Womanly winning

Australia has been gripped by a TV show over the last few weeks; Masterchef. For those who, like me, grew up with Lloyd Grosseman’s Masterchef in the UK, scrap your ideas of what we might have been watching. Its been really enjoyable because while taking a modern Pop Idol type format, the judges and contestants have all been thoroughly pleasant and constructive throughout.

Why am I telling you all this? Last night was the final, and the two finalists were women.

What really struck me was that these two women – who have spent weeks cooking and learning and stressing about elimination together – were so supportive of each other it made me almost tearful. They both *really* wanted that title, and at the three head-to-head parts of the show, where points were being revealed, you could see they were finding it hard to interact with anyone due to nerves. However after two hours of cooking the first thing they did, before taking their dishes for judging, was check out each other’s dishes and give genuine compliments and a lovely hug.

Discussions around whether women act like women, and whether that is a bad thing (particularly in the workplace) fill many corners of the internet but last night Masterchef gave me a different perspective.

I am with Germaine Greer when she says women are not biologically disposed to be more caring and compliant than men – it is just that a woman raised by a woman to be that way finds it very hard to raise her own girls differently. She simply doesn’t notice she is doing it much of the time. But if we are going to be trained by life to be “female” in the way we interact, how nice to see millions tuning in to see women able to be caring AND winning. The world of professional cooking (particularly restaurant cooking) is dominated by men – something that has always seemed incongruous when food preparation is still the responsibility of the woman in many households. It was a pleasure to watch an all woman final.

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