I’m A Woman…Get Me Out Of Here
I’M A Celebrity. The time of year when my eating habits seem normal, cowboy hats are back in fashion and Kian Egan doesn’t have to hide behind Shane Filan. A recipe for television success. However, an episode last week raised various alarm bells amongst women and gained the momentum of a Daily Mail cover story. When Olympic medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington broke down in tears by admitting that she felt ‘insecure’ alongside size 8 model Amy Willerton, it represented a rather depressing occurrence in women’s daily lives within society.
Although some readers may question the ‘reliance’ of a reality TV show as a source of issues within society, the truth is that, in essence, it is all too much a reliable source. It is a television show that aims to target an audience by incorporating ‘current’ celebrities into the show. Sceptics of the show may argue that they haven’t heard of any of the ‘celebrities’ before, but the battle between Olympian swimmer Rebecca and glamour model does provide a candid insight into the case of women in society today. Forgetting her achievements, Rebecca represents ‘normal’ girls with her size 12 figure, while Amy is a personification of the beautiful desirable woman today, with a pageant winning smile and a slim size 8 figure.
Of course, Rebecca’s emotional breakdown on I’m A Celebrity was not necessarily automatically induced at the sight of Amy in a bikini. Unfortunately, Rebecca’s looks and figure have won her almost as much press as her achievements itself. The first thing that appears on Google after mentioning Rebecca’s name is ‘Rebecca’s nose,’ while she is forced to endure Twitter trolls targeting her appearance on a weekly basis. Earlier this year, Rebecca had to endure being compared physically to a ‘dolphin’ by Frankie Boyle. Meanwhile in the camp, Amy tried to somewhat ‘defend’ herself by insisting that all of her body was entirely natural, and that she too was once familiar with the plight of relative unattractiveness, claiming to have been bullied during her teens for acne and wearing glasses.
Personally, what I would define as the most upsetting side of this all is the fact that Rebecca is ‘expected’ to be pretty. Her tremendous achievements are overshadowed by the desire for beauty in society. What is most depressing is that instead of revelling in her double gold-medal glory, Rebecca is expected to have to justify herself, ‘I’m not a model, I’m not attractive, it’s just one of these things.” At the very least, the insults directed at Rebecca are harmless that unfortunately went a step too far. At most, they are a callous, worrying insight into our society. In deciding to belittle Rebecca’s body as simply unattractive – rather than in viewing it as a perfectly normal, powerful force that has managed to win her three Olympic medals – society once again proves that looks are much privileged overachievements.
What about the rest of us who have similar bodies to Rebecca Adlington? Are we expected to succumb to society pressure and diet? Or do we merely accept ourselves as unworthy and ugly? What about the few of us who have size 8 bodies and beautiful faces like Amy? Are we expected to apologise for attractiveness, and constantly attempt to justify ourselves? And are we supposed to ‘side’ in the debate like Laila Morse in the camp, who insisted that she found Rebecca ‘100 times more beautiful’ than Amy? By using Amy – a beautiful, charming girl who is successful in her own modelling right – as the reason for Rebecca’s insecurities, we are punishing women who are ‘fortunate’ enough to be in a position to please society. While championing a less attractive female over a more attractive female may initially seem bold and within good intentions, all it does is further alienate females away from each other in society. Certainly, Rebecca is much more likely to be remembered in 50 years for her achievements than Amy’s personal achievements but for the moment, no Olympic medal can equate to a pretty body.
I’d like to hope that we can somewhat fight against this as a society as soon as possible but realistically, there’s probably more hope of Frankie Boyle winning an Olympic gold medal.
Photos c/o mirror.co.uk