A Big Bang Theory? – Why You Really Can’t Win If You’re A Woman And What We Should Do About That Fact
I wasn’t consciously aware of the name Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting until a few days ago. I knew who she was via a character she plays on a television show, but not her actual real-life name. I have followed that character, and all the other characters on the show, for eight seasons. In the unlikely event you were unaware, Keley Cuoco-Sweeting is the name of the actress who plays Penny on The Big Bang Theory.
Incidently, I didn’t know what any of the other actors on the show were called either. So geeky am I that my mind wanted these fellow nerds to be real. Sheldon Cooper et al leapt fully formed into my hind-brain without the need for flesh and blood conduits.
In fact, up until recently, the only Big Bang cast member I could have named would have been Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy Farrah-Fowler. And that’s just because I remembered her from Blossom. I was a student when Blossom hit British TV screens and like most students I spent a great deal of my time avoiding studying. Consequently I watched a great deal of television that wouldn’t normally appear on my viewing radar. It’s astonishing how fascinating a documentary on Albanian basket weaving techniques can seem when you have an urgent project report to write up.
Even now, if pressed, I’d have Google the names of any of the other actors in Big Bang Theory in order to be able to tell you who played which character. This isn’t an insult to the people involved, by the way. It’s actually a testament to the talent and skill of everyone involved in the show.
I’ve looked up the names of the Big Bang cast on numerous occasions, but my brain just keeps rejecting the information. It’s like it’s clinging onto that idea that Leonard and Sheldon and Raj and everyone are real, not just constructs created by writers and realized by thespians.
For now though, my brain has latched onto the name Keley Cuoco-Sweeting. This may be because it has noticed a hyphen, where previously there was no hyphen. This is because she recently got married to handsome tennis pro Ryan Sweeting. This has made a lot of feminists very angry.
The feminists aren’t angry just because she’s got married to a man, though. Most married women are married to men. Well, some of the lesbian feminists probably are upset. A bit. Kaley’s a mighty fine looking girl after all and she looks like she’s got a well-developed sense of sexual adventure. So a little bit of disappointment from the lesbian community is inevitable really. No, the feminists are angry because of a recent interview Keley gave where she explained what she liked about marriage.
Apparently, what Keley likes about marriage is looking after her husband. She likes to make time to cook for him at least five times a week. She’s also said that she’s not a feminist, which it would seem you’re not allowed to do, no matter how successful you are professionally.
To those of us who have been jaded by the experiences of life, these are hardly earth shattering revelations. Not exactly a new big bang theory. A woman is a free intellectual agent and is under no obligation to subscribe to feminism if she doesn’t want to, no matter how much the feminist movement asserts that it’s compulsory. A new bride getting the sudden urge to play “house” for a bit? That’s an urge that strikes many a newly married woman. It’s just a way of stamping ownership. It’s a phase and it’ll soon wear off.
Or maybe there’s more to it than that. Perhaps Keley’s deliberately said something controversial so people will talk about that instead of speculating that her marriage is over almost before it’s begun. Many a celebrity marriage that might otherwise have survived has crumbled under the pressure of public scrutiny.
Or perhaps it’s about money. Ryan Sweeting is a professional sportsman after all. What he eats could make or break his career. He’s worth just over two million and she is worth thirty million. Marriage is a financial union as well as a romantic and emotional one. Making sure that Ryan eats well could be her way of ensuring that he gets the big prize money and so contributes a bit more their communal money pot.
Then again, it could be that Keley doesn’t give a flying fuck how much her husband earns. Maybe she just likes cooking for him because it helps her relax after a long day filming Big Bang. A little nest of normality after the weirdness of being famous out in the big, wide world all day. Maybe she sings him to sleep with “Soft Kitty” every night; who knows? I can speculate all I like, but ultimately what Keley Cuoco-Sweeting does within her marriage is none of my bloody business. Nor is it any business of the feminist community.
Feminists are a bit like horses, though. Notoriously skittish and easily spooked. You can walk a horse past the same section of hedgerow day after day for months. Then one day, that horse will be suddenly and inexplicably outraged by the existence of that section of hedgerow. It will go fucking mental and rear up like it’s in a scene from the film “The Devil Rides Out”. It seems that this is what they have done in the case of the Cuoco-Sweeting marriage. The feminists that is, not the horses.
Keley Cuoco-Sweeting is very successful. She earns a million dollars an episode for her role in Big Bang Theory. That’s the same as her male counterparts. You could argue that she should earn more. After all, no one is tuning in to watch Simon Helberg wearing tight sweaters, though he does wear a lot of tight sweaters for some unaccountable reason. Simon Helberg plays Howard Wolowitz, by the way.
When Big Bang inevitably finishes- brilliant as it is, it can’t go on forever- Keley will most likely do what Jennifer Aniston did when Friends shot its final episode. She’ll get paid millions of dollars per movie to star in rom-coms opposite whoever the equivalent of Matthew McConaughey is by then.
She’s not a feminist because she doesn’t need to be. She smashed through any glass ceilings which might have been hanging over her head some time ago. The feminists are incensed by this, and so they should be. I disagree quite violently with much of what feminists say and how they say it. But even I grudgingly agree that the world needs them to keep on saying it. This is because if they don’t keep on saying it, we are all going to sleepwalk our way back to the 1950s.
Men earning the money and women staying at home looking after everyone is just Division of Labour. It’s straight out of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations”. It’s the laziest and most efficient way of running a society and, as anyone who’s ever worked on an efficient factory production line will tell you, it’s not very fulfilling for the individuals involved.
All of this protestation on the part of the feminists strikes me as sour grapes. Look at what Keley Cuoco-Sweeting has achieved and it would appear that she “has it all”. Women, feminist or otherwise, hate it when that happens. The fact that a successful woman can play housewife, not because she has to, but because she wants to should be celebrated and not lambasted. Choice and individual fulfilment is the aim of feminism. And if it currently isn’t, it fucking well should be. Let’s all do our utmost to ensure that we don’t lose sight of that fact.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2015