I know! If you’ve followed my blog for some time you’re probably as surprised as me to see that headline (see A Feminist Paradox, for example); it’s not one I ever thought I’d write but credit where credit’s due. The BBC are showing two excellent programmes at the moment which feature bright, academic, un-airbrushed middle aged women! That is worthy of comment.
And you know they’re doing something right when the boring misogynists come out of the cupboard and start having a go, as they have at the very excellent Mary Beard (pictured -she presents the excellent Meet the Romans on BBC 2.). Predictably some ignorant chap has had a go at her for daring to be herself on TV. He managed to compound the insult by suggesting she was akin to a person with disfigurement or disability, showing his antediluvian attitudes to disability in the process. Clearly only his idea of perfection should be allowed out in public. Mary has done an excellent job of defending herself so I need say no more than quote something from her rebuttal article:
And what is beauty after all? Is it someone who is Botoxed to the eyeballs, or someone who feels beautiful under their own skin?
Mary, I salute you. I love watching you and, for what it’s worth, you fit my definition of beauty too! And salutations to the BBC for not cramming you into ridiculous outfits and turning you into identikit women. They surely have moved on since the Miriam O’Reilly debacle.
The second reason I am having a love-fest with the BBC at the moment is Divine Women. Divine Women is presented by another academic woman who is obviously comfortable in her own skin. But the topic of Divine Women is brilliant too. It’s taking a look at some of the ‘lost’ research on how important women were in religion before the past was rewritten; it’s gripping and fascinating stuff.
To give you an idea of its content, the first episode was titled ‘When God was a Girl. And it’s not presented by someone who has merely been chosen for their looks and youth but for their skills and abilities, you know, just like they’ve been doing for years with men! Bettany Hughes is clearly enjoying herself and her enthusiasm has made me buy a new translation of Sappho’s verse. It is so refreshing and it’s sending out such a positive message to the younger generation.
So for once, no brickbats to BBC, just keep on with this type of programming and these type of presenters and the love will keep on flowing!
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