Last week like millions of others around the UK I watched some grown men in the jungle having a gossip about another man. They clearly weren’t too keen on this guy and didn’t feel they connected with him. They were acting a bit childishly and made this guy feel a bit left out of their gang. One of them even made the said isolated man feel a bit small when he suggested he wasn’t manly enough to take up a challenge. It was quite awkward to watch and slightly cringeworthy.
But was this bullying?
Well, given that I’m a Celebrity is an edited show and that this year the people they chose were actually all really nice and got along it’s a difficult one to call. The biggest drama of the series was ‘strawberry gate’ - not exactly a game changer. The producers of this show needed something to happen so when they saw three starving men having a moan about another camp mate who wasn’t really like them, they jumped on it.
And what a news story it’s been. It’s been tweeted, reported and debated over the past week in countless publications and social media. People were raging about it on Twitter and felt really hurt by the victim’s (Iain) treatment at the hands of those evil villains - Amir, Jamie and Dennis.
Stepping back and looking at this whole series of events I think it’s difficult to call this situation bullying and taint the other contestants as ‘the bullies’. Whilst it was clear that their conversations and attitudes at times were unpleasant they were in a kind of Lord of the Flies style situation. Hungry, tired, bored, grimy, irritable are all words that could be attributed to spending a couple of weeks holed up in the jungle. It isn’t a normal situation and I’m pretty sure that all of them felt the strain of being away from their families with a group of strangers and under constant watch.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel sorry for these ‘celebrities’ but I do think that what we saw was the reality of human nature under strain in action rather than outright, premeditated bullying. It’s easy for us to judge from the warmth of our homes and cast aspersions on these individuals but it’s fair to say that we all have the potential in us to act like the boys did. Under pressure and starving hungry can we honestly say that we wouldn’t feel unreasonably irritated by other people. The way they got together as a little pack was uncomfortable to see but we need to remember it’s not a reflection of who they are. None of us can say we wouldn’t do the same in an experimental and extraordinary situation such as this.
I’m glad that Toff won. She was a great example of strength and resilience. Even if she felt frustrated she showed the mental ability to deal with that herself and had a security in her own character that meant she didn’t need to offload those feelings on others. She lived for the moment and didn’t allow the petty squabbles of others to influence her. The way she reacted when she found out showed what a genuinely lovely young person she is and it’s great that the British public didn’t judge her for her class or her TV persona. They simply chose her for her.