So after an undeniably sh*t couple of years that have seen her personal life being dragged every which way through the media's unforgiving glare, Nigella Lawson returned to our screens last night with her new show. I have to say I'm not a fan of cooking shows, a nasty combination of a huge stomach and overwhelming laziness makes these shows literal torture for me, but I did read about the programme in the Mail Online this afternoon.
The article in question criticised Nigella's 'easy' recipes (she was said to be 'playing it safe' with an avocado on toast recipe... ) and her use of innuendos, (something about how hard it is for her to eat lamb without cumin) not exactly STOP THE PRESS exciting but here we are with a big old article talking about slutty nigella and her boring sandwiches.
(I'd just like to throw something in here, the northern chap from Take Me Out gets through about 3 innuendos a minute on prime time Saturday night telly and i've never once seen a twitter backlash or DM article on that... but that's just the feminist in me getting pissy!)
So I nearly clicked away from this pathetically boring article until something caught my eye: the journalist described Nigella as a Domestic Goddess. I didn't think anything of it at first, after all the minute I get my oven-gloves out I secretly pat myself on the back for being THE most Godly Domestic Goddess there is.
But then I thought about it and realised that in this context, the term really pissed me off. We are always seeing articles about Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver, trying something new, shouting so loudly at people they poo themselves or travelling miles across the world to locate a £20,000 plant that will taste delicious in your butternut squash soup. But never once has the Daily Mail described either one of them as a Domestic God.
No, they're simply described as 'the chef' or the 'celebrity chef' or 'foul-mouthed chef' (quite a common one that last one if you're Gordon Ramsey...) these are accurate descriptions of both men. They are chefs and they are famous. But why are they not known as the male equivilants to Nigella's catchy title? Why aren't they Domestic Gods?
We're not even supposed to add the 'esses' anymore for waiters and air stewards so where has this come from?
Do you know what the definition of 'domestic' is?
Adjective: relating to the running of a home or family relations
Noun: a person who is paid to help with cleaning and other menial tasks in a person's home
(Synonyms of the noun: servent, maid, cleaner)
So. What makes Nigella a Domestic Goddess and Jamie Oliver just a chef?
Well back in 2003 Nigella did feminism the ultimate favour and actually called her book How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It was of course the dream for many women, for many years to be the ultimate 1950s housewife and although I'd have hoped that by the naughties we might have been able to let it go. Alas, no. Nigella donned her self with this title.
So Nigella is a Domestic Goddess, why aren't Ramsey and Oliver Domestic Gods? Is it because they're too busy being successful for the 'menial' tasks that need doing at home? Is it because men shouldn't be expected to clean? Or is it simply because the woman's place is in the kitchen and if she's doing a good job we'll give her a gold star and call her a goddess to keep her there?
To be perfectly honest with you, a part of me feels like I'm picking a fight simply for the sake of it, that it's a tiny insubstantial thing to argue about and that Nigella is obviously happy with the term, but the other half of me thinks, screw Nigella, it was a bloody stupid thing to do! This is huge and irritating and dangerous .
The fact of the matter is, the journalist who put this story together won't have thought twice about using this term to describe her, why would they? She's long since referred to herself as that so why would anyone bat an eyelid at the seriously outdated expression? There isn't really anyone at fault here, but as headmistresses are popping out of the woodwork to have their say on the glass ceiling for girls and the matter of tampons has made it into the Parliament it is worth sticking my feminist nose in here.
Because people are working their tits off, fighting for the big stuff, for ultimate equality between the sexes, but how the bloody hell are we going to get anywhere near that if this day to day sexism is still rocking out with it's cock out?
You simply can't throw about double standards in an incredibly popular (albeit piece of shit) newspaper and expect to get away with it. Because what's the point in fighting for the big stuff if a man remains a famous chef whilst a woman is simply a 'servent goddess' (by her own valition!) doing menial things?. She lead the way for other female celebrity chef/journalist/braodcasting/whatever-it-is-that-they-do-exactly but what exactly is she leading them into?
They're doing the same job. The word domestic does not insult me, the word Goddess certainly doesn't but the combination of the two words creates a condescending description.
And so, please, pretty please with all the heart-shaped pink sparkles in the world on top, can we start just calling a brick a brick, and a chef a chef?