Archive for February 10th, 2008

Loose Women

February 10, 2008

Loose Women

If I had my own TV show that appealed to and was watched by people like me it would be very different to the sort of fare that usually crops up. You see, I don’t read Nuts Magazine, or Loaded, or FHM, or any so-called Lads magazines. I also don’t particularly like football, nor do I covet fake titties or expensive sports cars… I am, in every way, a failure as a male – and so are, it would seem, most of the men I know. None of my friends are the sort of drooling imbeciles that men are typically presented to be in any demographically intended media.

Come to think of it, the women I know don’t fit into any of their stereotypes either. They’re real human beings, with a variety of interests and differing personalities that aren’t easily boxed or subjected to type…

Which is why I find ITV’s Loose Women so amazing. It seems to me that a show produced by, hosted by and directed at women would find a way to subvert typically presented female roles. I’m not suggesting that it would be an all-out feminist propaganda show, just that it wouldn’t pander to image obsession, snidey criticism and the usual tabloid fodder of gossip and idle speculation. Simply put, I thought it would aim to empower women, especially the sort of women who stay in during the daytime and watch television. Seems I was dead wrong.

This whole post comes from one moment on Loose Women last week when the ladies were talking about a story involving Pierce Brosnan’s wife, Keely Shaye Smith. The 44 year old mother of four had been paparazzied wearing a bikini and there had been all manner of unpleasant comments about her in the press. Pierce Brosnan had, has and continues to say he didn’t care as he loved the size of his wife and adored everything about her.

There’s more about it here and the crucial photo that was discussed on Loose Women is here.

So – question: how would a television show aimed at women handle this subject? Would they resort to the usual reaction and chide her for her size or would they take arms alongside her and defend her right as, a normal woman, to be whatever size she wanted? Lest we forget as well, this is the wife of James Bond, someone repeatedly voted as one of the world’s sexiest men, a wildly successful actor who has bedded, on screen, some of Hollywood’s most desirable women – and he has come forward to say how much he loves his wife, his non-celebrity, size 16, normal looking wife.

Surely, this would be an ideal opportunity to affirm the shapes, sizes and Gok Wan-endorsing fabulousness of every normal woman who has ever felt pressured by constant comparisons to the celebrity waif? Would this not be an ideal chance to say: “Hey – James Bond likes a woman this size – see, you don’t have to be size 0 to get a good man”?

If I were Jackie Brambles, I’d strike one for the sisterhood.

Actually, they did none of the above. They turned on Pierce Brosnan instead. You see, it was decided that while it was perfectly ok for Keely Shaye Smith to be fat and that it was terrible that she was subjected to such a mauling, Brosnan was probably lying when he said he liked the size of his wife. These gossiply little witches decided that any man who says he likes his women large was a liar. They sat in front an audience of their peers and told them that if you were a normal sized lady with a husband who loved you, he was lying to you to be nice.

The ring-leader was Colleen Nolan; a lady of impeccable esteem. After all, she was a former large girl who signed all the right contracts when the weight fell off, a lady of such moral high ground she’ll happily hawk frozen shit to mothers and who was dumped by Shane Ritchie (I mean – come on – Shane Ritchie, it’s like being best friends with Richard Digance).

It’s worrying to see how easily we turn on each other. This culture of body fascism and celebrity fanaticism has warped television to such a degree that libel statements go unchecked and personal attacks are commonplace. This may just be a little shitty ITV daytime show, but it represents an increasing assassination culture where anything less than the perfectly sellable image is punishable by public humiliation. This woman is the non-famous wife of an actor – she’s one of them, one of the audience, one of the hosts…

TV fails us again.