Depressingly, her breasts once sparked a whopping 663 calls, emails and other messages to OFCOM as the public descended into absolute panic over an “inappropriate” dress
There’s no point denying it: television has dominated the headlines (and our lives) over the past few years. In the last few months alone, we’ve seen tantalising teasers for the new Black Mirror, and a lot of secrets about Killing Eve’s second season, too. We’ve had Samira Wiley drop some loaded hints about the new series of The Handmaid’s Tale, a handful of exciting snaps from Mindy Kaling’s Four Weddings & A Funeral reboot, and plenty of gossip about Big Little Lies 2. We’ve even had James Corden and Ruth Jones FINALLY confirm that they’re bringing Gavin & Stacey back to our screens for Christmas.
Throw in the fact that everybody lost their minds over that Fleabag jumpsuit, and that Twitter was swamped with responses to the Game of Thrones finale, and it’s clear that TV remains a huge influence on our lives.
However, TV doesn’t necessarily always make news for the right reasons. And it’s something which Britain’s Got Talent presenter Amanda Holden is all too aware of.
A few years back, Holden – or, more pertinently, Holden’s breasts – became the ‘most shocking’ (read: the most complained about) moment of 2017.
First, some context: in that same year, we saw Piers Morgan spark fury with his cavalier and dangerous approach to mental health. And his sexist comments about Meghan Markle. And his ageist twaddle about Janet Jackson. And… well, and everything else he’s ever said.
Elsewhere, La La Land was incorrectly announced as Best Picture winner over Moonlight at the 2017 Oscars, The Great British Bake Off almost sparked an Ofcom investigation when presenter Noel Fielding was unexpectedly shut up inside a fridge, Mary Berry horrified the nation with her controversial twist on the classic Bolognese, and Love Island came under fire for its smoking policies.
However, the most complained-about TV moment of 2017 was ludicrous in its blatant misogyny, honing in on a dress Holden wore for Britain’s Got Talent.
Are you ready to clutch your pearls and lose your minds, folks? Well, here’s the dress in question:
Yup. Somehow, this Julien Macdonald-designed dress, which cost £11,250 sparked a whopping 663 calls, emails and other messages to OFCOM as the public descended into absolute panic over the “inappropriate” gown.
Why? Because the neckline plunged down to Holden’s belly button, and the concept of the female form is far too much for some people to handle.
It was the same old story: the public wanted her to cover up, to put a cardi on, to protect the innocent children from an onslaught of bare skin and mammary glands.
And now, in a new interview, Holden has hit back at her critics.
Speaking to The Sun, Holden quipped: “My tits seem to become the show’s biggest talking point every year.
“We’ve had plenty of complaints apparently, but none from home, let me tell you.”
Holden went on to say that, in response to the uproar, she has taken to wearing ‘nipple covers’ on the show.
“When I wore the spider’s web dress this week I actually wore a nipple cover, and for me that was a first,” she said.
“I was thinking that it’s a family show and people talk about my boobs every year, so I thought I would wear a nipple cover… I get home and take them off, and you know those toys that you throw on to the wall and they stick then slide off?
“[My children] throw them at the kitchen cabinets and play games with my nipple covers. We have lovely games.”
While Holden made light of the situation, there’s no denying that these incessant complaints about a woman’s body underline a big problem within our society.
Let’s put this into perspective, shall we? In 2017, Holden’s low-cut dress was deemed more inappropriate and more complaint-worthy than all of the following:
- Comic Relief 2017, which attracted 240 official complaints after Russell Brand used the phrase “f**king hell” before the watershed.
- An episode of Emmerdale, which saw 275 people complain after a character was seen being violently abused in a jail cell.
- Good Morning Britain, which received over 181 complaints after they aired a live interview with Tommy Robinson – and, essentially, offered a platform on daytime television to a far-right political activist and former leader of the controversial English Defence League.
- 137 complaints were lodged after Sherri Hewson’s character on ITV’s Benidorm described a man with a cleft lip as having “a voice like a 13-year-old girl and a face like a dropped pie”.
So, essentially, that’s inappropriate language, violent scenes, derogatory references about people with facial malformation, and irresponsible publicity for a contentious jackweed from the EDL.
And, yes, all of the above were deemed to be less inflammatory than a woman wearing a dress.
Frustratingly, it’s of course not the first time that a woman has sparked ire over her wardrobe choices – and we doubt she’ll be the last.
In the same year, Delta Goodrem was widely criticised for wearing a V-neck dress on The Voice, and Brie Larson – aka Captain Marvel herself – infuriated viewers of The One Show when she wore a low-cut top. Elsewhere, Serena Williams raised eyebrows when she donned a fierce Black Panther catsuit at the French Open. And Meghan Markle (as in, yes, the Duchess of Sussex herself) was slammed for wearing a bra. Also, tights. Also, a one-shoulder dress. Also, pretty much anything she wears ever.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has reportedly urged female staffers to “dress like a woman” – an incredibly sexist statement that sparked outcry on Twitter. And, as ever, men continue to go unscathed: remember when everyone tore into David Beckham for stripping down to his underwear? Of course you don’t: everybody thought that it was the perfect way to celebrate the male form.
Short of donning the shapeless, anonymous red robes worn by Elisabeth Moss’ Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale (it ain’t happening, guys), it seems as if misogynists everywhere will never be happy by what women choose to clothe their bodies in. So all we can do is rise above the noise and the ridiculous OFCOM complaints and continue to dress up however the bloody hell we want to.
Got a problem with that? You’re entitled to your own opinion, obviously, and we welcome any and all complaints. If you’d like to make one formally, then please do take your perpetual outrage, write it down, stick it in an envelope and shove it deep into the bodily orifice of your choosing.