Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Liz Jones -v- Gok Wan

So, it appears that once again Gok Wan has found himself in the firing line, pelted with the word-bullets which are Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones’ self-righteous wrath. One might have thought she would have found someone else to pick on by now. But no. It appears Gok has really got her goat. This is the third time Ms Jones has inflicted a column on the Daily Mail reading world which brands Gok ‘patronising’.

How to Look Good Naked: “Patronising!” says Liz.
Gok’s Fashion Road Show: “Patronising” Liz choruses once more.
And today, Gok’s comments regarding Mums on the school run are….yep, you guessed it….PATRONISING.

In case you’re reading this, Liz, just FYI – “condescending” means the same as “patronising”. You may wish to do a little word swap to introduce some variety into your writing.

I’ve done a rudimentary Google search on the whole Liz-v-Gok debacle and read as much as I could without falling asleep.

It seems that the bulk of Liz’s argument centres around the (somewhat misguided) notion that men would not be subjected to the same language and treatment as part of a TV show branded ‘light entertainment’ and that Gok’s efforts to style the nation are a thinly disguised, yet catastrophic blow to girl power. (Aw, bless. She thinks she’s being all feminist.)

I haven’t been able to find Gok’s comments on the attire of British mothers (rather suggesting that Liz Jones works really hard to find reasons to be suitably column-ready in her rage), but I should imagine they are something along the lines of : If you make the effort to look lovely, even if you’re a busy working Mum, your life will be a little more fabulous.

And he’s right. I don’t have children, granted, so to avoid finding myself being subjected to that most tedious of all arguments “but you are not a mother! You JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND!” (it’s been used on me during countless, less directly relevant debates), I shall use the example of my own mother. I cannot remember my Mum being ever being less than groomed and well-presented, despite having, in addition to myself, two boys born so close together everyone thought they were twins (my brothers are 10 months apart), working within the family business and all the usual demands which many women cite as the reason they’ve been unable to dress themselves sensibly in the morning.

And of course, I would have loved her just as much if she wore a uniform of sagging-at-the-knees leggings and an egg stained cardi. My point is, it’s obviously possible to work, bring children into the world and ultimately avoid this particular wardrobe destiny. It undoubtedly required a considerable amount of effort each day. But I believe my mother would argue that it was worth it: It was about expressing her own self-worth. People who dress to suit their shape and size are giving the message that they respect their bodies, and themselves.

Gok has taught women throughout the UK how to do that exact thing, ON A BUDGET, no less. Wearing clothes that flatter your figure puts a spring in your step, even if they cost £3.99 from Primark, or were fashioned using a sheet of glitter paper and some pritt stick.

As for Gok’s tone and manner which Ms Jones apparently finds particularly objectionable, I can only say this: Liz is obviously lucky enough never to have suffered from cripplingly low self-esteem, or to know anyone who has.

Some women’s egos have been left so utterly dented by endless pressure to aspire to an ever-changing and very narrow idea of beauty, by ‘fat talk’ within their peer groups, or by partners who make them feel worthless, they literally do need to be cajoled into a pretty frock.

A new outfit won’t magically transform you into a different person, but if you have ever seen the look on someone’s face when they’ve been given a makeover and see themselves in the mirror, you’ll know that it can easily be the catalyst someone desperately needs to set them on the path to confidence.

True confidence is about emotion, it’s about ‘feeling it’…… but isn’t it easier to ‘feel it’ when you are beautifully accessorised? When you are celebrating your individuality by showcasing your body shape? When you’re wearing a bra that actually fits?

I think it is and that is why, Gok Wan, I salute you.


  1. The entire world should salute Gok Wan. I really agree with everything you've written here. I am guilty of not always following what I believe in terms of 'I feel shit about my body therefore I shall not dress in the way which I would like to' BUT nevertheless I agree with your words. Absolutely. And the more people who begin to think this way, the happier we can all begin to feel. About our bodies and about ourselves

  2. You were right...I do love this!
    Totally agree with what you have said.
    Forever supporting Gok and the Body Gossip Team!<3

  3. The thing is; Miss Jones professes to suffer from extreme low esteem so I don't know 'why on earth' she finds Gok's tone and manner objectionable. She buys top end designer clothes and has undergone cosmetic surgery to mask her 'openly admitted' inadequacies and insecurities. I would thought she would have applauded someone like Gok!