There’s Nothing ‘Empowering’ Or ‘Feminist’ About The All-Female CBB Line Up

Sticking a bunch of women in a room together and waiting to see who has an argument first isn't feminism...

Celebrity Big Brother Contestants

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Ahh Celebrity Big Brother, the pinnacle of ethical entertainment. Former years haven’t produced the most wholesome of viewing, but who wants wholesome reality TV shows anyway? This year, producers have taken their schemes for TV gold to a whole new level. At the expense of all that is feminist, of course.

Hailing the all-female line-up as a movement for GIRL POWER (can we stop staying girl power already?), the show has put itself straight on all of our radars- which was exactly the plan. Let’s get this straight, having an all-female line up was never about female empowerment. It was a carefully concocted plan by a team of people whose sole purpose as producers of the show is to ensure contestants are pushed to breaking point for our entertainment. Big Brother has a controversial past of bullying, racism and unethical treatment to ensure contestants act out and give us something to watch. It’s a modern-day Hunger Games, less the killing (and if you aren’t as cynical as me, watch UnReal, you’ll soon be skeptical of anyone who wants to work in reality TV…).

The entire range of contestants has been slated on Twitter for not being famous enough, but who needs fame when the entire point is to generate as many televised female cat fights as possible? Because, let's face it, that's what this is all about. Rachel Johnson already kicked off proceedings with some pre-show snark about former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe (although she later professed to be thrilled to see her when she entered the house) - and that's exactly what the producers are counting on.

There’s nothing wrong with putting in a bunch of outspoken women (as Johnson and Widdecombe are) with different views to create debate and drama, but don’t bloody hail it as female empowerment when it feels more like a calculated move to show women being 'argumentative' and 'bitchy.'

Coupled by the fact that they’re now also including men into the show (former footballer John Barnes is the first to be announced) - presumably to be introduced at a strategic moment when the producers feel like the estrogen levels are quite high enough, thank you, it’s quite clear there is an agenda here, and it’s not a feminist one. (I can imagine the production meeting now…’Ooo and then we can throw some men in there and the women will all go WILD’)

That’s the most worrying outcome of the show, albeit not that worrying since it’s literally CBB and probably won’t actually affect any of our lives that much - that all the show will do is cement the stereotype that a group of women on there own together can’t possibly get along. Because that's exactly the intention - that's the point of the show.

And then there's what's going on outside the house - namely on Twitter. Big Brother meme queen Nikki Graeme kicked if off last night when she implied Ashley James must’ve shagged a producer to get on the show.

Katie Hopkins has of course piped up spouting transphobic crap about India Willhouby.

And let's not forget the lack of diversity in the house - which Twitter users were quick to point out. In a series claiming to host strong, successful women, there is only ONE woman of colour. Considering there are TONNES of empowering women from diverse backgrounds to choose from, it’s not just an oversight by producers, it’s an outrage.

Then there’s the fact that the show is hooked on the centennial anniversary of women receiving the right to vote in the UK, completely ignoring the fact only women over 30 meeting certain qualifications could vote. All women received the vote in equal line with men in 1928… just sayin’.

We know, we know, there might more important issues affecting women right now than the current CBB line up. But the show has scope, it’s in the headlines and it’s all over our feeds. Running an all-female line up in honour of universal suffrage sounds like it could be a great thing. But when that comes from a show whose stock-in-trade is all about creating discord and divisions amongst its contestants, then this year's Celebrity Big Brother feels about as far away from feminism as you can get.

MORE: Your NTK On The Celebrity Big Brother Line Up...


Debrief Celebrity Big Brother Contestants 2018

Celebrity Big Brother Contestants 20181 of 8

Ann Widdecombe

The controversial former Tory politician is set to divide the all-female house with her outspoken views opposing abortion, same-sex marriage and dubbing feminism as a "big whinge".

Celebrity Big Brother Contestants 20182 of 8

Amanda Barrie

Coronation Street legend Amanda is 82 years old and revealed that if she had told Corrie bosses about her bisexuality when she was first playing Alma Sedgwick, she would have been sacked.

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Ashley James

This TV presenter, model and DJ launched egaliTEE, a slogan t-shirt range about female empowerment. She also supposedly dated David Walliams back in 2015…

Celebrity Big Brother Contestants 20184 of 8

Jess Impiazzi

Fun fact about Ex On The Beach star Jess? She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity and had a super random fling with Charlie Sheen back in 2016.

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India Willoughby

Britains first transgender newsreader has revealed she spent five years 'flip-flopping between' genders going to work as a woman but returning to her family as a man. She hopes to resolve the family feud her transition caused on the show.

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Rachel Johnson

Journalist and author, Rachel was the first female graduate trainer at the Financial Times. Writing for numerous outlets, she became editor of the Lady magazine in 2009 and picked up the Literary Review's Bad Sex award in 2008.

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Malika Haqq

Khloe Kardashian's BFF is the only person of colour on the show. Known for her appearances on KUWTK and Dash Dolls, she also previously dated Ronnie from Jersey Shore on a US reality show called Famously Single… weirdest love match ever??

Celebrity Big Brother Contestants 20188 of 8

Maggie Oliver

Former Detective Constable for the Great Manchester Police, Maggie is best known for exposing the Rochdale child sex grooming scandal. After an amazing career of 16 years, she quit to expose the wrongdoings of senior officers within the force.

Something we should actually be mad about? The contraceptive pill...

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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