I absolutely loved watching the Olympics this year. I love global sporting events and always love getting behind Britain’s athletes and sporting champions – especially when we win! And didn’t we do well? Second on the medal table and 27 gold medals. Not bad for a small island.
But there’s more to winning than a moment’s victory and ten minutes on the pedestal for the medal winners. There’s finally a whole class of legends for our children to look up to and aspire to be like. These are worthy champions. People who believed in themselves, people who strived to be the best they could be, people who never gave up.
In a world where reality TV stars and selfie sticks reign, I found it refreshing to finally watch down to earth, ordinary women being interviewed on my TV screen. The girls rocked it – Laura Trott, Jade Jones, Nicola Adams, the women’s hockey team, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning…the list goes on. Their sweaty hair and non-botoxed faces made a welcome change from doll-like Kim Kardashian and the pristine ‘just-made-up’ faces of the Made in Chelsea cast.
These girls were on our screens because they are talented and are doing great things with it. Not because they look a certain way, got lucky in the right place, or famous for having sex on You Tube. I wasn’t looking at them critically trying to find a chink in their armour (her makeup looks odd, that hat looks silly, that bum’s had filler)…I was lapping up their words (not their PR’s), and enjoying the honesty of their interviews. It was great to see ‘normal people’ speaking from the heart, with all of the humble modesty that normal people tend to have. They were just ordinary girls, who done good because they have raw talent and determination.
Now…don’t mistake my ramblings here as a self-riteous rant. I am the first to admit that I watch this crap – Love island, Ex on the Beach, TOWIE, Made in Chelsea, Keeping up with the Kardashians – all of it. I bloody can’t get enough of the stuff. But I watch it for the very reason that I know it’s crap. I like to think it isn’t really real life – I watch it for escapism from real life, something brain-numbing and ‘easy to watch’ after a chaotic day.
But my reality TV viewing hit new lows this week as I watched Gemma from Ex on the Beach pace around the villa shouting ‘who wants to finger me?!’ in reaction to her ex boyfriend kissing another girl. Seriously? Call me a granny, but it really does worry me when I see scenes like that – when did it become normal for girls to talk about themselves in that way? More worrying is the fact that the girls are all fighting over the boys at the expense of each other – pulling out each other’s hair extensions and brandishing around vile, personal remarks to each other (all about their looks of course). This seems to be the case across all reality TV shows (trust me, I’m an expert). What happened to Girl Power and sticking together? Bring back the Spice Girls.
Really, I know that it isn’t normal at all. I don’t know anybody who would behave that way. It’s why we like ‘reality TV’ so much – because it really is so far removed from reality that we find it entertaining. I know this. But will my daughter? Will my daughter understand that being a girl isn’t all about having the perfect selfie face, a Kim Kardashian bum and a large Instagram following? It isn’t about fighting other girls for the boy or ‘putting out’ in order to be liked.
Of course she will.
The Olympics this year have reminded me once again that Girl Power still reigns supreme. Good things still come to those who work hard at what they do, and despite an undeniable growing fascination with the way we look (fueled by social media and famous-for-nothing-else-celebrities), there’s still a place in our world for girls who want to achieve more than that.
Thank you, Team GB.