactly that. Feminists will complain about inequality when women are worse off, but gloat about it or ignore it when men are worse off. As an example, about 60% of uni students are female and this majority has been increasing every year for the past two decades. Rather than debating this inequality, feminists will focus on the few subjects like engineering where female students are a minority.

kimorama Wed 30-Jan-13 11:29:59

Yes, the TV programme ahowed her as a lady of her time. A lot of women have moved on.

Gigondas Wed 30-Jan-13 11:15:44

Agree with ppeat -my definition of a charmed life doesn't include having life altering illness at 14 or losing a

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