Are we too hung up on body image? What do you think?
- Credit: PA
Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington has hit the headlines over speculation that she has had a nose job. The furore has reopened a debate about the battles with body image suffered by women in the public eye and how sportswomen in particular are represented in the media.
British swimmer Rebecca Adlington was just 19 when comedian Frankie Boyle said on BBC's Mock the Week that she resembled 'someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a spoon'. He followed this up by saying she had a 'dolphin's face' ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.
He wasn't the only one to criticise her looks and the toll clearly showed when Adlington broke down on national television because of insecurities about her body image during I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here.
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Sadly Adlington isn't the only sportswoman to be 'trolled' for her appearance. Just last month a Twitter Q&A with Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, hosted by Sky Sports News, shone a light on the vile abuse hurled at sportswomen on social media.
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While Twitter and its counterparts have opened the door for individuals to publicly pick over the appearance of celebrities, traditional media and sporting bodies also have to be held to account for the way in which they present women in sport.
Remember in 2011 when no women made it onto the shortlist for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year and it turned out two of the nominating editors were from lads' mags Nuts and Zoo?
Or when Fifa decided that it would be a good idea to choose a Brazilian model wearing a skin-tight gold dress with a plunging neckline to conduct the World Cup draw? And what does that say about the role that women have in football?
'I just want to be the best version of myself,' Adlington told one interviewer, adding that she would never have surgery for other people, and if she ever went ahead she would be doing it for herself.
The pressure on women to look good, even those not in the public eye, means many of us can understand why Adlington may have felt the need to alter her looks, but it doesn't stop women from lamenting that it should be so.
What do you think? Is there too much pressure on women to look a certain way? Write, giving full contact details, to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk