Firstly I'd like to point out that I haven't watched the show, I am working from short clips I've seen and comments from other people. With this in mind, I shall begin:
However much it might pain the feminists, I have a feeling that the antagonism towards this smart lady might not be so COMPLETELY about her being female.
Is it, perhaps, more about her accent and demeanour? A lot of the mean things people have said are, yes, geared towards her appearance. I don't agree with this and I see how it relates to valuing women only for their looks. I also know that it is the kind of throwaway comment many (men) make when criticising a multitude of things, along the vein of '...and she's a munter too'
Regardless of what she looks like,
**please note here that I am not expressing an opinion on her looks and do not intend to make comment on it, too many other people have done so already**
her accent is *rather* plummy. She is smart and she has the diction to prove it. It riles people. It could well be a class/regional thing.
Hey, I even has a source right here to cite: Swann, J. (2002) Yes, but is it gender?
(I'm not being totally geeky, honest, it's on my dissertation plan sitting next to me)
People get so worked up about issues when there is a hint about sexism that they ignore the other possibilities. I concede that there is probably a hint of gender involved, especially in the comments on her appearance, but we mustn't neglect the class aspect. Look at the examples pulled on the f word website. Many pertain to her 'smug'-ness, her 'know-it-all'-ness, if that's not judging her by her accent then I quit linguistics!
Getting personal for a moment, (yes, how un-academic) if I had watched it, I feel that I would have disliked 'smugness' from either a male or female team captain. It is not that I have been conditioned to think that women should be modest and men be bold, I have decided from my experience that I dislike smugness on anyone. You could probably say that I have been conditioned to dislike a particular style of accent, having grown up in the phonologically-rich Midlands in probably a low-middle income household. But you could hardly call me anti-woman...thus if I were to find fault with her, I would be offended to be told it was because she was a smart woman!
Anyway, that's all I really have to say on the issue. I'm quite sad that they got disqualified, they should have been allowed to play with the team they started the competition with, regardless of the fact a member might have finished his course in the middle of the series.
Apologies for the rambling nature, just a collection of thoughts here really, goodnight.