Great British Bake Off's Ruby Tandoh hits back at misogynistic abuse

The 21-year-old finalist said she noticed an 'increasing degree of personal vitriol and misogyny' as the show went on

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The Independent Culture

Great British Bake Off finalist Ruby Tandoh has condemned the misogynistic abuse she received during the show.

Tandoh, 21, said she was dismayed by comments about her weight, debates about which finalists were the most “shaggable”, and accusations that she was a “filthy slag”.

The philosophy and history of art student, whose self-depreciating comments have irked some viewers, said she was shocked to find that so many comments were “gender-specific”.

Writing in today’s Guardian she said: “The criticism ranged from the gently cynical to the downright obnoxious, but as the series went on I noticed an increasing degree of personal vitriol and misogyny.

“So much of the criticism levelled at the bakers is gender-specific. My self-doubt has been simultaneously labelled pathetic, fake, attention-seeking and manipulative.

“I have defended myself against accusations of being a ‘filthy slag’ based solely on me being a woman on a TV screen.”

Speaking about Raymond Blanc’s slight this week that she was too thin and emotional, Tandoh said the renowned chef's comments were unhelpful in trying to create an even playing field between men and women in the professional cooking world.

Tandoh, who has never been afraid to confront her online critics, hit back at Blanc on Twitter earlier this week, saying: “'Female tears'?! And what has anyone's size got to do with it? I don’t care if you're a patisserie king – don't be an idiot.”

She added there was a broader background of “misogyny and gender politics” playing out in professional baking.

“It's a culture of frilly baking versus macho Michelin stars, of real chefs versus domestic goddesses. Food has become divided and gendered, torn between the serious sport of haute cuisine and the supposedly antithetical world of women pottering around in home kitchens,” she said.

She said she was also tired of defending herself against “inevitable accusations of flirting with Paul Hollywood”.

“I'd rather eat my own foot than attempt to seduce my way to victory,” she said.

She concluded: “If a show as gentle as Bake Off can stir up such a sludge of lazy misogyny in the murky waters of the internet, I hate to imagine the full scale of the problem. But it's not something I'm willing to tolerate. Sod the haters. I'm going to have my cupcake and eat it, too.”