Before this week, many of us vaguely knew of Helen Skelton. She was the typically bubbly Blue Peter presenter who we thought was crazy that time she kayaked down the Amazon for Sport Relief. Then she wore a dress. As the face of the BBC's swimming coverage at the Rio Olympics, Skelton has caused "chaos" with her clothes. The dress she wore at the weekend was navy blue. It was perfectly nice – kind of fashionable but also weather appropriate considering she was presenting beside a swimming pool in Brazil. But not everyone thought the same. Many viewers were outraged by her clothing choice, saying she should be "ashamed" because "children and families were watching".
God forbid people might glance at a woman's legs, especially when there are near-naked men competing just metres away and a man wearing shorts – baring a similar amount of leg, might we add – right next to her.
But obviously no one cared what the men were wearing. Others considered Skelton's dress "naughty" and seemed weirdly aroused by the piece of fabric. The Daily Mail claimed it left viewers "hot under the collar", and Skelton even made the front pages of both the Mail and the Daily Express on Monday morning.
Today, news broke that she also owns a BRA, which caused even more "chaos". The Daily Express said her semi-sheer "sexy playsuit" showed off her "toned pins". The same pins which just days ago caused national outrage.
Why do female TV presenters' clothes cause such an outcry? The Daily Mail is always ranting on about Susanna Reid her "low-cut" or "thigh skimming" dress. Holly Willoughby can't even wear a black long-sleeved top without it being commented on. And when they wear brown over-the-knee dresses (!) they're still deemed "sexy". Even when they wear glasses – to help them see what they're saying to the camera, i.e. do their job – they're a "sexy secretary". In a world where we campaign for ordinary people to be able to bare their breasts on social media, through campaigns such as #freethenipple, and we are outraged when women's right to breastfeed in public is questioned, why can't presenters do whatever they want with their bodies, too? Perhaps the answer lies in the way the tabloids treat them. Personally, I think it's refreshing to see a TV presenter like Skelton wearing something she's comfortable in, looking more relaxed and like she's actually having fun – as anyone working in Brazil would be. Her decision to shun the 'power dresses' we're so used to makes her a thoroughly modern personality on TV. Not to mention the #OOTDs she's been posting on Instagram.
Now that Skelton has apparently hired Cara Delevingne’s stylist, we wait with baited breath to see what she wears next. We just hope it's something she wants to wear – not something the trolls and tabloid journalists would prefer.