Jodie Marsh should be hailed as a role model, not subjected to vile bullying

Given the amount of work she put in it obviously wasn’t an overnight transformation, but earlier in the week Jodie Marsh, er, muscled her way back into the spotlight with some aplomb.

In an age when the likes of Marsh have been harangued by being celebrity with no discernable talents, you might have thought that the former Page 3 stunnah would be warmly congratulated for the huge amount of effort – and yes, talent – that had gone into re-sculpting her amazingly toned physique.

After all, what hours she must have spent! I go to the gym three of four times a week and my upper body still looks like a large lump of dough that’s been rolled around a hairdresser’s floor. Having a dedicated trainer would help, but as those who have tried to stick to a fitness regime will know, a steely resolve is required to make any sort of change, so Marsh must possess a fearsome level of dedication.

But for those sneering hypocrites who saw their chance to snap into gear, the paltry effort of providing a pat on the back was evidently too much. 

Instead they thought it fine to mock Marsh for her changed appearance, for the amount of fake bake she was sporting – even though that’s just the required look for bodybuilding to display definition, in the same vein (but more necessary) as the sort of silly costumes worn on Strictly Come Dancing. Plenty of hours seemed to be devoted to leering at close-up images like they were car-crash pornography. (And not the sort that would feature in a J.G. Ballard novel.)

Sterling efforts have been made in this country to “stamp out bullying” (however ironic that phrase may be), but evidently this is all forgotten once somebody pops up not looking like any of the accepted norms. Gok Wan and his phalanx are ready to pounce whenever actresses are pilloried for being overweight, but when someone such as Jodie sports superb muscular definition she’s mocked by those who’d usually be outraged at someone’s appearance being publicly pilloried.

Though these high and mighty buffoons won’t realize it, they’re helping reverse any advances feminism has made recently. In the eyes of the media Jodie is still that same skank who was a mainstay of lad’s mags, and whatever else it is she does, she’s still going to be judged for her past behaviour. Perceptions are too dumbly polarised to stand any chance of nuances working their way into the equation.

She may as well have had a scarlet letter branded on to her chest, as a women no longer considered virtuous enough to be afforded any respect. Would it have been the same reaction if James Corden was suddenly showing off his chiseled abs at a male bodybuilding contest? Of course not.

If we’re really supposed to be eradicating bullying, then a decent way to fight the good fight is not to gather online and laugh at someone who looks different from what you think rational to aspire towards, not least because it’s completely pathetic – oh, and only a infinitesimal step away from many types of -isms that are far more sinister. Coming from a land where men proudly wear skirts you think that we might be a bit more mature in this area, but seemingly not.

Jodie should be celebrated. She’ll have had enough occasions when her self-confidence has taken a bashing, but this time instead of lying down she’s taken the steps towards doing something positive. (Rather than, say, sniping on Twitter about strangers.)

Indeed, what better role model for young girls? The idea might sound a bit absurd at first, but rather her highly eventful journey than some highly fortunate gold-paved path to success. Jodie shows that you can make a bucketload of mistakes and still come good in the end; if you’ve done something wrong they hey, don’t get too down about it, there shall be brighter times ahead. To think of the now-transformed celebrity in that sort of manner a few years ago would have been utterly absurd, so that the possibility can even be mooted nowadays is in itself marvelous. Well done Jodie, and here's to further triumphs.

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