Love or hate trashy TV, unless you have been living under a rock for the last week or have been way too busy obsessively following the Facebook debates about Britain's position in the EU, you will probably know by now that Miss Great Britain, or the former Miss Great Britain I should say, 20 year old Zara Holland has had sex on TV and has, as a result, been stripped of her title.
How did she have sex on TV I hear you ask? Is she a porn star? Has she done a Kim K? Was she busted in the background of the 6'O'Cock news behind the bins in an Aldi carpark? No. None of the above. Zara was one of the contestants on the world's latest ridiculous TV show, Love Island.
The show, from what I have seen of it, is basically Big Brother on acid. Despite having watched the last five episodes or so, I still don't really understand it and have spent the last 15 minutes tapping at my keys trying to find a way of describing it, but I can't, short of saying: some men and women are put in a house together, they are fuelled with alcohol, fags, sun and cabin fever (fun!) and are basically told that if they are not 'coupled up' then they are at risk of going home. They must choose someone to share a bed with each night and are actively encouraged to cause as much outrage as humanly possible. It genuinely is the most fabulous television.
Any hoo, last week Zara found herself in the 'Hideaway' (a bedroom adored by the islanders because of the rose petals that are thrown across the bed, the champagne on ice and of course the privacy from all but the however many prying eyes that are watching from their sofas in the UK), with fellow contestant Alex. Unsurprisingly, they had sex. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, FILTHY SLUT, HOW VERY DARE SHE? Whoops. Sorry. That was my inner 1950s self coming out in disgust, where was I?
Oh yeh. Right, so she had the sex. Came back into the house, told her mate and asked her mate not to tell anyone. Her mate then told EVERYONE. Fucking classic, thanks mate. The secret was out, in part due to the mate, in part due to the cameras and the fact that it was aired on national television. News then came from the Gods at Miss Great Britain that Zara's behaviour was unacceptable and as a result, she was to be stripped of her title, effective immediately.
Since then, for an unrelated reason, Zara has left the house, tried to defend herself on the Lorraine show and there has been a petition set up for her position to be reinstated, which has attracted 19,000 signatures. This decision has caused nearly as bigger divide amongst my friends as Brexit has. On the one hand people say that yes, it's pretty grim behaviour, not the way that a young woman should behave, she's a bad role model and as a result, it is fair enough that she has been stripped of her title. On the other hand, people are arguing that she is a young woman, she was on a show where this was totally inevitable, she didn't really do anything wrong and that by stripping her of her title, Miss Great Britain are denying a woman's right to have sex.
Both good points, to the extent that despite the fact that I have been asked to comment on this by countless people, I haven't really known what I think. Until this morning.
This morning I was talking to a friend of mine who shall, unless I want to be beheaded by her, definitely remain nameless, and she told me how badly she needed a man. Not for like ever, just for like now (girl code for, I want to have sex), and it got me thinking about a couple of things: 1) how that if a boy friend said this to me I'd slap him round the head for being so sexist and treating women as commodities and 2) how women, just like men WANT to have sex.
Thanks to our society, I have always felt that girls shouldn't really admit to this sort of thing, it's not considered 'lady like' behaviour. Mums up and down the country roll their eyes towards the heavens when they talk to other mums about that unfortunate time they found a crusty sock under their son's bed, in every film ever we either bare witness to or at least hear about one of the male roles having a wank (Something About Mary here's looking at you) and as far as schools are concerned? Oh my days. It was all I ever heard about, unfortunately. Men play with themselves, they watch porn, it's fine.
But women? Eesh. This is not talked about yet, and if it is, it's not okay. You are never, I repeat NEVER going to find a group of dads down the pub reminiscing about the time that they found a cucumber shaped device in their daughter's bedroom draw (thankfully), nor are you going to hear girls swapping pornsites or sharing wanking tips in the classroom. In fact, ask a man to ask a woman if she's ever watched porn or 'touched' herself and I can guarantee you, she will vehemently deny it, because we don't do that sort of thing.
And do you want to know WHY we don't do that sort of thing? Or why we won't talk about it? Because we'll be stripped of our Miss Great Britain titles that's why.
Quick, someone tell me why Kim Kardashian is famous.... BECAUE SHE MADE A SEX TAPE. Right answer, we all know that... Now someone tell me who the guy in the video with her was? Yeh I don't know either. Who cares right?
The fella that Zara had sex with will go back to work after the show is finished and be given high fives by everyone in that office, up to and including his boss. In fact, ALL the men that have appeared on the show can expect the same reception when they get home, and they've all been having lots of the sex, all of the time (it wasn't just Zara on a one off, poor judgement moment, they're all at it like rabbits every night). But the women? Well their parents won't be able to look them in the eye for a while, that's for dammed sure. I just hope that they have jobs to come back to.
No, Zara probably did not behave in the most lady like manner out there, she did fuck up and I don't envy the people that had to make the decision to take her title away, they're in a tricky position, because she is a role model and this isn't really the sort of behaviour they want to endorse, I get it.
But, and it is a BIG but, literally. Kim Kardashian is famous for a sex tape and is endorsed by every damn brand out there, so this high and mighty when it won't make you money but leniency when it's going to sell a diet pill attitude isn't really going to work.
Nor is a society where we still need to adhere to this ridiculous notion of being 'lady like'. Yes. It's a nice idea, in the same way that it's a nice idea for men to behave in a gentlemanly manner; holding doors, suppressing farts and not describing women like objects. But they don't behave like that most of them, and so if they aren't going to behave in a gentlemanly manner, then why are we still expected to behave like 'ladies'?
Women enjoy sex. Should we do it on television? Probably not. But thankfully, thanks to years and years of hard work by our foremothers, it is finally our choice. And so it's beyond depressing that Zara has returned home to a shit show of abuse while Alex, the required other half of this scandal, hops into bed with someone the very next night. Yes. THE VERY NEXT NIGHT and no one, and I mean no one, seems to care enough to comment.
So was it fair to take her title from her? You tell me.