Can We Really Trust the BBC to Bring us Real Experts?

The BBC recently used male “experts” to discuss breast cancer and teenage pregnancy. Just read this article courtesy of the Guardian.  So, they asked women who had breast cancer, survivors, people who had been through treatment, women who had advised on treatment? Sort of, for anecdotal evidence. The report on breast cancer being discussed was on distress and impact. On whom? Women! Yet a man was interviewed about it? For the teenage pregnancy piece it asked a young woman who had a child when a teenager, a mother of a pregnant teenager, a woman at least? Nope. A man. So of course they had great insight. NOT.  Caroline Criado-Perez writes a really interesting article here about the BBC’s messages it gives out on experience and expertise.

Stop making excuses BBC
BBC makes excuses for not having female experts. Ludicrous

How on EARTH can a man know what it is like to be a woman? Never mind one with breast cancer. How on EARTH can a man put himself in the position of a teenage girl never mind one who is pregnant? Any sensible man asked to do that would laugh in the questioner’s face and say “Don’t be so ridiculous”.  Now, I am a great believer in the arts and the use of drama to teach just about anything (and that’s another worry for anyone who cares about education taking the arts out of the Ebacc) and so believe role play is very important in getting people to empathise and all that. But seriously, that’s not what is going on here is it?! The opinion is being asked for by a so called expert in the field. It isn’t a lesson aimed at people sharing and learning from each other and seeing other people’s points of views is it?!

I don’t think there is any discussion to be had! It is quite simple. If you want an expert in a certain field, particularly one that requires experience and/or ability to empathise you don’t ask someone unable to do that however much knowledge they may have. It is insulting to all concerned.  It is quite ludicrous for the BBC to say that they were unable to find women. Criado-Perez and her co-founder, Catherine Smith founded The Women ‘s Room UK a site for women to register as experts for the media. Within 48 hours they had 40 people register. So the BBC couldn’t even put out a single Tweet? Rubbish. Why couldn’t they do that? Laziness? Stupidity? Apathy?  It’s not rocket science (bet they’d get a man to speak on that though!) Get me in that BBC on the Board I’d soon sort them all out I can tell you!

But seriously, it’s like my saying (point 8) that if you are a company selling to children/young people/families and you aren’t involving them in feedback and development then you are missing a trick and what about the people you don’t know you aren’t getting feedback from? (point 7) Similarly “Points of View” and focus groups have their limitations. The BBC needs to get ahead and involve its viewers more. The customers. If only the BBC was more innovative involving their customers! Is that too scary a thought for them? Perhaps we the customers know best and the BBC Powers That Be might be surprised by how much expert advice it gets.

I asked the question on a LinkedIn Q & A and someone thought that my saying that you need a female to answer questions on how a female feels about having breast cancer or be a female to understand being pregnant as a teenager made me prejudiced and offensive. I like to think of myself as unprejudiced and well I can certainly be offensive but I don’t believe that this point of view is either of those things!

What do you think are the reasons for such a shortage of female experts on the BBC?

So, if you are a woman or know a woman who is an expert in her field get them to register on The Women’s Room UK

May 2014 update. Well, given that I have appeared on the BBC a few times now regarding complaining and consumer rights I’m not sure whether that is an improvement or not?!

September 2018 update. Well certainly my media appearances have increased, and there may be more women on television but wow that gender gap huh?

Share this
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •   

Scare the Trick or Treaters The Complaining Cow way!

Hallowe’en trick or treating

Back in 2012 I put in “Ideas for really frightening children at Halloween” into Google images. Up came a picture of Amy Childs and one of Boris Johnson. So look out for them trick or treating and make sure you scare them away so they don’t come back!

Dress your dog up for Halloween to scare the kids away

Trick or treating and the law

Right, I don’t care if you think Hallowe’en is great fun and a good opportunity to go round to people’s houses and let your kids annoy, inconvenience and scare people they don’t know. It’s begging okay? And not the begging by people who have been let down by the system and have  nowhere to live etc. Begging is a matter of life or death for them. You are not worried about dying from cold or hunger if you are out trick or treating. If you have friends with whom you have agreed for your child/ren to trick or treat with that is not begging. That is agreeing a game.

Going round to people’s houses and asking for sweets and money is begging and that’s illegal did you know? Begging is an offence under section 3 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 (as amended). It is a recordable offence.

Demanding something ‘with menaces’ is also illegal, and could also be construed as a public order offence as well. And the parents are considered liable for children under 10, and as ‘an accessory’ for those over 10.

There are even laws regarding children and adults being negligent and causing damage to property or people. See inBrief for more details.

Simples.

So many of the kids that do go begging don’t even make an effort with their costume, so they are lazy as well.

How many collect for charity? You do? Really? Where’s your ID and paperwork?

Trick or treating down our road

The kids round our way know that the witch lives at our house so don’t bother! The bull accidentally did a trick a few years ago. He told them to come back later when I was in. They did and I sent them away with “A don’t come begging at my door” still ringing in their ears as they went along their merry way. Good trick eh?

And look, a large selection of fun size treats. Bargains. And they are all for me.

Children trick or treating on their own is asking for trouble

On a cautionary note joking aside don’t let your kids go to doors of people they don’t know because it is rude, frankly. But if you must do it please please please go with them.

1) To stop them actually getting into trouble.

2) It’s not actually safe to let kids roam streets knocking on random doors you know! Some people won’t be told though… I used to run open access play schemes and children as young as five would be sent out on their own to play…

3) Someone vulnerable could be behind any door. No pumpkin on the doorstep? Leave the door alone. You could be responsible for scaring someone with a mental health issue into having a panic attack, an elderly person to be so scared that anything could happen. THINK.

Resources

Link to a poster to say no to trick or treating if you want to be a bit more polite than me at The Diary of a Frugal Family blog.

On Facebook I asked for some ideas for frightening children. Here are some tame and less tame ones should you need some inspiration.

What do you think of this?!

Tricks

1) Worm jelly
2) Push scary plastic hand through letterbox (with one finger missing optional)
3) Open door foaming at the mouth (milk shake or soap if you are feeling brave and shout “I have rabies”
4) Lie at the door under dark sheet and sit up and shout as the kids approach the door
5) Brussels wrapped up in foil and put in jelly
6) Race out of door dressed in white coat covered in fake blood and chainsaw in hand (blade not in there please!)
7) Let off fire extinguisher
8) Dress as the Black Reaper hidden in the darkness then just slowly appear as they walk towards the door
9) Dress your dog up like the picture
10) Cover onions in chocolate and put them on sticks
11) Put a sign up on the door saying “The Vagrancy Act 1824 (section 3) Enables the arrest of anybody who is begging”.
Or perhaps the most frightening of all….
12) Get The Complaining Cow to open the door…

 

Got any good ideas? Do please add them below!

And something a bit odd for Hallowe’en:

What can Hallowe'en mean for you

Share this
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •