The Great British Bake Off: Can Women Win?

The Great British Bake Off: Can Women Win?

We’re going for a topical Twitter chat today (with a side of light alliteration).

You may have noticed that earlier this week we posted an article by the articulate amateur baker Ruby Tandoh, a finalist on the BBC’s Great British Bake Off – a programme that has certainly got tongues wagging of late, and not always in a good way.

Ruby took to the Guardian to defend herself and her fellow contestants against some of the vitriolic and highly personal remarks that had been made about them on via social media and the press.

She had received criticism for flirting with judge Paul Hollywood, for seeking too much attention, and for not seeking enough attention. Raymond Blanc was the most high profile of the many who shot her down for being both too thin, and for shedding ‘female tears’ (conveniently ignoring the many weepy moments from previous male contestants).

Other bakers have also come under fire for their appearance, and fellow finalist Kimberley was accused of being too smug – the opposite extreme to Ruby’s ‘not smug enough’. Ruby claimed it was for this very reason that she 'served every bake with a side of self-deprecation as anything more than total meekness may be mistaken for the sort of confidence that other bakers have been lambasted for.'

There has been some ardent defence amongst the sea of criticism, however. Claire Cohen denounced the ‘cruel pantomime’ that the show had become, and Caroline Crampton asked why ‘we love to tear down women who are good at what they do’ in the New Statesman.

So… apart from (spoiler alert) Frances’ victory in the baking talent show on Tuesday night, can women win?

Why do they tend to come under such intense criticism from an angry public whenever they are in the limelight? Why is it acceptable to criticise women’s appearance more than men’s? Are they always too thin, too fat, too confident or too insecure? Why is confidence in men applauded while women are lambasted for it?

Get thinking, get chatting. See you all at 2pm for today’s #WISPchat debate!

Image source - BBC


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