Why Celebrity Big Brother’s all-female cast is anything but feminist

The 21st series of the show is supposed to celebrating women, but we call bullshit

Ok, Celebrity Big Brother, it’s fair enough that you’re trying to shake up your format for 2018 – the Big Brother offshoot’s been around since 2001 and is now on its 21st season – but suggesting you’re now the Andrea Dworkin of reality television just because you’ve kicked off the series with an all-female line-up is utter nonsense. Celebrity Big Brother: Year of The Woman has pulled this decidedly unrevolutionary move to celebrate 100 years since women got the vote in the UK – we’re sure the Pankhurst family couldn’t be happier. This, after all is what they fought for. Almost as happy as they – and Emily Davison, the suffragette who was killed by the king’s horse at Epsom in 1913 – would be to know that rooms in the house have been named in their honour.

Photo by REX/Shutterstock (9300008g). Ann Widdecombe ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ TV show, Series 21, Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, UK – 02 Jan 2018

The premise of this year’s Celeb BB is no different from any other year’s – put some show-offs with wildly differing opinions and lifestyles into a confined space, wind them up and let them at each other for the pleasure of those watching at home. Sure, former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe and glamour model Jess Impiazzi might both be women, but that doesn’t mean they have anything else in common. In fact, we can almost hear the pending arguments – especially considering Widdecombe’s hardline views on abortion and same sex marriage. Purely putting only women into the house and pretending its all been done for the sake of the sisterhood is more than disingenuous, it’s downright rude. This shameless piggybacking of last year’s Women’s March and entertainment industry reckoning is even odder when you take into consideration the fact that they’re already admitted that men will be entering the house this series – what’s the betting that the producers have decided to include a few ranting misogynists just to stir things up even further?

The show only started last night and its already been revealed that footballer John Barnes will be entering on Friday – meaning that producers thought that three days was the total maximum amount of time that an all-female show would be acceptable, despite basing their whole press campaign on it. It’s rumoured that another six men will be entering the house, joining the eight women who are already there, making it basically exactly the same as any normal Celebrity Big Brother, just with a higher inflated sense of superiority.

“But this one’s different, that’s why I agreed to do it,” said almost every contestant as they were interviewed by Emma Willis before they went into the house last night, as Willis nodded along patronisingly, agreeing that yes, yes it was very different, because this year it was all about women, because women have been able to vote for 100 years which means they should have the highest honour – a Celebrity Big Brother house that looks a bit more like a suburban spa facility, because y’know, that’s what birds like, isn’t it?