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Rio 2016: Female TV host wears shorts, #everydaysexism ensues

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Kayleigh Dray
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It may be a sweltering 22 degrees in Rio de Janeiro, but BBC presenter Helen Skelton found herself under fire for wearing a short playsuit for the 2016 Olympics.

Skelton, who recently made the move from Blue Peter to host the BBC swimming coverage, was sat alongside Mark Foster during the televised segment.

Her male co-presenter was showing an equal amount of leg, as he had also dressed in a pair of shorts for the swimming event.

Rio 2016: Mark Foster was, just like Helen Skelton, wearing shorts for the segment

Mark Foster was, just like Helen Skelton, wearing shorts for the segment

However it was Skelton’s ensemble, not Foster’s, that whipped Olympics viewers into a frenzy on Twitter.

“Helen Skelton should not spin in the chair....can tell she's not wearing any knickers #RioOlympics2016 #helenskelton,” wrote one social media user.

Helen Skelton presents Rio 2016 Olympics

Helen Skelton's short playsuit was deemed "too distracting" by some Rio 2016 viewers

Another added: "The @BBCSport presenter @HelenSkelton needs to wear appropriate clothing to present swimming. Many ppl don't want a nightclub mini dress bbc [sic]".

Others suggested that Skelton had “forgotten her trousers” – and even went so far as to accuse her of “distracting” them from events in the pool.

Now, however, a number of viewers have taken to Twitter to defend the 33-year-old against the backlash – and point out the flaws in the misogynist argument levelled against her.

One wrote: "If you're struggling to concentrate on the sport because a woman has a pair of legs, it says more about you than her ."

Another added: "So Helen Skelton is being lynch-mobbed for wearing shorts. This reminds me of the time that male presenter was . . . oh no, wait!"

Others pointed out that Foster's ensemble was just as revealing as Skelton's - and that, as the presenters were sat just in front of a pool filled with men in swimming costumes, the entire argument was a moot point.

Others simply focused on the fact that, in sweltering heat, people should be allowed to wear whatever they need to wear to feel comfortable.

Helen Skelton has attracted a large number of loyal fans after taking part in a number of extreme charity challenges, from reaching the South Pole on a bicycle to walking a tightrope between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station.

She has yet to comment on the criticism she received over her outfit.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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