Grazia wonders: are pregnant 'career women' a 'disgrace to feminism'?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Oh Grazia magazine. This looks like it may become an occasional series, considering you've got previous when it comes to 'things that make Hannah rage'. And that's why I don't buy you any more, despite your fabulous fashion features.

Jo at RedHeadFashionista gave me a heads-up about today's women's mag fail, which I'm really grateful for as let's put it this way, my daytime internet access is somewhat restricted at the moment.

We've just heard that Yasmina Siadatan, who won the last series of The Apprentice, is four months pregnant with her first child. Today, Amy Molloy asks "Is the second pregnant 'Apprentice' a disgrace to feminism?" on the Grazia website.

Everyone's intrigued to know how Lord Sugar feels about it, considering the controversy he's caused in the past with his remarks about women in the workplace and questioning of another contestant about her childcare arrangements.

And according to a spokesperson, he's 'pleased' for Yasmina and 'very supportive'.

Okay, that's fair enough, but it's not the story. Over on Grazia, the main area of concern seems to be whether Ms Siadatan is letting down the sisterhood. Molloy writes:
"...Yasmina is being cricitised for giving career girls a bad name and ruining the chances of any woman winning the Apprentice in the future,"
ending on a highly dodgy note with:
"Should mother-to-be Yasmina be congratulated or condoned for reinforcing the glass ceiling she was once so determined to break?"
She includes a couple of quotes from 'online commentators' which insinuate that this 'career girl's' actions are exactly why companies prefer to hire men. But where are the hordes of angry feminists accusing Yasmina of letting them down and disgracing us all by daring to have a child? Where indeed? If someone could point me in the direction of some of these blog posts I'd be really grateful because I haven't seen any yet.

I'm more worried that a someone writing for a magazine aimed at and read by successful, ambitious 'career women' is insinuating that having a child 'reinforces the glass ceiling'. I'm sure plenty of Grazia's readers could refute this and I'm also sure that the majority of them want to make choices about motherhood without being judged in that way.

Yasmina can make whatever choices she wants regarding her career and motherhood. We all know she won't be able to without facing criticism - already a certain tabloid which I won't name (I bet you can guess which one) is reporting that she 'must choose' between motherhood and her job and no doubt the message that we women can have one or the other - but certainly not both - will be repeated numerous times in later coverage.

With her high salary, Yasmina may be in a better financial position than many working women who have children, but the unrelenting message that we must 'choose' between work and family - and that trying to have both always comes at a price - can easily become a source of worry for those women who don't have a choice.

Unfortunately the Grazia piece is just another example of women's magazines attempting to get readers (and interviewees) to define who can and can't be a feminist - something I hope to write a post about very soon. I'll say now it's unproductive, unhelpful and doesn't have women's best interests at heart. Instead it trivialises and creates divisions in the name of being somehow accessible to everyone. By all means write a decent article and start a discussion about the response to Yasmina's announcement (because there is good discussion to be had), but let's be honest, Grazia, 'a disgrace to feminism'? Sort it out.

For the time being let's derive small comfort from the fact that comments on the piece are supportive towards Yasmina.

Image via The Telegraph.


Blair said...

Grazia features normally piss me off for the opposite reason - ie they assume every woman has/wants a child and you're a freak or at the very least selfish if you don't want kids - so I think this is a really odd stance for them to take given their readership. I'm glad the comments on the piece are negative, perhaps this will make them rethink their attitude to stories like this.

Hannah Mudge said...

That's what i thought! I definitely remember a feature from a few years ago which insinuated that women who don't want children are freaks of nature. I hope it was just a blip for the magazine, I think it was possibly just badly written and quickly produced without much thought going in to the way it was worded. Inciting debate doesn't have to mean being offensive!

RedHead said...

My comment on the Grazia article sums up my thoughts on it.
PS Ladies, I'm planning on a small article on that Elle piece that you two hate but I agree with (in part), would be honoured to hear your views when it's done.

RedHead said...

And Hannah, 'quickly produced' seems to be the main issue with Grazia Daily's content - most of the time their content is slapdash and shoddy. But from the name credits, it does all seem to be produced by one woman, who must be knackered!

RedHead said...

PS Here's how they rile ME
It's basically a case of hypocrisy, as Blair says.

Hannah Mudge said...

Not being funny but for such a high profile magazine which has won a lot of accolades, Grazia shouldn't be churning out sloppy pieces on its website. I get that they might want to incite debate but they need to do better than that. I do this for free and i put more effort into blog posts.

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