M&S

I have always liked shopping at Marks and Spencer because it is such a sensible shop, and when I am pretending to be a grown-up I like to imagine I’m sensible. It’s also where my rich auntie used to buy her food, so from a young age I thought of it as the place to go for luxury foodstuffs, even though what it offers foodwise is really limited to things you put in an oven and warm up, rather than than things you can use to cook with.

But after some thought, I’ve decided that after Stuart Rose’s rant in the Observer last week, I will be buying my tights elsewhere. It can be very hard work trying to be taken seriously in the workplace when the obvious sexism is unspoken – especially if you work, as I do, in a male-dominated sector – but it’s really very disspiriting when someone as prominent as he is can, apparently unchallenged, say something like this:

Girls today have never had it so good, right?…Apart from the fact that you’ve got more equality than you ever can deal with, the fact of the matter is that you’ve got real democracy and there are really no glass ceilings, despite the fact that some of you moan about it all the time. Women can get to the top of any single job that they want to in the UK. You’ve got a woman fighter pilot who went in to join the Red Arrows yesterday. I mean, what else do you want to do, for God’s sake? Women astronauts. Women miners. Women dentists. Women doctors. Women managing directors. What is it you haven’t got?

Yes, what on earth are we complaining about, now that we’re allowed to be miners? The piece goes on to suggest that he might have been attempting to wind up his (female) interviewer, but it’s such a vastly stupid thing to say that I don’t much care what his motivation was. Your tights aren’t that good, mister, and your cheese selection is crap, and whilst there are probably a hundred reasons to boycott any high street store if you look closely enough, this one was so eminently avoidable; so completely unnecessary, that I shall be taking my fluffy little head elsewhere in future.

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