home Australia, Commentary, Entertainment, Food, TV, Women Gordon Ramsay on Tracy Grimshaw: a case of foot-in-mouth disease

Gordon Ramsay on Tracy Grimshaw: a case of foot-in-mouth disease

Gordon Ramsay is known as much for his culinary creations as his foul mouth. There are few subjects that the famous chef feels unqualified to comment on, forgetting that his speciality is cooking and not sociology. In his most recent tirade he decided to insult Australian TV host Tracy Grimshaw.

In the name of fun, in front of an audience of thousands at the Good Food and Wine Show, Ramsay displayed an image of a naked woman on all fours with multiple breasts and a pig’s face and then stated, “That’s Tracy Grimshaw. I had an interview with her yesterday – holy crap. She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.” He then went on to call Grimshaw a lesbian.

Given that Ramsay specifically requested that Grimshaw not question him about his personal life (read: lecherous behaviour), the fact that he felt empowered to speculate on hers speaks volumes about the degree of arrogance and patriarchal privilege that Ramsay operates with. Though many posit that we have reached a post-feminist world, men and women are often subject to different rules socially.

Demeaning a woman based on her physical appearance is one of the many ways in which men maintain privilege. Ramsay’s language and behaviour were both sexist and abusive. A pig Photo-shopped onto the head of a nude female body is an insult to all women. Comedy is often used as a cover for sexism, as though it does not spring from a well of misogyny specifically created to ensure a divide between the sexes.

Though Botox has become a common form of physical alteration, it is not a procedure that should be entered into lightly. How is having botulism injected into ones face for the appearance of youth related to journalism? Ramsay could offer no critique of how Grimshaw performed her duties and therefore, as it is often the case with professional women, insulting her physical appearance was the way to go. Men are seldom demeaned in a way that specifically assaults their masculinity.

Even if his assertions about Grimshaw’s sexuality were true, what purpose did publicly outing her serve? Other than to shame her and thereby maintain the gay/straight binary wherein a lesbian identity is understood as less than, that is? In a world in which lesbians often face loss of employment, rape and even murder for being open about their sexuality, Ramsay placed Grimshaw at undue risk. Many still operate under the false belief that a lesbian simply needs to have sexual intercourse with the right man to change her sexual orientation. Sex is often conceptualized as something men do to women and therefore lesbians are viewed as a threat to patriarchy.

Comparing Grimshaw to a pig and then accusing her of being a lesbian is typical heterosexist behaviour. It’s obvious from this episode that Ramsay, as a man of not only gender but race and class privilege, has become accustomed to wielding his power coercively.

Though Ramsay considers himself to be a champion because of his promotion of female chefs, his often misogynist commentary erases the benefit of his actions. If one must suffer humiliating commentary while in the labour force, achieving a position of authority is meaningless. He can quite often be heard on his famous television show “Hell’s Kitchen” referring to the female contestants as “bitches and cows”.

Ramsay’s language at the Good Fine and Wine Show cannot be accepted as a simple comedic routine, because it rife with heterosexist and patriarchal privilege. Ramsay has a history of demeaning women publicly and therefore his insinuation that his commentary was nothing more than a harmless joke between friends holds little merit. The marginalization of bodies is how we maintain a social hierarchy in which women and invariably deemed inferior. If we are to have any hope of achieving the equality we give lip service to, such behaviour cannot ever be deemed acceptable.

7 thoughts on “Gordon Ramsay on Tracy Grimshaw: a case of foot-in-mouth disease

  1. Along the same lines, this commercial has been on ALL THE TIME day and night, haunting to me, traumatizing me and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Every time I have the tv on and I hear the music, I have been programmed to shudder. This is some of the MOST screwed up modern propaganda I have seen against women in main stream society. I think this may be harassment,it sure feels like it, what do you think? :

  2. ‘though many posit that we have reached a post-feminist world’

    Who ever said that needs to be punched in the face.

  3. Renee, as always, you have a spot-on critique of the privilege that plays out daily in our world. Gordon Ramsay has always been absolutely intolerable to me, but I never took the time to think if it was because he was acting in misogynist and homophobic ways. Thanks for your awesomeness, as usual. 🙂

  4. In the UK we had the most disgusting display of celebrity arrogance involving the demeaning of Andrew Sachs daughter. The response of the BBC was to fire some junior executive and fine the licence fee payer £15000 for the fine imposed on them. In the USA David Letterman has had to apologie to Sarah Palin about his crass comments about her daughter. The Australian government should sling Ramsay out of their country and the people in the UK should turn off their television when he comes on and I can assure you that will soon take the wind out of his sails and you see him change when his bread and butter disappears off the table. People like him and others I never watch or give them my time or money.

  5. RENEE, I THINK YOU GOT YOUR FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH. GORDON RAMSAY IS A GREAT CHEF. END OF STORY.

  6. Its interesting that Andrew Sachs has now got a plum job on Corrie and his grandaughter is popping up on all sorts of shows now-the last one was on the BBC no less.

    It hasn’t done them any harm and I’m sure if they were really that demeaned they wouldn’t have taken employment off the back of such terrible deeds.

    Rightly or wrongly Tracy Grimshaw will no doubt be landing some great job offers as we speak. Its a media game that is played by everyone in it. Anyone who says different is a liar.

    Ramsay needs to grow up fast as his act is worn or he will face obscurity. Not such a bad thing I’d guess.

  7. I’m not really trying to defend his behavior here, but as an avid watcher of Hell’s Kitchen, he does calls the women “bitches” and “cows,” but he calls the men “donkeys” and “idiots” as well. And he honestly insults the men more often than the women and often with harsher insults. Another note is that he makes many more “fat jokes” to male morbidly obese contestants (Robert, Clemenza) than to the female ones (Kimmie).

    Like I said, I’m not really defending him here, but I thought I would give some perspective as an avid Ramsay watcher here.

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