Alan Michael Sugar, Baron Sugar of Clapton, 63-year-old English entrepreneur, recently escalated a 'tweet war' with TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp by insisting she needed to diet. His Lordship might have demonstrated a degree of business acumen over the years. He might be surrounded by sycophantic wannabes hanging on his every utterance. But he has revealed that beneath the exterior of a slick mentor lurks a reactionary dinosaur harking back to the days portrayed in Mad Men, when women knew their place.
Why the fuck should any woman feel pressured to comply with some male perception of perfection? Modern society bombards women with images of painfully thin models. Skinniness is omnipresent: on TV, in magazines, in movies. Hollywood is infested with ageism and body fascism. Once actresses hit the 'big three 0' they face a future of diminishing roles and resorting to expensive private clinics for nips, tucks, lifts, injections and liposuction.
What has become known as fat-shaming, intimidating people into losing weight, has proven to be counter-productive and far more liable to have the opposite effect, driving people to comfort eat through shame and embarrassment, exposing them to increased risks of physical ailments. It can also lead to anxiety and depression. Judgemental attitudes and flippant suggestions about individuals needing to diet can have a profound and negative affect on mental health, as was referenced in this article in The Guardian.
Discussing the UK's sex discrimination legislation that prevents employers quizzing women about any intention to start families, Sugar once commented: "These laws are counter-productive for women, that's the bottom line. You're not allowed to ask, so it's easy – just don't employ them".
Perhaps we shouldn't give his sexist opinions too much credence. After all, in February 2005 he predicted the iPod would be "dead, finished, gone, kaput" by the following Christmas. But he is a classic example of anachronistic management techniques: bullying subordinates, refusing to accept criticism, ruling by intimidation, encouraging underlings to become pinstriped gladiators; scrapping, back-stabbing and ganging up on the weakest. It's all about achieving maximum mullah for Sugar Inc or whatever the fuck his £730 million Empire is called.
Lord Sugar is a chauvinist whose personal wealth and integrity/class are inversely proportional. In her last 'tweet' Kirstie wrote of opting for a dignified silence. She should've told tell him exactly where to stick his diet.