The Celebrity Big Brother feminism debate

As a television addict, it comes as no surprise that I was immediately swept up into the dramas and love triangles of this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. But, if any of you have been watching, you’ll have noticed the battle of the sexes, with the ‘women’s team’ firmly represented by former Apprentice contestant Luisa Zissman.

Luisa had some heated debates on the subject of gender equality with some of her male housemates, mainly Dappy from UK group N-Dubz. After Dappy remarked that it was socially and morally acceptable for men to sleep with numerous women, but if a woman did it, she’d be a ‘hoe’, Luisa launched a verbal tirade against him and said that his mother should be ashamed of his treatment and lack of respect towards women, and that despite him being a celebrity, money clearly couldn’t buy class. As a woman, I wholeheartedly support her outrage at men’s sexual tendencies being praised whilst women are slandered for doing the exact same thing. Not because I can personally relate to having received such disapproval, simply because it’s double standard of society that isn’t fair.

What I don’t agree with, is the fact that just days later, the ‘wannabe gangster’ she criticised for being ‘disrespectful to women’ and having ‘no class’, was sucking her nipple on national television in a game of truth or dare. Doesn’t that just undermine her whole argument?

This is a successful businesswoman who came second on The Apprentice and proudly boasts that she is a strong believer in feminism and that woman like her can’t be handled because they’re too intelligent, too ambitious, and too driven. This is the woman who has a a flourishing career, and has repeatedly defiantly declared that she made her own money. This is a woman who has the potential to be an inspiration to me and thousands of other young women. And yet, just days into this reality tv stint, she was whispering to fellow housemate Jasmine Waltz the highest number of men she’d bedded in one night at one of the sex parties she later bragged about to the rest of the house (and the general public.)

Surely it’s one thing to be open and proud of your sexuality, and another to openly boast about your exploits while you have a young daughter and several businesses that will suffer the consequences? Likewise, surely it’s admirable to stand up for feminism and equality amongst the sexes, and to argue against chauvinism and slut-shaming… but practicing what she preaches might be more useful to Luisa’s case.

To clarify, I have no objection to Luisa’s sexual preferences or what she does in terms of her personal life. But I think that she should perhaps emphasise what she should be really proud of; being a mother, successful businesswoman and enthusiastic feminist – rather than the number of men and women she’s slept with or how far she’s willing to go in terms of simulating sex on national television to get attention.

Women have a long way to go before we’re paid or respected the same as men, and I can’t help but think that the men who are watching Celebrity Big Brother will be paying a lot more attention to Luisa’s breasts than her values – which she could prevent by not having them out for Dappy to suck on. Just a thought.


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