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To think Deborah Meaden on Strictly is an insult to women in business

(69 Posts)
JessM Sun 08-Sep-13 09:13:40

I can only think of 4 women on TV who are presented as businesswomen.
The two on The Apprentice (we love Margaret don't we because she is real) , Mary Portas (got to admire her) and Deborah Meaden of Dragons Den, and now, of Strictly Come Dancing.
She is presented as a successful business woman - bit of a guru. She is obviously keen to turn herself into a kind of stereotype (I boss the dragons around etc). She presumably is pretty wealthy. But if she is so successful and is committed to mentoring all those little den survivors how on earth has she got time to be on Strictly? (they must sign up to make themselves available for the duration)
And is she really a wannabe TV presenter and not, actually a businesswoman at all?
Am I being unreasonable to think she is letting down the millions of women who work in the business world in this country, and doing so in spectacular fashion?

Deedaa Tue 10-Sep-13 16:19:28

I suppose the answer is that some people are really good at working with and inspiring others and some are not. Whether they are male or female makes no difference to whether they can do the job.
Having met Stuart Rose when I worked for M&S I'd love to see him on strictly. I suspect he would rather enjoy the sequins.

HildaW Tue 10-Sep-13 15:56:35

Oh yes, bullies come in all shapes and sizes! I do so agree with you gracesmum, women should not feel they have to imitate men to succeed, that's why I find all this fuss about Deborah so annoying. She is a successful woman that fancies a new challenge that will include some sequins, a few fancy frocks, the chance to learn to dance and a bit of extra TV jolly what? Good for her I'd say and if (not that I'm vaguely famous for anything) I was offered the same chance I'd give it a go.

gracesmum Tue 10-Sep-13 10:00:05

I think many of us will have shared Deeda's experience of working with and for women, but I am afraid I have seen the same sort of behaviour in men - as Eloethan says. Good managers/bosses are precisely that , whether men or women, but for women to think that aping the worst characteristics of men will somehow make them equal or better is daft. A good leader is not afraid to surround him or herself with a strong team, a weak leader or manager does the opposite so that they can at least appear "better" than their subordinates.
Just a thought as I sit here with my bowl of Rice Crispies smile

Eloethan Mon 09-Sep-13 23:31:45

I have often heard women say they would never work for another woman. I don't understand this. I have worked for some very nice women and some not so nice ones - but the same applies to men.

My most recent woman boss - a very successful head of department in a niche West End solicitors -could be a little thoughtless at times but never expected me to make a drink unless I was making one for myself and on occasions made me a drink if I was really busy. She appreciated, and acted upon, any suggestions I made and encouraged me to take on more responsibility.

Conversely, when I went part-time and took a less demanding role in another department, the young male paralegal that I then worked for would expect drinks to be made for him on a regular basis and would demand that I did so, even when he knew I was extremely busy.

My feeling is that people who are good at what they do and are confident of their own abilities - whether they be male or female- do not feel they have to throw their weight around and are more likely to be nice to work for.

Nonu Mon 09-Sep-13 22:38:39

Jess , so glad you found my response interesting , I aim to please [sometimes] . No I don"t care to elaborate !


JessM Mon 09-Sep-13 22:16:48

Interesting response nonu would you like to elaborate?
I expect you agree with me then deeda that the overly dominant female manager is not a stereotype you would wish to the media to encourage?

Nonu Mon 09-Sep-13 22:09:18

Excellent post deeda !!

Deedaa Mon 09-Sep-13 22:02:50

To be honest JessM I have worked for one or two really unpleasant women. Mainly ones who would pick one or two favourites and then go out of their way to denigrate everyone eIse's work. On the plus side I've also worked for a couple of super ones and I've worked for some pretty awful men as well.

JessM Mon 09-Sep-13 17:38:38

I think I have only met one woman manager in business that was remotely "ball breaking" and she was an alaskan, working in the oil industry on the production side. It is not a normal or acceptable management style in most workplaces, from men or women.

j08 Mon 09-Sep-13 13:09:49

Just looked her up. Aaaaghhh! grin

Ana Mon 09-Sep-13 13:07:21

No! You have to look like Rosa Klebb!

j08 Mon 09-Sep-13 12:55:22

Just looked up "eviscerate". Means "to disembowel". Can't you do that with a bouffant hair-do?

j08 Mon 09-Sep-13 12:52:04

What's her hair-do got to do with anything? confused What are they comparing that with? I don't understand.

gracesmum Mon 09-Sep-13 12:09:46

I think Deborah Meaden represents a scary, ball breaking type of businesswoman - the sort who is emulated on porgrammes like The Apprentice. Today in the Teegraph TV review they decribed the contrast of her bouffant hair do with almost simultansously "eviscerating" a candidate on Dragons Den. Come on, it's a stereotype a manufactured image, surely. There are other successful women in business , commerce or politics who are not fearsome and ruthless.OK I take back "ruthless" but not in a hectoring way. Mary Berry is a multi millionaire from her cookery books, Karen Brady from The Apprentice, Hillary Clinton, Alex Polizzi, Margaret (whatever her surname is) also formerly of The Apprentice, Christine Lagarde - Head of the IMF and many many others who have high powered jobs, professional integrity but don't need to "eviscerate" half a dozen men for breakfast to start the day!

Eloethan Mon 09-Sep-13 11:34:46

thatbags Of course, you're right. The fact that the contestants lose so much weight - and risk injury - shows that dancing to this level is physically and mentally demanding.

I suppose I was referring to the razzamataz and "glamorous" image that belies the hard work that goes into it. And they very much play up the male/female partnerships, romantic interests, etc.

Ana Mon 09-Sep-13 11:31:52

To become an even moderately proficient ballroom dancer takes a great deal of hard work.

I think we should wait and see how DM approaches the task in hand and give her the benefit of the doubt - I don't think she'll come across as a fluffy little lady!

thatbags Mon 09-Sep-13 11:01:06

Humph! angry

thatbags Mon 09-Sep-13 11:00:47

There's nothing fluffy about dancing. Anyone who has ever done any serious dancing will know that it is athletic. Fluffy indeed!

Eloethan Mon 09-Sep-13 10:56:14

Perhaps Jess is suggesting that it's difficult to imagine a very successful businessman taking part in Strictly. I suppose you could argue that that's because they have too inflated a sense of their own importance to participate in something that may undermine the "all powerful" aura that they cultivate on Dragon's Den.

You could say that everybody has their more frivolous side and she's to be applauded for not taking herself too seriously and demonstrating that.

On the other hand, you could also argue that DM is encouraging another stereotype - that her "dragonlike" exterior merely hides the fact that the female of the species is, underneath it all, just a fluffy little lady playing at being a tough businessperson.

Thistledoo Mon 09-Sep-13 09:36:27

Go Deborah, all power to your elbow. I think its great that she is such a good sport, she isn't letting women down or her business acumen, she is just rising to a great challenge, lets all see how it works out for her. I'll bet she will be good.

Greatnan Mon 09-Sep-13 08:49:53

I agree that women in business are either ignored or presented in a negative light - but surely DM's entry into SCD is one way of showing her human side? I have no idea what kind of manager she is - she does appear rather Thatcherish on Dragon's Den.

thatbags Mon 09-Sep-13 08:49:03

I'm with you now, jess, but I think the emphasis on good role modelling should be on ordinary women, not super successful ones. Trouble is, ordinariness isn't so good as 'entertainment'. I reckon that's the bottom line.

JessM Mon 09-Sep-13 07:41:50

Hello tegan nice to hear from you. I don't watch it either these days as it is a bit of a cringe factor. When watching strictly have to record it and wind past the BF bits to prevent DH from whimpering.
That is a valid point Deeda but somehow I can't make it sit with me. Isn't she stereotyping herself? (bitch manager followed by light hearted celeb who wants to be in the tabloids). The whole thing is not real and that is what I think lets down the women who have to go to work and do a good job managing things every day. If there were loads of positive images of women in positions of responsibility in business, on the TV it would not matter a jot, but there are not are there? Business generally is presented negatively and women managers, on the rare occasions they appear, very often like "the devil wears prada" etc

Greatnan Mon 09-Sep-13 06:56:43

I nominate Bradley Walsh!

annodomini Sun 08-Sep-13 22:45:06

If Brucie goes - and it has to happen sooner rather than later - I would put my money on Graham Norton since he does most other shows on BBC.