Miranda misogynist? Rubbish, say her ratings-busting fans

Jan 3, 2013

Fans and critics quick to defend comedienne after critic accuses Miranda of denigrating women

COMEDIENNE Miranda Hart was the surprise ratings success over Christmas but the critical backlash has begun with a review which accuses her self-titled sitcom of "misogyny".

Miranda was the most watched programme on Boxing Day, attracting 9.4 million viewers. A further episode scored big on New Year's Day when it won an audience of 9 million, just behind that day's EastEnders.

However, Andrew Billen in The Times launched a stinging attack, claiming that her central joke – the large and clumsy Miranda – is based on a hatred of women.

"Miranda is misogynist," wrote Billen. "I cite not merely the self-hating Miranda character herself: but her Miranda-hating shrew of a mother, her infantilised, Sylvanian-family collecting colleague Stevie, and her gormless Sloane pal Tilly."

Billen's attack provoked a storm of protest from fans of Hart, both on Twitter and in the press.

Lucy Mangan in The Guardian said Hart's deliberately awkward comedy character is actually a celebration of women of all shapes and sizes. "The show is the exact opposite of misogynistic. The mad confidence of the actor and the character is a tonic when compared to the anaemic, cramped comedic (and dramatic) female roles out there."

Hart's many fans took to Twitter to defend the actress. Mellie Buse said: "I doubt Miranda will encourage self hatred in girls", while Griselda Heppel asked: "Isn't it more about not taking yourself too seriously?"

Meg Rosoff ‏said Miranda's large frame and sense of humour were key to her appeal: "Teens adore her mad confidence, the fact that she's not skinny blonde perfect, that she celebrates the imperfect."

Even non-fans like Graham Ward claim Hart is a positive role model for girls: "It's not my thing, but my girlfriend's 13-yr-old daughter adores her, with more than a hint of self-association."

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It baffles me that anyone would think Miranda Hart is misogynistic; her entire appeal is a celebration of the seemingly imperfect, often-disparaged actual human being - male or female - while also a critique of and response to the expectations put on women by popular culture. It's bold social commentary. And young people adore Ms Hart's embracing of embarrassment, insecurity, and awkwardness, which everyone feels (see her book "Is It Just Me?").

"It's bold social commentary"

Oh! I thought it was just some of the worst comedy I've ever seen; just not funny.

I really doubt she based it on the depth of analysis that would be needed if it really were what you say.

Well said. Beats me why anyone would want to waste time viewing her humour.