Great British Bake-Off finalist Ruby Tandoh had so many excellent lines in her response to the sexist feedback the show got. Any woman who shows her face on television knows exactly how she feels. “The criticism ranged from the gently cynical,” she said, “to the downright obnoxious. But as the series went on I noticed an increasing degree of personal vitriol and misogyny. We (female) finalists are supposedly too meek, too confident, too thin, too domestic, too smiley, too taciturn…”
Tandoh was accused of flirting with Paul Hollywood to gain favour, of manipulating with her tears, of not doing “real cooking” like male chefs would, and of course, just being a “filthy slag” for daring to appear publicly anyway. Keep making the meringues, Ruby, and ignore the rotten eggs. You’re amazing.
We cannot police what people wear at Halloween
Sad news for any of you planning to dress up as a zombie Jimmy Savile on 31 October – tacky tracksuit, cigar, blood-stained mouth – because the costume has been withdrawn from Amazon. The decision followed a flurry of complaints by people who felt that someone, somewhere who they didn’t know might waggle said cigar at a house-party, do the “jewellery, jewellery, jewellery” catchphrase, and by default offend them.
Savile was a genuine monster, stuff of horror fiction, a beloved children’s entertainer with a grim secret life. But we cannot police what people want to put on to scare their friends in their own homes. Personally I don’t want to dress up as Savile – nor do I want to dress as a slutty witch, a beheaded Queen or a zombie Miley Cyrus – but I accept that Halloween is about celebrating ghoulishness, and revelling in distatefulness. If I can suspend my tedious feminist academic bleatings about “witches being a 15th-century patriachal construct” or “Henry VIII’s murdered wives not being a laughing matter”, then hopefully others can appreciate that one person’s hilarity is another person’s jarring problematic hobby-horse.
We either ban Halloween and its entire concept of laughing at ghoulish misfortune or we accept that most scary things are a tad sickening and remember that it’s only for one day.