I sat down on Thursday night, nowhere near as prepared as I needed to be, to watch Channel 4’s Dogging Tales. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I saw has burned my retinas for the unforeseeable future. An orgy (literally) of adults in actually rather impressive animal masks, sprayed with Lynx and Joop, wearing shell suits and hiding in a dark forest that should really be the hang out of Peter Rabbit and friends.
Yes, ok, they’re in masks so very cannily disguised as woodland creatures so you wouldn’t know who they were, but it all seemed a little personal to be going on for 75 minutes about the most intimate hobbies of our great public.
During the show, there were adverts played for other Channel 4 programmes The Sex Clinic and Embarrassing Bodies, two shows hosted by television doctors (people in white coats who look up your hoo-ha and then send you to a proper doctor in a proper hospital) in pop up clinics across the UK who invite the general public to come in and share their most intimate health issues with the rest of the country. The issues are usually genital-related, especially in The Sex Clinic, and there is often an up close view of each particular problem for us viewers to watch from behind cushions.
The previous week, 40 Year Old Virgins was aired, a show outing the UK’s 40 year old virgins, obviously. Off they went to America to meet with sexperts who would help them to conquer their sex fears and finally lose those V plates.
Over on the other side, Don’t Just Stand There… I’m Having Your Baby (far too long a name for a TV show if you ask me), a documentation of how useless blokes can be when their wives, girlfriends and illegitimate lovechild bearers are in labour. And lest we forget One Born Every Minute, which features an average 4 shots of babies popping out of uteruses per episode.
Sure enough, every night there is a show on some channel (usually Channel 4 or BBC3) featuring people showing the most intimate details of their lives for no reason other than to feed our nosy brains. And sure, I know so much about these shows because I sit there and watch them, but that’s because I’m nosy. The real issue here is the growing number of people who are willing to go on TV and share their intimacies for all to hear and see and “WTF?!” over.
So I’d just got over Dogging Tales (I’m lying, I’ll never get over it) and looked on facebook where there were a minimum of three statuses showing some major ‘over-sharing’. I like to use my social media sites to make stupid jokes, post photos of cats and occasionally speak to people that I actually know. However, other people like to use it as a place to vent their emotions over their ex-boyfriend and his new ‘slag’ girlfriend, or to explain how they plan to cry themselves to sleep tonight, or perhaps to share an offensive opinion of a celebrity.
Sure, all of these things deserve some airing, but in the privacy of our own homes to the ear of a friend as opposed to the 1000’s of people with access to your typed out thoughts.
Let’s remember the young lad who tweeted his opinion on Tom Daley disappointing his dead father during the Olympics. Hours later, the boy was arrested. I’ll bet he wishes he’d kept his fingers away from those keys and simply just shouted it down the stairs to his mum now.
Sure, as someone who attempts to make a living from writing down her thoughts and opinions on things, maybe I’m in no position to pass judgement, but I’m sure that there’s nothing that I’d write that would warrant an arrest.
Some people just believe themselves to be untouchable and therefore able to say what they want on any matter, maybe the employment of a life editor would be a good idea to save some people from blurting their offensive thoughts, or sharing a sad face with details of their horrendous break-up, or signing up to go on a TV programme with the main requirement of ‘no underwear’.
Gone are the days where privacy means anything. And I’m a big one for crossing lines about what’s going on in my life, but those lines are only crossed with friends after a massive glass of wine.
But is this just the modern world now? Are we a nation of ‘over-sharers’? Is it now ok to go on TV and say “Hi, I’m Terry and I like getting down and dirty in a car that’s parked in a forest with strangers in a meerkat mask, why don’t you watch”? I don’t know, but I don’t like it.