For a long time, Nigella Lawson has personified many of my ideas of feminine poise and beauty. She’s witty, funny, and rocks a girdle (or maybe it is just spanx, not certain) like few modern women I’ve seen.
I’ve tuned in (albeit unreliably) to several of her programs since before I became a “domestic goddess” myself. I’ve heard the rumours of her penchant for a good party and I’ve mentally referred to her words “too much of a good thing can be wonderful” on many an occasion (often to my and other’s detriment admittedly).
If you haven’t been living under a rock or imposed a complete traditional and social media ban on yourself over the past 24 hours, you’ll know of the run in between her and Charles Saatchi at a Mayfair restaurant, which he now contests was a “playful tiff”.
Some woman named Dee Dee in Australia wants her to stand up as a domestic violence advocate and confused and upset people with this suggestion. While I think she might be on the right track on some level, her wording and media friendliness seems to have missed the mark. Her attempt to defend herself in the radio interview ended on a rather negative note inciting a backlash from the public apparently. Strange what passes for a “public backlash” these days really.
I’ve not delved deeply into the incident or read much of the press coverage (even merely googled and skimmed whilst researching for this blog due to time constraints). I do, however, think that the flip side of being a celebrity must suck far more than any perceived or real benefits associated with earning a living in the public eye and becoming highly recognisable.
The warmth and protectiveness with which Gail Ludlow (of Easy Listening fame) talked about Nigella and this event would have had you believing they were best friends since birth and stood up at each other’s weddings. There was plenty of people who rushed to her defence in public and the media. Testament to her warmth and media appeal, but I would contest also testament to our ability to empathise with her right now.
I cannot comprehend why someone did not intervene at the event. This happened in full view of passers by on the street as well as the other diners.
Is it an upper middle-class British thing to turn a blind eye? I have no doubt that everyone who witnessed the incident certainly knew who she was, and probably had a fairly strong inkling that her assailant was a fairly wealthy advertising and art mogul.
But then, sparing her from intervention for dignity’s sake might have been the motivation for people not coming to her aid or even asking her if she was alright.
I don’t know.
What I do know is this.
She’s obviously having some marital problems.
I also know WE ALL have some marital problems from time to time.
She’s created a brand and a public image which is very poised and good humoured, as well as approachable and by many accounts and purposes likeable. So if we, the “general public” on one end of the spectrum and “her adoring fans” on the other are faced with her unfortunate luncheon altercation with her husband of ten years, what are we doing lapping it up and how is it affecting us in our real lives? (Irony Alert!!!)
First, I would appeal to the press and the public to leave her alone.
She’s going through a terrible (and now utterly public) ordeal and deserves the chance to discretely and safely seek support and counsel without everyone and their dog chiming in on the matter.
I do hope she is alright, and I also hope once she has collected herself and sorted out her private life (which should remain private as she’s hardly a tabloid or media schlocky as far as I can tell) that she opts to campaign publicly on some level for women’s rights or domestic violence. But only if it does not compromise further her personal freedom and privacy or impinge on her family or her personal and mental well-being.
What happened was awful, and upsetting, and none of us in the “general public” know the back-story. And rightly so. Let her sort out her life and let her and her husband get the help they need to move onto the next stages of their lives and face whatever issue or demons they are dealing with.
Perhaps, like everyone I’ve had moments of wishing I could be a celebrity of one form or another. It seems that a balance can be struck between being a highly recognisable public figure and still maintaining a successful and safe private life (Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson seem to strike this balance). However, if pictures were snapped of any of these afore mentioned people in a similar situation, the media would almost certainly be reacting in the same way.
No one can deny that this sensation is selling. The shock value alone would have sold millions of tabloids as none of us would ever assume the darling domestic goddess with a perfect home, husband, two perfect children, and lots of path-of-least-resistance entertaining tips would ever be in such a situation. So we all stopped and gawked for a moment when she was.
I’m glad I get to quietly go about my business and be neither sweetheart or sinner in the eyes of total strangers. Being a celebrity would be too heavy a cross to bear for someone as emotionally unstable and generally unpredictable as myself. And I’m glad to lead a life under the radar for the most part.
I hope people lay off and let her sort her own shit out though.
I also hope that people know that domestic violence is never okay, and couching an abusive interlude as a “playful tiff” is offensive to the hundreds of thousands of women and men who suffer at the hands of cruel partners and have the strength to stand up and move on.
There are plenty of other, more important things going on at the moment. Turkey, Syria, world hunger, poverty, abuse, human trafficking, sweat shops, GMO, corporate greed, government corruption, cancer, animal cruelty, global warming just to name a few.
Next blog… I think I’ll write about priorities. Apparently we all say we have them and some of us (like me) even claim that we’re above tabloid shenanigans, yet I’ve spent an hour researching and writing this article about just that.
It is all a mystery to me some days.
Hope you are well whatever you are up to today.
Thanks for reading.
One thought on “Nigella Demonstrates Both Sides of the Celebrity Coin”
My friend – I too feel sad and conflicted about Nigella. Part of me is pleased that he did it in public because this ‘outing’ might start the ball rolling and cause a much needed change in their relationship (ie ditching the violence). Part of me is scared for her, because when a perpetrator of violence feels they have lost their power they can lash out. This is why mortality and serious injury is far more likely to happen at the time of leaving a violent relationship.
From a Women’s Refuge side of things – maybe this will show people that DV even happens to the most beloved, hogh profile, together, amazing people? No more of this victim stereotyping, eh.
Loving your words, as usual x