I'm a Celebrity: Rebecca Adlington earned her amazing talent - but that doesn't mean we have to put down Amy Willerton

Rebecca’s body is from hard graft; something she wasn’t handed at birth and which she has gone on to do amazing things with. We can't compare them on the same things

Related Topics

Regular subscribers to my Twitter/blog will have noted that I, perhaps unexpectedly for a body confidence campaigner and card-carrying feminist, support The Sun’s Page Three.

Such it was that I found myself at the University of Warwick a few weeks ago being shouted at by two hundred and fifty angry students, all frothing at the mouth and red about the gills, such was their indignation at my calm acceptance of what they perceived to be an inherently sexist and therefore evil institution. One thing I said in particular riled them to the point that I found myself thinking how pleased I was that no one had bought eggs/tomatoes to lob in my direction :

“Natural beauty is just a gift, like anything else you’re born with, that you can use if you chose to”.

Now before you screech “fetch me my pen of rage!” and start lambasting me in snarky comments below the line, let me explain. One of the founding principles of my body confidence campaign is that we do not patronise people and we do not judge their choices.

If we acknowledge that conventional beauty is at least 80 per cent socially constructed (amateur anthropologists I refer you to the vastly differing beauty paradigms throughout history and in various cultures - now sssshhhh, and pipe down please) and then further reconcile ourselves to the idea that you are either born with a degree of it or you’re not we actually…wait for it…diminish its importance. If we can say “yes, that’s all very nice and lovely. You are gorgeous and nice to look at. Good for you. Now I shall turn my attention to something truly important”, then we make our choices from a headspace unthreatened by other people’s degree of perceived good-looking-ness.

We are then free to focus on the things which REALLY make someone beautiful, in the actual,proper sense of the word – kindness, talent, dedication, philanthropy, intelligence, humour, uniqueness, quirkiness, resilience – all that jazz finally comes to the fore and has its long awaited moment.

If only everyone had listened instead of bellowing “no! We are ALL beautiful! I WANT TO BE BEAUTIFUL TOO! Waaaaah!” then perhaps we would not have been subjected to the heart-breaking spectacle of Rebecca Adlington, gold medal winning Olympic athlete, sobbing on our television screens last week because of feelings of inadequacy arising out of the dual factors of being targeted by vile Twitter trolls and being stuck in the confines of a small jungle camp with the reigning Miss Universe, Amy Willerton.

If you have been living in a hole and somehow managed to miss the story – in an episode of ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity’ last week, Rebecca Adlington repeatedly broke down in tears after admitting she is very insecure about her looks, for which she is targeted daily on Twitter and that having to look at fellow contestant and model Amy Willerton for several hours a day was exacerbating the issue. Cue mass media outrage and analysis of why someone who has achieved as much as Rebecca in her career could ever be made to feel inferior, which was fair enough and much Twitter indignation which seemed to centre around the idea that in order to support Rebecca it was necessary to slag off Amy, which it wasn’t.

What we have here is a case of two bodies with two very different functions. One of them is arranged in a way we find attractive. The other one can master incredible feats of human endurance – Just Add Water.

For the truth is we do not need to metaphorically gouge our own eyes out and deny that Amy Willerton has all the physical traits that make a person beautiful by Western standards in 2013. She very clearly does and uses that in order to earn a living, as is her prerogative. Brilliant, well done.  Rebecca’s body, on the other hand, is the result of hard graft, of something she wasn’t handed at birth and which she has gone on to do amazing things with. Which quite clearly means more, to anyone with any sense.

Battle of the bodies put to rest, we can then just watch the programme and decide which of them we like the more, based on what actually comes out of their mouths, like we are supposed to.

What’s happened is simply that we have allowed conventional beauty to get too big for its Christian Louboutin boots. We’ve secretly valued it above and beyond everything else whilst publically bitching about anyone who happens to possess it, thus validating the idea that we’re all jealous harridans and perversely increasing the value of beauty even further.

Why don’t we try turning to face the beauty culture we’ve created, acknowledging it in all its lunacy and then concluding that, in the scheme of things, it really isn’t that important? Let glamour models and Miss Universes do their thing and look nice. Now go and do your thing, whatever that might be, content in the knowledge that you are just as amazing.

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
David Cameron was openly emotional at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union before the referendum  

Remember when David Cameron almost cried over Scotland because he loved it so much?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions