I’ve never really been a fan of the show Loose Women. I can’t say I’ve watched that many episodes but the ones that I have managed to catch have mainly been full of cynical women throwing shade at other women (oh, and man bashing as well, obv). So no, I’m no expert on the show, nor on the Loose Women themselves. However, you don’t need to be an expert to see something very wrong in the way that journalist Janet Street-Porter and former pop star Jamelia attacked Labour councillor Karen Danczuk this week over – wait for it – selfies.
Karen Danczuk from Rochdale, who is married to Labour MP Simon Danczuk, has a bit of a habit of posting selfies on social networking site Twitter, some of which are ‘provocative’ in that they show off her ample cleavage. Now, ignoring the fact that pretty much every girl is guilty of posting sexy selfies online, there is an underlying issue at work here that must be addressed.
Janet Street-Porter explicitly told Karen that because she is from Rochdale, which has made headlines in recent years due to teenage girls being preyed on by gangs of paedophiles, she should be more responsible as she is a role model to young girls and should thus not be so openly sexual (because then, of course, young girls will copy her and get raped because low cut tops cause rape). Karen retorted by saying that ‘we need to move away from the belief that if you have a low-cut top on, you are a target, you are not. Women should be able to wear what they want, when they want.’
Thank god she hit the nail on the head.
Two women ganging up on another women on national television for wearing a few low cut tops is not just playground bullying; it is slut shaming. In citing the Rochdale paedophile gang, Janet Street-Porter is effectively saying that perhaps if teenage girls didn’t wear low cut tops (like their role models) then they wouldn’t be preyed upon. This is disgusting. More to the point, when an intelligent, articulate regional councillor is being interviewed on television, why is her cleavage the topic of discussion? Why, yet again, is a woman being reduced to nothing more than the pair of tits that she’s in possession of? Who cares if Karen Danczuk wants to wear a low cut top on a Friday night? If it doesn’t impact on her ability to do her job, be a mother, or implement positive change in her area, then why is it even being talked about?
Women just can’t win. On the one hand, ‘ugly’ women in politics are shamed (because duh, if you’re a career woman then you must be able to boss any situation in red lipstick and killer heels), but on the other hand, the few women in politics who do dress up and embrace their sexuality are publicly shamed and made to feel as though their cleavage is personally responsible for the mass grooming of underage girls!
Urgh. And it isn’t even just linking revealing clothes with sexual assault that is the problem here. It is women ganging up on other women and this needs to stop. Loose Women is supposed to be unique in that it has created a platform for opinionated, liberated women to make their voices heard. Inviting a woman onto the show just to publicly shame and humiliate her for the way that she dresses just makes it okay for ordinary women to do the same to each other. Janet and Jamelia may wax lyrical about the importance of being a good role model to other women, but what kind of role models are they being when they treat another woman in this way? Karen Danczuk has not committed a crime and she should not be treated as such.
Screaming all in caps