I love Mary Beard – smart, witty, considered, and in person, as I discovered when we took part in a Newsnight debate together, extremely charming. She also handled her lamentable trolling experience with great dignity.
But her dismissal of Kate Middleton and Nigella Lawson as women imprisoned by their public persona – reported in today`s Daily Mail – is bonkers. The notion that Kate has no choice but to be the polished royal whilst Nigella is forever the Domestic Goddess.
How ridiculous to think these women are handcuffed to a public image they don`t want. They embrace it. It has made Nigella millions. Meanwhile how long did so-called Waity Katey have to sit around before Prince William finally stuck a ring on her finger?
As Angela Epstein journalist, broadcaster, social commentator, non-feminist, I`ve discovered that however much we want to be taken seriously for what we do, most women also want to look good too.
Regardless of how highbrow the programme, most television shows employ make up artists After all, who wants to appear on screen looking like a bag of spanners? Intelligent debate and polished looks are not mutually exclusive.
In fairness to Mary Beard when we appeared on Newsnight debating feminism and were both offered make up before transmission, she charmingly declined. I joked with Mary that this afforded me more time in the chair.
Perhaps Mary herself is imprisoned by a public persona – if only by default and not by design – that brands her with an au naturel look that has no recourse to fancy make up.
But don’t let it ever be said that being a domestic goddesses or pretty princess, is something to be pitied. If it`s what a woman wants then it`s empowering..
By Angela Epstein journalist broadcaster social commentator non-feminist