United Kingdom

Emma Barnett finds it 'incredibly patronising' that women are constantly being 'put into boxes'

Emma Barnett has shared her frustration about women constantly being 'put into boxes' depending on whether they're 'nice or a b***h'. 

The Woman's Hour host, 36, recalled a Radio 4 programme where it was asked whether she'd been 'trained on empathy and warmth' following an interview with Maureen Lipman about her late husband. 

Speaking on My Wardrobe Malfunction with Susannah Constantine, she said the idea women can't 'go from being harder to softer' is one she finds 'incredibly patronising'. 

BBC presenter Emma also opened up about her battle with endometriosis, saying that she's 'literally impaired' some days because of the chronic pain she experiences. 

Woman's Hour host Emma Barnett has shared her frustration about women constantly being 'put into boxes' depending on whether they're 'nice or a b***h' 

Emma, pictured in London 2016, recalled a Radio 4 programme where it was asked whether she'd been 'trained on empathy and warmth' 

'The thing that gets me the most frustrated is when we put women in boxes,' said Emma. 'She's this, she's that. Emma is a Rottweiler, whatever it is.

'I remember talking to Maureen Lipman about the fact she was recently widowed when Prince Phillip passed away.  

'Somebody said on the radio on that feedback programme, on Radio 4 - oh sorry the question was by the presenter, giving him a bit of feedback, "Has someone had to train Emma on empathy and warmth".  

'Because the idea a woman couldn't go from being harder to softer, and I find things like that incredibly patronising... You're either a b***h or you're nice'.  

Emma says that it took her a long time to be able to open about about personal issues such as fertility and endometriosis, admitting she used to see vulnerability as 'weak'

Emma admitted it took her a long time to be able to open about personal issues such as fertility and endometriosis, admitting she used to see showing vulnerability as 'weak'. 

In an interview with Stella magazine, she explained: 'It suits people to perceive me in one way or another. Why can a woman not be hard and soft? Why can a woman not be combative and uber empathetic? 

'I am 100 per cent human. That's why I talk about fertility or endometriosis or being in bone-crushing pain quite regularly. Because for a long time, I saw admitting vulnerability as weak. It's wrong.' 

The author, who waited 20 years for a diagnosis of endometriosis after suffering since her periods began at age 10, says that some days she will be 'impaired' with pain - and that one week a month she spends 'unwell'.

'I'm quite unwell a lot, if you talk about Achilles heel and weakness and that sort of thing, I'm unwell for a good week in every month,' she said on the podcast. 

Author Emma, pictured in London last year, conceived her son, three, via IVF after a long struggle due to her condition

'I definitely am more vulnerable, I'll literally be impaired some days, leaning to the side and unable to walk very easily. 

'But I'm also vey frustrated. I think anyone who lives with chronic pain or very regular pain or discomfort, you don't like being a broken record you don't want to say, "I don't feel very well".' 

She went on: 'I think the thing I have changed on which I explore is I used to see illness or weakness or pain as weak and I would never want to show it. 

'I can most of the time work, I very rarely have a sick day because I find my job is very distracting for my brain when I'm in pain, but I've really changed that, you have to be really hard to live and exist with this condition, which one in 10 women have at least.' 

Author Emma conceived her son, three, via IVF after a long struggle due to her condition, and says that she would be 'apprehensive' to 'ever go down that road again'. 

The author, (pictured in 2015) who waited 20 years for a diagnosis of endometriosis after suffering since her periods began at 11, says that some days she will be 'impaired' with pain

When asked whether she would consider having IFV again, she said: 'I don't know. I always say our luck finally came in when we had IVF because it worked first time, but I think there's a large thing to be done about what it's like to work on IVF and what it's like it live. 

'I remember being on air on loads of hormones and I was on the election trail and it was quite funny, the nurses at the hospital said, "You're not doing anything stressful over the next few weeks are you?"

'I was so convinced it wouldn't work , I remember doing the trigger injection and saying to my body, almost as if I was saying to my son, "If you don' like stress don't get on board with me, because this is the way I live."

'I did not enjoy the experience even though I was extremely fortunate with the outcome. The other thing is, I hated trying for a baby.

'I feel I have won the jackpot and I have had a child I didn't know I could have, I don't know and I'm apprehensive about ever going down that road again.' 

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