body autonomy, celebrity big brother, discrimination, feminism, informed consent, informed enthusiastic consent, Jeremy Jackson, Ken Morley, rape, rape culture, raunch culture, sexism, sexual assault, society
Celebrity Big Brother: The House of Inappropriate
Trigger warning throughout for descriptions of misogyny, racism, homophobia and sexual assault.
It was all over the news, Facebook, TV trailers and social media so I knew something was going to be broadcast during Saturday 10th January’s episode of Celebrity Big Brother. I have not seen any full Big Brother since series 2 and stopped watching entirely during series 3, as I have long been uncomfortable (I’m putting it mildly) with the exploitative prurience with which emotions and stresses trigger psychological and social issues in both viewer and participant. Since Jade Goody (series 3, 2002) got drunk with several male housemates who later admitted to deliberately getting her very drunk and persuading to disrobe on national TV, for which fellow housemate and ultimate winner Kate Lawler (who was present) took them to task, sexual exploitation and entitlement over female bodies has continued. Jade Goody was subject to reproval after being racist on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 towards actor Shilpa Shetty so not even Ken Morley’s racism towards Alexander O’Neal (for which he was well-schooled by O’Neal) was any surprise to viewers, although at least he did get a formal warning for using two racist terms. No warning for his perverted sexual and physical aggressiveness towards people through comment and actual intimidation though. Not for calling one contestant (Cami Li, of Puerto Rican descent) half-Moroccan/half-slut. Not for asking Calum Best if he would like to fuck Michele Visage really hard (Best handled the situation well, Visage also). Not for walking into the shared bathroom repeatedly stating it was the “best place to see Ladies arses.” Racism kills. Misogyny kills. Sexism (cis and trans) kills. This was all one 24-hour period, in one episode, which came with very strong explicit warning by Channel 5. The episode reached a new nadir for the Big Brother brand with the sexual assault of Chloe Goodman by Jeremy Jackson for which he was evicted and rightly strongly reprimanded. If anyone needs to see what rape culture and victim-blaming is, just watch that episode and see what several of the men including Jeremy Jackson had to say. The women were wonderful. I know how Chloe felt. I’ve been there. I am sure a hell of a lot of people were strongly triggered and I cannot get rid of my anger. Morley’s reaction was to warn Chloe Goodman she shouldn’t “fuck herself” by making waves over what happened to her because Jeremy Jackson was a “powerful Jewish mogul” who could affect her career. I was also horrified to note Morley’s physical aggression particularly towards Perez Hilton. Morley followed Hilton into the toilet during an argument and only left after Hilton repeatedly asked him to. He waited outside for Hilton to follow then moved towards him with his right arm and hand moving crotch-ward as if to grab Hilton’s penis. This is deeply inappropriate and sexually aggressive behaviour and is totally unacceptable. Yet nothing at all has been said. IT. IS. NOT. OKAY.
This is society believing it has an entitlement to exploit female bodies in raunch culture. This is a lack of freely given enthusiastic consent TO ANY SITUATION. This is rape culture. Jeremy Jackson has well-documented and well-known psychological issues and problems with alcohol. He should not have been in the house. Contestants are supposed to go through psychological profiling. Big Brother exploits the vulnerable and provokes conflict. It incites. It is cruel. It is akin to visiting Bedlam in the Victorian era, when the elite would attend the asylum by appointment to gawk, dehumanise and feel superior to those suffering. This is serious. 1 in 5 women in the UK experiences sexual assault*. 1 in 3 teenage girls*. Approximately 485,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted every year*. From the period 2009-2012 inclusive only 24,203 were be reported.** Only 20,692 rapes and sexual assaults of men were reported**. Big Brother crossed the line long ago and it needs to take responsibility otherwise it needs to end. But this is part of a much wider, endemic problem which is not new but which we need to start addressing NOW. It’s already pandemic. * http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/Statistics2.php ** https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/an-overview-of-sexual-offending-in-england-and-wales
UPDATE: Ken Morley was thrown out, as reported in the media yesterday Monday 12th January 2015, apparently for further use of ‘n’ word and the ‘p’ word used to describe the children of those denigrated with the ‘n’ word. Not for his misogyny, homophobia and threatening behaviour.
From → Ideology