Joan Bakewell has been appointed as the ‘Voice of the Older Person’ by the government. My sensibilities bristle more than a little every time newspapers refer to her as the ‘thinking man’s crumpet‘ , that is, of course, not an epithet she chose.
Am I the only person to find the expression both distasteful and disrespectful? It seems like it as most of the newspapers refer to it. It was a quotation taken from comedian on a programme that only ran until the early 70s and was a sign of its times very much. So why do the newspapers still harp on about it.
The more I think about it, the more irritated by it. The only definition I can find is on Wikipedia, which of course, is less than perfect but says
In British English, the term thinking man’s crumpet refers to any woman who is intelligent and good looking, particularly one who has a high profile in the broadcast media. It derives from the slang “crumpet” to refer to a woman who is regarded as an object of sexual desire, which is itself an association with the crumpet, a baked product usually eaten warm after being toasted and spread with butter.
So grow up, news agencies and newspapers. It isn’t a funny term. It isn’t clever to regurgitate a joke made about 40 years ago and somehow indicate that it is still relevant to a serious news article today. It doesn’t get better and it is another rather tacky attempt at objectification of women that tries to somehow and particularly denigrate those women with intelligence on the basis of their ‘attractiveness’.
I’m all for crumpets. They occupy the space of one of my favourite ever breakfast foods. Women are not crumpets.
Now I’ve got that out of my system. onto the story itself!
Joan Bakewell’s position will be as a non-governmental spokesperson. She will act as an independent advocate – bringing to the forefront issues that affect older people that are often sidelined. Being of the media herself, she may well have better access and respect within it than other celebrities.
Indeed, today, she writes a piece in the Guardian outlining some of the concerns that strike her on her new appointment.
Some of the points that she has highlighted as needing attention are the lack of public toilets, better provisioning of lift access and some of the packaging on grocery shopping that make things increasingly difficult to open!
The Old as well, if not more than The Young, need more voices.
We all remember being young. Most of us want to forget that we will be old.
Good luck, Joan.