The people who brought you Katie Hopkins show My Fat Story have outdone themselves with their latest show “Too Ugly For Love?” a show about… well let me directly quote the TV channel for you.
“For most people looking for love can be daunting. But for singles with a secret physical affliction the search to find ‘the one’ can seem almost impossible.
This series follows 10 unique singletons,ordinary people living with extraordinary medical conditions, on their quest to find love. All these conditions can be kept secret during a date,and with that comes a whole world of dilemmas. From alopecia, missing limbs and colostomy bags to medical anomalies such as hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating) and pyoderma gangrenosum (a rare form of skin ulcers), the singletons are agonising over the problems that these conditions are causing in their love lives.
How can you find love when you are hiding your true self? Where do you find the confidence to play the field? When should you reveal the truth to someone that you really like? And how will they react?
The longer you leave the truth, the harder it can be to come clean and the more dramatic the revelation. Follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”
There are so many things wrong with this that I barely know where to start! So let’s begin with the title.
Too Ugly For Love? When I saw this yesterday and spluttered and swore profusely all over Facebook and twitter about it, a few people responded saying ‘Ahhh but see the question mark? They aren’t calling them ugly, they are just questioning it!’ Ohhhhh that’s ok then!! They are just asking whether the audience thinks these people are too ugly…
As I read the the biographies of the people on the show (all of whom I have no doubt are lovely, genuine people who I have NO beef with at all) I was just appalled. There is a lady with alopecia, two gents with amputated limbs, two with ostomy bags (the biog of the show calls them colostomies but as we know, the media refuse to accept the existence of ileostomies and so who knows which they are!), a woman with keloid scarring, one with a disease that causes excessive sweating and a woman who was burnt badly. As you read through that list, is there any part of you that would question their beauty based on their circumstances?
The title of the show is just to grab headlines, and I am not that surprised coming from a company who works with a woman who feeds off negative publicity like a grotesque leech, but I am so offended by it.
My blog is all about celebrating our inner awesomeness, about loving our amazing bodies whatever they look like and however poorly, wounded or damaged they have become. It is about trying to show my audience that my scars, my ileostomy bag, my illness never defined me, I have openly written about my journey and how I learnt not only to accept the changes I went through, but to embrace and love my brave, heroic body that keeps going despite illness and surgery.
The idea of a show that labels people with an ostomy ‘too ugly’ is just heartbreaking. We all have that horrid little voice in our heads, you know the one that tells you that you’re too ugly, too fat, too stupid, too (insert shit feeling here)… Seeing a TV show like this just makes me feel like everyone thinks that about me too. The idea that it is a question makes me think “Do people think I am too ugly for love??”
As someone who had an ileostomy bag and now has a lot of scarring including large keloid scars, I hit two of their categories. A little voice inside me thought ‘Blimey, am I doubly ugly?’
And that is when the anger struck… I am a confident woman who does this for a living, I write about body confidence, self esteem and chronic illness and so I KNOW there are so many people out there who feel crap about themselves because of illness, scarring, surgery and more. I am so furious that there will be people out there now questioning YET AGAIN (because believe me, we do it ALL THE TIME) how people judge them.
I haven’t watched the show and I won’t be. I know some people will argue that I shouldn’t judge a show that I haven’t seen. But really, I can’t bring myself to watch it, I know for a fact that when they were asking people to apply they didn’t say “Do you want to be on a show called Too Ugly For Love?” It just feels like a way to point at the people different to you, it is that sympathy porn of The Undateables, making struggling people easy fodder for the masses and it doesn’t sit well with me.
This line in the TV show’s bumpf gets me straight away…
“follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”
I understand the feeling of wanting to hide your illness/disability away, but that is a negative thing. To hide something means to be ashamed of it and not want the world to see. Surely we should be helping others to learnt to accept the thing they want to hide, as a society shouldn’t we be saying ‘we are all different and that is a wonderful thing’ not watching people adopting strategies to hide their conditions!
And so I wanted to write about it, I have had so many messages on Facebook, twitter, instagram and email from people who are just disgusted by TLC UK. I hope TLC will take on board the comments from people all over the UK who they have upset and offended by the title of this show.
And my message to anyone reading this who is less than perfect (that would be all of you!) is this…
We are all so different, some of us slim, some muscly, some obese, some carrying a few extra pounds. There are those of us who have had surgeries that alter us in some way, who take medication that changes the way we look, there are those of us in wheelchairs, with ostomy bags, with scars. Some of us have very visible diseases and illnesses and some have ones that are entirely invisible but make our heads and hearts hurt with the struggle…
Beauty is not perfection. Ugly is not imperfection.
Our bodies are the only ones we have and they are with us for life, we need to learn to accept, love and celebrate the body we are in, no matter how poorly or broken it is. I always think of my scars as the hieroglyphs of my journey, they don’t show weakness, they show what I battled through and that I came through the other side a lot stronger, wiser and filled with so much more empathy and kindness for others.
If you are surrounding yourself with people who question your physical appearance, or there are people in your life who believe you are ugly, it is not yourself you need to change, it is the people around you.
Nice, kind, good people won’t judge you for your difference. Your true friends will love you for being you, your physical appearance means fuck all to the right people.
The person you want to fall in love with is out there, and they don’t care about whether your body is perfect, they care about whether your heart is true, your laughter genuine, your nature kind and your soul happy. If you have to hide away who you really are, they aren’t the one.
We are all amazing beings and we need to learn to celebrate and love one another not point fingers and question their perfection.
If you are looking for perfection, you will have a long wait. Every one of us has so many delicious imperfections that make us the person we are.
Fuck perfection. Let’s celebrate the best parts of us and know that we are all a little broken.
I would LOVE to hear your opinion on all this, please leave comments.
Peace and Love