Saturday, May 18, 2024
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What the hella, Mariella?


CAN you really be a successful woman if you aren’t taking a public stand? asks rich and famous Mariella Frostrup in the Times.  Alongside Gabby Logan, Davina McCall and Penny Lancaster (Mrs Rod Stewart) she is passionate about raising women’s status using their public platforms. Inspiring and brave it isn’t. Nauseating and patronising? Defo.  

Sixty-year-old Mariella equates her work in raising women’s status with older ‘opinionated’ women including Gina Miller and JK Rowling, for they too are women and they too are ‘mid-lifers’ (optimistic). These women are using their platforms to fight for women, to speak ‘truth to power’. Mariella is clear that it’s not some rich women putting their name to a charity letterhead and having a fragrant lunch (which is important to clarify because that is exactly what it sounds like). She explains that there is a war being fought. What century are we in that unelected rich ladies attach themselves to an agenda, go to lunch and talk about their ‘war’? 

JK Rowling’s views on women’s rights led to all sorts of abuse and attempts at cancellation. Mariella aligns herself with JK’s bravery while including a little qualification that sometimes her views are ‘unpalatable’. Way to go, Mariella, for both attaching yourself to JK’s bravery whilst keeping a safe distance from her actual opinions. 

Mariella sums up older famous rich oldies as cool, sharp and expert, unlike the young who are cautious, fettered by housework and finding partners. As with most rich people, Mariella’s experience of domesticity with a book show on Radio 4 and a house to run will have been organising the help. Does she mean poor people when she says young people? A lack of wealth can make us boring invisible women cautious, Mariella. 

Most women, Mariella, don’t have the lunches and the radio show and most importantly the power. Don’t mistake why people are listening to your platform. You are rich, famous and connected. Doesn’t make you determined, doesn’t make you brave. And it certainly doesn’t mean you are taking on the ‘patriarchy’. You, my dear lady, are every bit as much the patriarchy as any rich connected and influential gentleman. Enjoy that lunch, though. 

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Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald is a professional psychologist and writer. Views expressed here are her own.

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