11 June, 2009

Gordon Ramsey, Culture and Human Trafficking

News that Gordon Ramsay has had a roasting from his mother after an outburst of unforgivable rudeness to an Australian television presenter has garnered the usual headlines for the chef. After inexplicably making offensive remarks to Tracy Grimshaw, Australia's equivalent of Fern Britton, about her facial mole and questioning her sexuality, he later mocked her at a cooking demonstration by holding up a picture of a naked woman with the features of a pig, telling the audience that she urgently needed Botox.

It was crude, unkind and unfunny and offered proof that there is, after all, such a thing as bad publicity. There was an air of desperate attention-seeking about Ramsay the man, which can only be a reflection of the current beleaguered position of Ramsay the brand. here's the full article.

I'm amazed again by popular culture that Ramsey's insults (especially considering his character) are the makings of headline stories across the globe. Perhaps Australia is saying it's time that men were called to account for their behaviour towards women... mean and harsh judgement of outward appearances, lewd comments and suggestions, sexual references that were belittling... wow - sounds to me like the front of a magazine cover! I mean, we have been saturated in a popular culture of belittling and creating sexual objects out of women for years now. It's over fourteen years ago that Australian's decided that selling women's bodies (the majority of which are poor, uneducated and minorities) was a great idea. The sex industry loves the belittling and berating of women - so why does Gordon Ramsey get in trouble for doing what everyone else does all the time? Interesting question.

Melinda Tankard Reist, of Women's Forum Australia, told Australian newspaper the Herald Sun that Ramsay was "no longer welcome here"."Ramsay's sexist and demeaning actions are offensive to every Australian woman," she said.
"Why should he get paid for depicting a woman as an animal and publicly deriding her looks? He shouldn't make money through the verbal abuse of women." (check out her website for some revolutionary thinking around women)

For those of you who are tired of women being treated as sex objects and slaves - you may want to join the freedom friday revolution (prayer and fasting for people caught in the clutches of sex slavery)... right now the high court case involving five women from Thailand found as human sex slaves in Melbourne is being finished up and by next week we hope to hear a good verdict. Don't forget the defense council for the traffickers compared their lot to the AFL draft... so, I think they need more than a public denouncing. They need to understand that Australia is no longer permitting their women to be sold as slaves. If Gordon Ramsey can start to understand the shift in public opinion - perhaps it's time we called upon all Australian men to treat women differently?

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