Caroline Flack hasn’t had it easy by anyone’s standards since she stepped out with ex-boyfriend Harry Styles last year. Admittedly, the age gap between them was hard to miss (Caroline was 32 when she began dating the 18-year-old One Direction singer), and it sparked a lot of debate. But when did it become OK to vilify a woman over who she’s dating? Answer: err, it didn’t.
One sorry writer who appears to have forgotten this can be found at ‘One Direction and Friends’. The fanzine, which this week published a page wittily entitled ‘Go Away’, depicted Caroline – who split from Harry in January this year – as a voodoo doll with pins (attached to grotesque insults) sticking into her body. The vile piece tears Caroline apart, even commenting ‘Note: zero engagement rings. Because no one wants to be with her.’ We’re not going to publish the rest of the comments because they’re so downright horrible.
Not only is this innately and entirely sexist (how many men dating younger women do you see receiving the same treatment? Yep, thought so), it’s also encouraging sexism to prosper in the next generation – girls and boys as young as seven or eight who might well read this rubbish – as well as emphasising that it’s acceptable for women to be judged exclusively on their looks.
And, embarrassingly, it seems that they’ve forgotten that Caroline wasn’t the only one willingly involved in the relationship. Awkward.
Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, told The Guardian: "It is hugely irresponsible to print things like this in a magazine which is aimed at young women who are extremely vulnerable to the influence of the media.
"It reinforces hugely damaging gender stereotypes and the idea that it is socially acceptable for women to be judged purely on the basis of their looks, that it is absolutely disgusting if you dare to have a wrinkle.
"It also reinforces the idea that women should prioritise men and boys above all else and particularly their relationships with each other and their own self-esteem."
But plucky Caroline hit back at the magazine yesterday, saying that the feature was ‘one of the most hurtful things’ she’s ever read, but says she’s been overwhelmed by the support she’s received from fans. "Ive never had so many nice messages in one afternoon!!! Me and my crows feet are thankful. X" [sic], she tweeted yesterday.
And it comes in the same week that Cara Delevingne was targeted by Harry fans on Twitter, after it was rumoured that the pair were dating. Not. Impressive.
We’re behind you both, ladies. But what do you think? Let us know below!