A Fashion Blog By Gemma Talbot

Friday, 21 February 2020

In A World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind.

If you have read the news or been on social media recently, then you will know exactly what the title of this blog post refers to. I’ve never been hit by a celebrities death as much as that of Caroline Flack. I don’t know if it was because I frequently saw her on the T.V, or that she seemed to have such a fun, positive, loving energy. Or was it that I actually felt incredibly sorry for her, that she was constantly hounded by the press, hung out to dry, always branded as “unlucky in love” and constantly scrutinised. The Mail on Sunday’s headline read “Shock and grief for Caroline Flack, the troubled romantic who never did find love”. Like seriously?

As women, I often wonder if we are just victims of ingrained misogyny? If you don’t have a boyfriend and aren’t married with kids by the time you are 40, why the hell is this branded as “unlucky in love”?! Women shouldn’t be picked apart by what society deems the “traditional” way of doing things. A woman’s worth should certainly not be defined by a man or her ability to “hold a man down”. It’s 2020 for gods sake, and it seems like people are stuck in such a backwards way of thinking. 

The way I see it, Caroline Flack was a strong and independent woman who had succeeded in an industry that let’s face it is a fickle one at that. Despite being largely dominated by men and extremely competitive, she still managed to build an amazing career for herself. The press should be praising her, the way they do men. Oh but they don’t, funny that. Rather, tearing her down and focusing on her previous “failed” relationships with men. Original. I am going to play devil’s advocate here and whilst there have been opinions voiced that Love Island should be axed (we’ll get onto that shortly), I do feel that Caroline could have had more support from ITV. 

When Ant McPartlin, from the famous duo you may know as Ant & Dec was arrested and fined for drink driving and crashing into two cars. Not only was he supported by his co-host Dec, but also ITV who bring to your screens Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. They were both loved by the public as much as Caroline Flack who has co-hosted The X-Factor and also the show we all tune into every summer, Love Island. So, why was she axed from presenting the show? I read that after it was written of allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, a petition was signed to drop her from the show. Without sounding like a complete and utter feminist here, I just can’t help but think because she was a woman she received unfair treatment. Especially, when her boyfriend wasn’t going to proceed with assault charges. What was all this for? If she was struggling with her mental health, I can’t imagine being asked to step down from Love Island would have helped. On top of this, not being able to have any contact with your boyfriend until a pending court case is over. Then there are the Valentine’s day cards that are made to mock you with your face and then the words ‘I’ll f***ing lamp you’. I can’t believe what this poor woman had to endure. 

It is very clear here that the line was overstepped, the press and trolls went too far this time and I really hope that this is an eye opener to everyone that change needs to happen. How much more blood needs to be on their hands to know that enough, is enough. Whilst I do not personally feel Love Island as a show is to blame for her death, there’s no denying it breeds a lot of negativity, particularly with it gaining so much exposure. This is apparent by how many Instagram followers the contestants gain which also seems to come with death threats. Like what the actual f**k. I think what ITV are guilty of is not providing contestants with adequate support after the show, especially where mental health is concerned. I don’t think anything can prepare you for death threats and vicious, hurtful daily comments that come as a result of being on a game show. We only have to look at the death of Mike (branded as “Muggy Mike” from Love Island) and Sophie who both took their own lives, like Caroline did. Do I think the show should be cancelled as a result of her death? I’m unsure. I think it was definitely a trigger but after hearing Laura Whitmore’s very heartfelt tribute she vocalised that “Caroline loved to love”. I don’t think that is what she would have wanted at all if I’m honest. I haven’t necessarily boycotted the show, but I actually haven’t watched it once since I found out of Caroline’s death on Saturday night. I am sure ratings have dropped significantly too. 

It blows my mind that mental health still isn’t spoken about as much as it should be. It is still very much a taboo subject and those barriers really need to be broken when talking about mental health so effective change can happen. People should not feel isolated or afraid to talk about their mental health. The more feeling and emotions are bottled up, the worse they will become. Let me ask you this. How many people do you know who are close to you that suffer from mental health? Off the top of my head, I know three ranging from anxiety to depression. How would you feel if someone you love was being ripped apart daily and things were being posted for potentially millions of people to see, that were completely untrue? I know I would be feeling a real mix of emotions. I would be angry, hurt and quite frankly would want to rip the tongues out of anyone saying this about my friends and family. Imagine if your sister, best friend, girlfriend or boyfriend saw no other way than suicide to put a permanent end to temporary pain because of constant hounding from the press and online bullies? I can’t imagine it and when I think of it like that, it makes me realise what a sad, disgusting world we truly live in. 

I am writing this post with a lot of passion because as an influencer, I have seen trolling first hand. Youtube is the worst for it. It’s a cold world out there. I’ve even experienced it on a mild case myself. It’s not nice, it makes you feel sad, you want to cry, you feel lonely and as though the whole world are against you. I always say that I want to use my platforms in a positive way. Whilst I may not be able to get through to everyone, if I can make a small minority of people think before they say something, I have gone about doing what I set out to achieve. If you have something nasty to say, think before you speak. If you feel that compelled to say it or shall I say post it online, firstly you need to take a look at yourself. If you still feel the need to say it, tell a friend. Can you really look at your reflection in the mirror and not see shame? Don’t say it to the person, I am telling you that they definitely do not want to hear it. That is a fact. If you know of a friend who may be suffering, check in on them. Send them a message asking how they are. Offer to listen. Don’t judge and please don’t make them feel isolated or lonely. Be patient and do everything in your power to make them not feel like a burden. 

In a world where you can be anything, be kind. This was a caption posted on Caroline Flack’s Instagram weeks before she took her own life. This highlights that people suffering with their mental health from anxiety to depression, don’t need to hear nasty comments. Be kind, always. Kindness doesn’t cost a thing but goes such a long way. Whilst we are not entirely sure what was going on in the background, I am sure if people were kinder Caroline may still be here. A few brands have since shown their support for the cause, to raise money for the various charities that support victims of mental health and suicide. If you can spare a little bit of money, I urge you to do so. It is after all, such a great cause. 

In The Style have launched a t-shirt printed with the words “In a world where you can be anything, be kind” which retails for £10 and 100% of the profits from the sale of this t-shirt will go to the Samaritans Charity. You can get yours here

For more information on the amazing work they do, or if you are looking for any support, please click https://www.samaritans.org/ or call them directly on 116 123. Over £300,000 has now been raised by In The Style for The Samaritans which is amazing. I’m definitely getting mine to support the #BeKind cause. 

Pretty Little Thing have recently launched another collection with Molly Mae and 100% of the profits will be donated to Mind Charity. You can see the full collection here
Every 90 minutes in the UK, a life is lost to suicide. It is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 and men are three times more likely to take their own life than women. Since the death of Caroline Flack, over 700,000 signatures have been signed on the online petition named “Caroline’s Law” which calls for a new law to prevent the media from bullying individuals, like that of Caroline. Finally, people are seeing that immediate change needs to happen. I think change is so necessary and needs to happen to protect victims who fall under massive scrutiny and who are ultimately bullied. My only concern is how is this going to happen. 

I really hope that Caroline Flack’s death is a lesson to everyone to think before you speak. She was clearly very loved not only by the nation but by everyone that knew her. If you ever feel like saying something nasty or unkind, think if the same thing was being said to your own family member or someone you love. Maybe it will make you think twice. Just some food for thought.



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