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Does Being Female Mean That We All Have A Responsibility To Parent?

26/09/2016 15:46

There I was thinking that Jamie Oliver had been quiet recently. Perhaps, I mused to myself, he has realised the errors of his ways after his very inappropriate and misjudged comments about breastfeeding. A subject in which he presented himself as being an expert, despite the fact that he doesn't actually own a pair of boobs. This is good, I thought, I can go back to liking Jamie for what he does best, creating yummy and delicious recipes for the whole family. Now, creating recipe books really is his area of expertise and I should know as I nearly have every cookery book of his. I should rename my cookery book shelf the Jamie Oliver shelf as they are predominately his books. Actually, if I don't stop buying his books I will be opening the Jamie Oliver library. Luckily, Jamie has ensured that this will never happen as he has only gone and opened his considerable mouth again! Now, instead of a library I am thinking of chucking all my Jamie Oliver cookery books onto the fire. Perhaps I could do this on November 5th and have my very own version of bonfire night, a Jamie Oliver bonfire.

Why am I so cross at Oliver? Jamie took it upon himself to chide Theresa May, you know, the lady who runs the country. The Prime Minister. Yes, but that's not what Jamie is focussing on. No, he is focusing on the fact that Theresa should be acting like a parent. Hmmm. Apparently, Jamie seems to think that Theresa is "letting every child in Britain down". Every child. Jamie then rounds off his ill-judged outburst with the line

"I wanted her to act not like a politician, but a parent".

I might be wrong here, but it is not Theresa May's job to act as a parent to the country. It is her job to run the country. I find myself wondering if Jamie Oliver is perhaps a little sexist. Would he have said the same thing to David Cameron? I doubt it. Why do we continually see women that are in power questioned over their reproductive systems? This has nothing to do with the job as Prime Minister! Also, for the record, Jamie, Theresa doesn't actually have children. But I understand, she is female and, therefore, you are making the assumption she should be parenting us all. Perhaps, you would like her to pay a visit to you all in Chez Oliver and do a Mary Poppins act. Would you like her to look after your children? Clean up those dirty dishes? Make you a packed lunch? Females are stereotyped in the role of mothering. In recent weeks we have seen Nicola Sturgeon revealing that she had a miscarriage. Something that she felt forced to reveal after the constant intrusive questioning. We never see this level of questioning aimed at male politicians.

Even today there is this constant inference that a woman really shouldn't be in a high-powered job. No, really we should all be putting our reproductive systems to good use and churning out babies. That's our role in our society. It baffles society when some women actually choose not to have a baby. Then some women choose to go and land high-powered jobs because they just happen to the best qualified for the job, well that's really not on. We are told that childless woman are "weird" and that ambitious women are "ruthless" and "cold". Society just can't accept it, instead they choose to focus on their reproductive system. There is a general needling of women that they are somehow inferior and shouldn't have a position of power. When Jamie Oliver thinks it is his place to chide the Prime Minister for not parenting the country, then we know that we have a problem. Yes, we might not agree with her obesity strategy but we don't tell her off for not parenting the country! Theresa May is here to run the country. It's not her job to tuck us in at night; it's not her job to read us nice stories. It's her job to run the country and sometimes that will involve her making decisions that we don't like, decisions that we don't understand. However, I have to trust in her ability to run the country and parenting us has nothing to do with it.

Perhaps I should be more forgiving of Jamie. I mean, he is just a product of our society. He has just been brought up in a society that teaches men that their opinions are the most important and that they are far more knowledgeable than any woman, even the woman who is running the country. He might be a chef but he is also a man and, therefore, we must immediately get down at his food altar and worship every word that comes out of his mouth. He is a man and a man knows best. It just annoys me because Jamie Oliver seems like a man with a good heart. If I were to go down the parent track, I would suggest that as a father to three girls he might want to think about breaking the sexist narrative. The narrative that means a man always knows best. However, I am not going to go down the parenting track and pull that card on him. I might be a parent but that really doesn't mean that I know best either. We might be parents but that doesn't mean we know everything. Jamie, as a parent could be accused of using the parent card too. Jamie is a man and a parent and, therefore, knows everything, obviously. Perhaps it is like Monopoly but with children: the more children you collect, the more qualified you think you are to speak on everything and anything relating to children. Except that can't be the case as I don't see Jools sharing her opinions on the matter with the press. Hang-on she's a woman! Explains it.

I don't want to see Theresa trying to parent us all. I want to see Theresa doing just what she is doing, being assertive, making tough decisions, trying to run what feels like a very broken country. There isn't time for mopping up tears and putting on plasters. The UK is one big scab at the moment and that might mean that Theresa May has to make some tough decisions, some unpopular decisions but that's what I want in the Prime Minister. Someone that isn't afraid to face-up to the terrible mess the UK is in.

Jamie, get off your potato box, leave Theresa May alone and let her get on with the important job of running the country. Jamie, you need to get back to your kitchen ;-)

This post first appeared on Island Living 365

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