Big Brother IS a Popularity Contest Toya!

Big Brother is a guilty pleasure of mine, along with Candy Crush Saga, Sprite (the Chinese have declared it to be the definitive hang-over cure – the drink that is, not the mythical pixie like creatures), Kendal Mint Cake (although the teeth can’t take it any more) and peanut butter. That’s the good thing about being an old bird. You can be as irrational with your foibles as you like and not even worry about defending them. Were such a thing required, in my defence I will say that keeping up with the kids is very important when your kids are nearly 7 and nearly 5. Sort of.

Toya Washington, Big Brother
Big Brother’s “raging” Toya Washington.  Source:

In deference to the husband’s loathing of all reality based TV I am dutifully sitting through the World Cup and actually quite enjoying it. It may be because I don’t understand the game but it seems really slooooooow compared to rugby. All that hair gel and hamming. Those coloured trainers – my eyes! Anyway, I digress as usual.

Last night I sat somewhat stunned as Toya, 50% of this week’s “Big Brother Power Couple” and missing some 75% of her mental faculties turned into a screaming banshee of the highest premenstrual order when called a very rude word by Ash – a man who would probably check his appearance in a mirror for five minutes before leaving a burning building. Actually the ‘boy band’ gang of Ash, Marlon and Winston (bull dog by name and brain size) are rather unpleasant. The first two have bemoaned the fact that there are no ‘sluts’ in this year’s house and express viewpoints about women better suited to the 1970s. But boy did Toya go on. And on. And on.

It is undoubtedly unfair but in my experience a woman who ‘loses it’ will always be judged more harshly than a man – irrespective of whether or not she has right on her side. And the speed with which a personal (and professional) reputation can be shattered is scary. I can’t understand why Toya did not think “hang on, these people may be muppets but they all have the power to evict me at some point”. Or, “I could possibly have a short lived media career out of this if I play my cards right” but no, she screamed, she pouted, she stropped. And then, most bizarrely, whilst crying in the Diary Room, she opined that Big Brother wasn’t a ‘popularity contest’.

Now I struggle to see how anyone couldn’t understand that this is EXACTLY what the show is – although it shares a lot with gladiatorial fights in Roman amphi-theatres and the British tradition of pantomime where we all love a villain or villainess. (I suspect Harriet Harman would frown on feminising the word villain but I’ll live with it).

In fact, success in many areas in life revolves around maintaining a high level of popularity. I remember reading a study about the causes of failure of bright, high achieving workers in the corporate arena and the number one reason was having an abrasive personality. To paraphrase the late Helen Gurley Brown (who created Cosmopolitan magazine), you can’t be a selfish, snippy little turtle-bitch and succeed. Losing it in any arena is a luxury – today more than ever.

I fear Toya has signed her own exit visa after last night’s melt-down but she does not seem to have much self awareness. Seriously where do the Big Brother contestants get their almighty egos. Tamara has been sounding off about ‘showergate’ claiming ownership after one kiss which sounded like a sink plunger being prized off a bunged sink. She clearly has her eye on becoming the next Luisa – she of Apprentice fame who has moved from the bakery arena to constantly displaying her wares in a bikini.  

I think I remember reading once about something called feminism. Still, even Gloria Steinem was once a playboy bunny.  And it’s probably not worth losing my temper over……

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