'Are you pregnant?': Five things you should never say to a woman

·9 min read
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Sophie Ellis-Bextor performs on stage during Day 2 of the Cambridge Club Festival 2021 at Childerley Orchard on September 11, 2021 in Cambridge, England. (Photo by C Brandon/Redferns)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor performs on stage during the Cambridge Club Festival 2021. (Photo by C Brandon/Redferns)

While many of us are looking forward to a festive break — whatever that might look like this year — a lot of people are also tired and nerves are on edge after having to deal with a lot recently.

It's the season to be kind, to think a little longer before saying exactly what's on your mind and to consider how it may come across to the person you're speaking to, whether friend, family or work colleague.

We've got some pointers below that we learned from White Wine Question Time in 2021 – things you should never say to any of the women in your life, with some of our fave celeb names on hand to remind us why as well. 

Catch up on all the past episodes of White Wine Question Time here, including Gary Barlow, E L James and Vernon Kay

Read on to hear from the kitchen-disco queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor on why you should never ask a woman if she's pregnant, from actor and writer Julie Graham about what not to say to a menopausal woman, and from Eastenders and Grantchester star Kacey Ainsworth on why it's important to dispel myths about women being 'bitchy'.

Here are our top five things you should never say to a woman:

"Are you pregnant?"

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  Sophie Ellis-Bextor performs at The O2 Arena on November 27, 2021 in London, England.  (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor performs at The O2 Arena on November 27, 2021 in London, England. (Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

Sophie Ellis-Bextor appeared on Kate Thornton's White Wine Question Time podcast this year and spoke out about the acquaintance who had got in touch having seen her in a video to ask a question that surely most people know is off limits?

WATCH: Sophie Ellis-Bextor on why you should never ask a woman if she is pregnant

Ellis-Bextor said: "Last year, when I did a video for Crying At The Discotheque, I won't name him, but a guy that I work with saw some of the footage, and he phoned me up and he said: ‘I just wondered if you have big news?’

"And I was like: ‘Are you asking me if I'm pregnant?’ He said, ‘Yes’. Afterwards, I was so angry. 

"I was like, if I wore a sequin catsuit and for whatever reason, I don't tell you I'm pregnant, either, because I'm not, I am and I'm not ready to say or I have been recently, and I don't want to talk about it, then don't bloody ask me!

“I think that's really not okay, because I think there's some things that are very private.”

She sent a reply to the person in question, blind copying in her mum, Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, and her husband. But when the person replied copying them in as well, she realised that she hadn't blind copied but just copied them in and went "from feeling really empowered to a right dingbat.”

"You can't have testosterone"

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27:  Julie Graham (r) and Jenny Powell discuss the medias role in ageism during a BUILD LND event at AOL on September 27, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
Julie Graham (r) and Jenny Powell discuss the medias role in ageism during a BUILD LND event (Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

The cast of Dun Breedin  the lockdown drama about women going through the menopause — joined Thornton live on stage in London for a special White Wine Question Time show. 

The women discussed friendship, how they recorded during lockdown, and access to medical support for the menopause.

Writer and actor Julie Graham told Kate Thornton she had gone had fallen at the last hurdle having gone online and pretended to be a 54-year-old man to get testosterone. She got nearly to the end of the process but then had to provide a blood test.

WATCH: Julie Graham on why sexy, menopausal women were integral to her drama, Dun Breedin

She explained: "I was nearly there, I was like: 'I've so fooled them!' and it said 'we can't prescribe this to you because we need a blood test.' I literally nearly went up and jabbed [her partner] Davey and just got a bit of blood out of him!

"Actually Brighton are brilliant, I went to a GP in Brighton [but] it depends. It's a postcode lottery, but they're all over it. They're brilliant and they prescribed me the male testosterone because that's the one that I needed rather [than the] female one which is slightly less potent."

She also had a message for anyone in the audience on the day who needed help.

She said: "I'm just saying right now if you are struggling and you want it on the NHS, just don't take no for an answer because they have to prescribe it to you. If they don't, phone me and I'll get them to prescribe it to you!"

The NHS says testosterone is not currently licensed for use in women, but it can be prescribed after the menopause by a specialist doctor.

"Women are bitchy"

LONDON - OCTOBER 25: The cast of
The cast of "Eastenders" including Barbara Windsor (C), Kacey Ainsworth (L of centre) and Tracey-Ann Oberman (R of centre) pose in the awards room at the National Television Awards 2005 (Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

Grantchester actor and the woman who made EastEnders' Little Mo so loved by the nation, Kacey Ainsworth, spoke about the importance of changing the stereotypes of women we see on screen.

She and Thornton discussed how the stereotypes so many women are raised on go on to shape their ideas of how women live and work together.

She said: "The stuff that's been misrepresented! 'Girls don't get on', 'girls are bitchy'.

"And so I think there's so much that we've that we've grown up with, that's in our bones, that people tell us about how women are. You know: 'Women are bitchy in the workplace'. What the hell is all that about?

"It's never been my experience! And you think where did this come from? Where did these outdated tropes come from that we listen to?

Read more: Kacey Ainsworth on developing characters to break down stereotypes of women

"And it's because you pitch people against one another, you pitch young against old you pitch, females against other females and then you can say you've got a [get out] clause or something.

"I don't know why we've had to put up with this. But I'm loving the fact that now we've got internet and Twitter and Instagram, we can have our own voices and say: "I don't recognise this, this isn't part of my life.'"

She said she worked to develop characters who did not fit into these moulds and would show women as they really were.

"She was asking for it"

TV Presenter Ulrika Jonsson, near her home Cookham Dean, Berks after being attacked last night in a Paris bar by her soccer star boyfriend Stan Collymore.   (Photo by Tim Ockenden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
TV Presenter Ulrika Jonsson, near her home Cookham Dean, Berks after being attacked in a Paris bar by her soccer star boyfriend Stan Collymore. (Photo by Tim Ockenden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ulrika Jonsson spoke openly and honestly about the attack on her by Stan Collymore in a Paris bar in 1998 and said it could have been much worse had it happened behind closed doors. 

She opened up about the disbelief she felt when people around her questioned what had happened – and if she had had any role in it.

She told Thornton: "I think all these kind of episodes in your life you box up and you put them away. I held on very strongly to my truth and the fact that there was hundreds of witnesses and a camera crew there.

"The fact that I'd had a drink should not make any difference. I wasn't p****d out my head, I was happy drunk.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10:  Ulrika Jonsson is evicted from the Big Brother house during the final of Ultimate Big Brother on September 10, 2010 in Borehamwood, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Ulrika Jonsson is evicted from the Big Brother house during the final of Ultimate Big Brother on September 10, 2010 (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

"I was with somebody who had just threatened to murder me. He was going to kill me, you know, and then asked to speak to me.

"Then it all happened very quickly. But after that the inference was very much about my behaviour. 'She's lively. She was in a pub.' I was downing a pint. Yeah, we mustn't do that."

She added: "I think that that's something that many women identified with. I'm just exhausted with constantly either explaining yourself and justifying yourself, or trying to convince someone of something."

Collymore acknowledged the attack in 1998, issuing an apology for his actions saying: "petulance, jealousy and possibly having too much to drink are the real reasons behind this regrettable and avoidable incident."

"Thanks very much, and cheerio!"

Television presenter Lorraine Kelly poses with her medal after she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle, west of London on December 8, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Lorraine Kelly poses with her medal after she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) this month. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP)

Lorraine Kelly is the face of morning TV for so many people, but it nearly wasn't that way.

She told Thornton how she nearly lost her job after the birth of her daughter Rosie, when she was told not to come back.

She said: “They basically said: ‘Thanks very much and cheerio!’ because they had someone else. They had Anthea Turner that they had brought in to present with Eamonn (Holmes). It was a long, long time ago.”

Kelly, who had started as the Scotland correspondent on TV-AM, helped relaunch the breakfast show when it became GM-TV, working hosts Mike Morris and Holmes.

“It really was frightening,” she revealed.

“I had this really tiny baby and I wasn't sure what was going to happen.”

She was asked back to do a sponsored mum and baby slot, which led to further success.

She told Thornton: “Luckily there was a mum and baby company — I think it was Cow & Gate or something — who wanted to do a mum and baby slot. They wouldn’t do it unless I did it, so that was a way back, if you like, and it was so successful that they ended up giving me my own show.”

WATCH: We take a look back at some of our favourite White Wine Question Time moments of 2021

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