Do you believe The Apprentice Female Teams are inferior to the all male teams? Do you believe all the women do is argue and sulk? Do you think this is representative of business women in general?
My answers to these questions are No, No and No, yet for many TV viewers, they believe this is how business women behave. Well it’s on BBC so it must be true.
For anyone that hasn’t been watching this series; after the first week, the teams were boys against girls. A couple of the female team are very dominating, aggressive characters, who have caused considerable problems for the team. They are also TV gold. Reports at the weekend, suggest that two female contestants had a ‘cat fight’…
It is SO frustrating: there are many, many outstanding business women, just as there are many, many outstanding business men. The challenge is that The Apprentice is principally an entertainment reality show, and the producers, and audience want to laugh AT the contestants rather than marvel at their business abilities.
The whole process of selecting contestants at the BBC is called “Casting” NOT interviews. The producers quite rightly, choose individuals who ‘Make good TV’; candidates that for whatever reason believe their business brain is going to change the world; that they are the best thing since sliced bread and an ego larger than Pluto. Because we’ll all laugh at their absurd boasts.
The candidates are filmed throughout the long, exhausting days, and producers and editors will pick a tiny, hilarious snippet, to make a candidate look like an idiot. Add an acerbic comment from Karren or Claude – complete with facial expression and you have a great sound bite.
Now don’t think for any reason I have sympathy for these candidates: they know exactly what they have got into and I have no doubt that one or two would be a nightmare to work with – although in the real world they would have been dismissed within hours. But I am concerned that the stereotype of women not getting on, bearing grudges, arguing etc are being perpetuated by the editing of programmes like this for entertainment. A similar scenario occurred a couple of years ago, when the Great British Bake Off final featured three lovely ladies, who had a genuine passion for baking. Minxy editing implied they were jealous and bitchy towards each other, which was untrue. The contestants of the Great British Bake Off are of a different breed, yet the producers felt they wanted to create a ‘story’ for more drama. The backlash meant they won’t do that again.
The problem with a programme like this: where there are extreme characters/casting and ‘entertaining’ editing, is that a group of people could be misrepresented. Could you imagine the outcry if a particular race of people were extremely cast and edited to look as though they argued and bickered constantly? Yet this is what has happened with ‘business women’ and then we have the Misogynist Myths being quoted “Women can’t get on”, “Women bear grudges”, “Women can’t work together”, “Women make hopeless bosses”, “Women can’t run businesses”.
Well here are the facts: there are plenty of brilliant business women out there, as there are plenty of brilliant business men. There are good and bad business people whether they are male or female. It is unusual for women to work together in a group with exclusively women – particularly if they are strangers and have a couple of women who are loose cannons. In the real world, we’d all get rid of the loose cannons pronto, but this is a reality show.
So instead of making generalisations about The Female Apprentice Teams, let’s support the women that work hard and hope they will be victorious in this process at the end of the series.