A female journalist in a dress commentating on swimsuit clad male Olympic swimmers has found herself at the center of a controversy regarding her hemline’s length.
A photo posted by Helen Skelton (@helenskelton) on Aug 6, 2016 at 9:13pm PDT
Helen Skelton, far right, in the offending frock.
BBC Sport host Helen Skelton was on a panel with fellow presenters Mark Foster and Rebecca Adlington covering Saturday night’s swimming races in Rio de Janeiro when eagle-eyed viewers took to social media to complain that the skirt on Skelton’s navy blue Zeynep Kartal dress was too short, with some claiming that they could see her underwear.
The comments ranged from pearl-clutching outrage to full-on creepy remarks from people who apparently have never seen a pair of legs on a woman before.
— Harley Quimm (@multistar) August 6, 2016
— G (@Youdontknowme83) August 6, 2016
We are all waiting for Helen Skelton to swivel that chair round just a bit more aren’t we?#Olympics2016
— Dave Cooper (@dcoops1989) August 6, 2016
Helen Skelton must be going clubbing after this with that dress on #Rio2016
— Steven Ward (@WardyPne) August 7, 2016
But there were just as many people confused as to why her skirt was a big deal in the first place as there were critics and naysayers.
1. Brazil is boiling hot
2. Helen Skelton is awesome
3. She can wear whatever the hell she likes. Grow up.
— James Maguire (@maguirenumber6) August 7, 2016
Imagine phoning up and complaining about Helen Skelton wearing a short skirt when you are literally watching people in speedos
— / (@KirbiJackson) August 7, 2016
— DiDi (@DianeBlackmore1) August 8, 2016
— Jimmy (@Jimbobarelli) August 8, 2016
Despite making the front pages of multiple newspapers, Skelton is apparently unfazed by people’s opinions on her skirt length, because after wearing a more demure dresses from Whistles on Sunday afternoon, she turned out that evening to fulfill her hosting duties in an orange dress from Edeline Lee with a hemline that was just as short as the one on her controversial navy blue number. The label shared an image of Skelton in the piece to its Instagram page, noting that the presenter was “causing a Twitter furor over her amazing legs.” As some people pointed out, Rio is hot, and considering the humidity, Skelton was likely just trying to wear something so she could be comfortable while doing her job.
Recently, Megyn Kelly faced similar Internet treatment at the Republican National Convention when she opted for an outfit with spaghetti straps. Fox News viewers expressed outrage over her exposed shoulders and seemed scandalized by the amount of skin she was showing off.
The consistently sexist commentary on women’s appearances, outfits, and exposed epidermis raises the question: Why aren’t viewers similarly offended by Michael Phelps’s small swim trunks?