Thursday, 5 April 2012

Dear Virginia Ironside - Hell is NOT a room full of other women

It’s been a bad week for women, I reckon. First we had Samantha Brick wailing how other women hate her because she’s so beautiful and today the usually astute agony aunt Virginia Ironside has written a piece in the Daily Mail titled “Hell on earth is a room full of other women!”

Ironside claims: “I have dozens of female friends and I’m deeply fond of them all. But if you put a load of women together, a toxic chemical change seems to occur – one that turns them into bitchy, gossiping harpies, and produces an explosive reaction to me. And I’m not the only person to feel this way.”

Well, I’m sorry, I don’t know ANY women who feel this way. I’ve worked in loads of offices where women have been in the majority and have encountered nothing but professionalism, support, friendship and fun.

Ironside mentions that she used to work at Woman magazine, where she says, she found “how bitchy and cruel women can be when they’re in a group – women, who on their own, are perfectly nice and friendly.”

Funnily enough, at the time Ironside was writing for Woman, I worked as a feature writer for the opposition, Woman’s Own. The two weekly magazines were in the same South Bank tower block, two floors apart, and I’m sure the offices were pretty similar. The Woman’s Own features department consisted of one man and around ten women, and I can’t remember any bitchiness at all. Deadlines were tight and the pressure to get the best interviews intense, but we worked hard and had fun. I made lifelong friends there – in fact if my best pals Lesley and Daff phoned right now and suggested lunch I’d drop everything and go like a shot.

I’m a freelance writer now and mostly work from home so I wondered if I’m perhaps out of touch. But over the last five years I’ve worked closely with an international PR company, writing newsletters about apprenticeships, skills and training. All my colleagues there are high-flying women in their 20s and 30s and I’ve found exactly the same environment of hard work, courtesy and respect.  No back-biting whatsoever.

And then there’s the fabulous (mainly female) Romantic Novelists’ Association. From providing advice and support to up and coming authors to throwing ultra-glam parties to celebrate the achievements of their top names, the RNA proves once and for all that hell is NOT a room full of other women…


  1. I would say it's possibly more a case that the Daily Mail commissioned some nice themed pieces which tie together their "Women are their own worst enemies" slant for the week. It's awfully handy that they've both written pieces which complement each other so well otherwise.

    1. I feel really strongly that most women look out for each other and are very supportive in the workplace and everywhere else. I just think Virginia Ironside has got it completely wrong on this occasion.

  2. There's been so much about this on twitter today and some great articles in the Guardian written in response to Samantha Brick's ridiculous piece. The Daily Mail is utter poison!! Don't know if I can bring myself to read another DM article by a delusional woman but I'm intrigued.....

  3. I have to admit to not reading the Samantha Brick piece. I don't care what she said but I do find the nonstop tirade on Twitter about her a bit nasty - whatever she said.
    The Daily Mail are playing the Jeremy Clarkson card...controversy = publicity.

  4. I have to say that in my many years working in finance in the City the best times were when I was working for men or with men. The times when the team was run by a woman were some of the unhappiest of my working life - bitch doesn't even come close! Thankfully my life has taken a change in direction (for the better), but I would still have to think very carefully before jumping into an all female work situation.


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