Stars weigh in on Poldark objectification debate following shirtless pic
Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman has added her voice to a debate about whether admiring a man for his appearance is a double standard.
A newly released photograph of Aidan Turner going shirtless for the new series of Poldark appeared on the front pages of several national newspapers as promotion ramped up for the show, and it was a widely discussed topic on social media.
A discussion was sparked as many questioned if it is fair to sensationalise a male body if women find it offensive when the tables are turned.
Newman tweeted a picture of a pile of newspapers featuring Turner’s bare torso, and wrote: “If we women object to being ogled, how is this any different? Objectification too? #Poldark.”
Feminist activist and journalist Caroline Criado Perez responded: “It’s not a double standard because no one is saying men can’t find women attractive.
“We’re just saying allow us to be more than our tits and ass. This is a really unhelpful and misleading framing.”
Newman replied: “But is Aidan Turner being allowed to be more than his bare-chested romping? I’m asking the question – I’m not sure what I think… yet…”
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan waded into the discussion with a seemingly sarcastic retort.
He tweeted: “‘I’m absolutely outraged, disgusted & offended by this sexual objectification of Poldark’ – said no man ever.”
The topic was also discussed on ITV’s Loose Women.
Panellist Kaye Adams said: “We’ve always appreciated the human form, you go back to the ancient Greeks and the Romans, since civilisation began we have always appreciated the human form.
“I think what we should worry about is an abuse of power, and exploitation.
“I look at Aidan Turner and think he’s a very beautiful man. I don’t want to abuse him in any way, I don’t want to exploit him in any way, I don’t think he’s reduced to that particular thing, I think there are a lot of facets to his character, and I think it’s really important we don’t mix them up.”
Her co-host Andrea McLean said: “Do you think the reason it’s almost seen as all right for women to say ‘isn’t he lovely?’ is because we’re more used to it being the other way around, and women being viewed purely because of looks and being objectified?”
Panellist Ayda Field said: “I don’t know if it’s a double standard, if it’s wrong or right, but it felt like at least the scale is tipping a little bit more in a balanced direction.”
Nadia Sawalha added that people “love to look at beautiful things” and “we mustn’t be scared of that”.
The debate comes days after journalist and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup commented on the “double standard” of women being allowed to comment on a man’s body when a man would not be allowed to do the same without reproach.
She admitted the opening scene of the new series – in which Turner appears shirtless – is the main cause for her excitement at the programme’s return.
“I know I’m lucky to have the freedom to express myself in such a way,” she wrote in Radio Times magazine.
“As a woman, I can own a comment like that without too much fear of censure.”
She added that “we live in confusing times” and she is “the first to admit to double standards”.
Poldark returns to BBC One on Sunday June 10 at 9pm.