Not everyone will agree with controversial Ramsay’s choice of Twitter pic of his daughters but it’s his to make says Jane Bradley
Looking back on what I wore as a teenager in the 1990s, I am slightly horrified.
Micro minis, lacy blouses with only a bra underneath. Denim hotpants and tights. For one memorable night out, pictures reveal, a short, tight, brown, snakeskin dress from Topshop, which I paired with a fluffy wine-coloured chenille boa and lipstick to match. Classy.
Of course, if my daughter ever wants to go out dressed like that, I will lock her up in her room and ground her for life.
Or will I? After all, my parents, who would probably not be too disgruntled to be described as fairly conservative, let me wear whatever I liked – and trusted me to be sensible while I was wearing it.
I hate to say it, but that was probably pretty good parenting.
Scots chef Gordon Ramsay and his wife, Tana, have clearly taken a similar approach – and were this week lambasted for it. Ramsay posted a picture to Twitter which showed his twin offspring, Jack and Holly, as well as their other daughters, 17-year-old Megan and 14-year-old Matilda, dressed for a night out.
Ramsay wrote: “Very cool 16th birthday party last night. Congratulations Jack & Holly #prouddad”.
Immediately, the girls’s clothes – never mind what Jack was wearing – came under a barrage of criticism, with people claiming the girls, who were celebrating a family birthday, were “dressed like hoochies”.
Twitter user Sally Gomez Ruiz, received over 200 likes on Facebook for writing: “Wow, 16 going on 25. Those dresses are real hoochie.”
Another, Kimberly Phillips, added that the outfits made it look as if “something very precious is for sale to the lowest bidder”.
Another added: “Those girls need to go home and put some clothes on.”
Ramsay retaliated to his trolls with another Twitter comment: “Like they have any right to suggest what our daughters wear...hilarious,” he wrote. “Sick minded people. My job is to teach my son how to respect girls.”
Others, thankfully, in a tiny glimmer of hope that the world isn’t all mad, responded in support of the Ramsays, wishing the twins a happy birthday.
I am with Ramsay. He is absolutely, 100 per cent right. The fact that these people feel it is their place to criticise what a teenage girl chooses to put on for her own birthday party is insane.
Some critics will, of course, claim they are merely looking out for the girls’s safety.
They will point to the evil in this world and the men who will, on seeing a scantily dressed teenaged girl, be unable to control their inate, manly instincts to drag her off by her hair to the nearest cave.
But, by criticising the Ramsay daughters’ dress, what society is doing is acknowledging that such behaviour is an acceptable thing.
It is also suggesting that any sexual harassment or even rape that befalls any woman wearing something other than head-to-toe androgenous clothing is the fault of the women themselves and their choice of dress.
It is not. And girls should not be brought up in a world where they believe it could be.In any case, the picture was taken in what looked like the Ramsay’s living room, in anyone’s book, a pretty safe place for teenage girls to wear whatever they liked.
Even the main event was not exactly in a dodgy venue – no under age sneaking into back street clubs for the Ramsay offspring.
In fact, the party was held at one of Ramsay’s own restaurants in one of London’s poshest districts – Heddon Street Kitchen in Mayfair. In addition, Ramsay and his wife were present.
In any case, I can’t imagine that Ramsay’s daughters, who can’t be short of a bob or two for a taxi, will have been wandering around for long in public on the way home, putting themselves at risk of any danger.
If I had been Ramsay, I probably would have chosen not to share the photo, out of nothing other than an attempt to avoid conflict – but that was his decision.
If it had been on a closed, private Facebook page populated by friends, yes. On a public Twitter account, it’s sad, but it’s just not worth the hassle. There will always be someone who wants to criticise, especially if the tweeter is someone in the public eye.
There’s no point in leaving yourself – or in this case your children, who are perhaps more vulnerable to hurtful remarks – open to idiots who have nothing better to do than to voice their unsolicited opinions to anyone who will listen.
The problem is that the internet allows everybody’s innermost thoughts to be broadcast to the public – solicited or not.
Yes, in real life, some people might have disapproved of the girls’s garb – or just not particularly liked what they had chosen to wear. We all have our own personal taste.
I remember many an occasion where my grandmother would comment, mildly on what I believed was a perfectly acceptable outfit, telling me I’d catch my death of cold in a skirt that short.
However, in the good old dark ages, if the photos been published in, say, a celebrity magazine – in print – they would have had to keep their thoughts to themselves, or at least restricted their remarks to a small social circle.
And the same grandmother also used to say that if you can’t say something nice about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all.
Some Twitter users would be wise to follow her advice.