Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gordon Ramsay on Tracy Grimshaw: a Case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image Gordon Ramsay is known as much for his culinary creations as his foul mouth. There are few subjects that the famous chef feels unqualified to comment on, forgetting that his speciality is cooking and not sociology. In his most recent tirade he decided to insult Australian TV host Tracy Grimshaw.

In the name of fun, in front of an audience of thousands at the Good Food and Wine Show, Ramsay displayed an image of a naked woman on all fours with multiple breasts and a pig’s face and then stated, “That’s Tracy Grimshaw. I had an interview with her yesterday - holy crap. She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.” He then went on to call Grimshaw a lesbian.

Given that Ramsay specifically requested that Grimshaw not question him about his personal life (read: lecherous behaviour), the fact that he felt empowered to speculate on hers speaks volumes about the degree of arrogance and patriarchal privilege that Ramsay operates with. Though many posit that we have reached a post-feminist world, men and women are often subject to different rules socially.

Demeaning a woman based on her physical appearance is one of the many ways in which men maintain privilege.  Ramsay’s language and behaviour were both sexist and abusive. A pig Photo-shopped onto the head of a nude female body is an insult to all women. Comedy is often used as a cover for sexism, as though it does not spring from a well of misogyny specifically created to ensure a divide between the sexes.

Though Botox has become a common form of physical alteration, it is not a procedure that should be entered into lightly. How is having botulism injected into ones face for the appearance of youth related to journalism? Ramsay could offer no critique of how Grimshaw performed her duties and therefore, as is often the case with professional women, insulting her physical appearance was the way to go. Men are seldom demeaned in a way that specifically assaults their masculinity.

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