Kate Smurthwaite // 11 June 2009
I was on Five Live on Tuesday night as Richard Bacon’s “presenter’s friend” which is a really fun job where you get to chat about all the subjects that come up. We interviewed Pete Waterman and met an amazing duo called Nathan Flutebox Lee and Beardyman (whose act you may have seen on YouTube and is really quite amazing). In between the subject of Gordon Ramsay was up for discussion.
In case you have missed the story in question Ramsay is over in Australia at the moment promoting a new restaurant and took the time to appear on a TV chat show hosted by Tracy Grimshaw. While on air he said a few rather rude things to her about her appearance, making fun of a mole on her lip. She took it as a joke and laughed it off. Then at his live show he held up a really horrible picture of a woman on all fours with six breasts and a pig’s head and said “This is Tracy Grimshaw”. Some sources claim he also suggested she was a lesbian (cos that’s an insult right?).
And brilliantly something happened. Grimshaw herself responded to the situation saying she had been very upset by it. She also said – and I love this quote – “Obviously Gordon thinks that any woman who doesn’t find him attractive must be gay. For the record, I don’t. And I’m not.”. The Women’s Forum Australia made a statement saying “Why should he get paid for depicting a woman as an animal and publicly deriding her looks? He shouldn’t make money through the verbal abuse of women.” and even the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joined in saying Ramsay was “a new form of low life”. After initially dismissing it as a joke Ramsay has now been forced to make a very public apology.
Well you know me readers – the last thing I would want to be considered is smug but I do think us feminists can smell a misogynist coming at 200 yards and I’ve known from day one that Ramsay has a bad attitude towards women. Firstly I remember in one of his early TV shows he had a special section in which he campaigned to “Get women back in the kitchen”. The concept behind it was of course a perfectly reasonable one – to encourage people to make more home-cooked food – but he had to make it about women and about reviving antiquated Victorian ideals that have destroyed women’s lives for centuries.
Secondly remember when he had three-year-olds going round in badges that said “I’m a vegetarian tart”? I even blogged about it.
So lashing of “Well Done Australia” served up with a sprinkling of “I Told You So”.