Channel 4’s head of programming Jay Hunt recently left the channel. She came onboard at a difficult. They’d just lost Big Brother and had a ton of gaps in the schedules that needed filling. It’s fair to say Hunt and her team revolutionised the channel. Every recent hit in the channel’s arsenal can be put down to Hunt and her willingness to take a punt on things. From edgy dramas like Utopia, National Treasure to their impressive documentary strands like 24 Hours in A&E and Police Custody and megahits like Gogglebox and First Dates everything can be put down to Jay Hunt and her team. For all her successes, and there are many I feel like you either love or hate dating show Naked Attraction
Hunt has defended the show several times. She makes the argument that the show is important. In the age of internet porn it serves the purpose to show what a ‘real human body’ looks like and there’s something in that, but what follows is a plea to Jay’s predecessor to pull the plug on the gratuitos show once and for all.
I can completely appreciate that people cannot be attracted to someone unless there is physical attraction involved: that concept is completely valid. However, there is a line. My God there is a line. That line is crossed when a contestant is having their penis inspected by a complete stranger. That line is crossed further as Anna Richardson tags along to add further discomfort to proceedings posing questions like, “What kind of voice do you think he has?… I bet you could imagine that whispering in your ear.” Is it just me who thinks that the producers of this programme have completely lost their mind? Channel 4 might like to paint the programme as an educational tool, but more than often not it’s downright disturbing.
Let’s talk about the actual idea behind the programme, first by addressing its catchphrase and selling point: “We start where a good date ends…naked.” If anyone’s date ended with them in a line up of 5 other members of society, stood in their birthday suit and being rejected at the fault of their physical flaws with the help of a forty-something strange woman, I’m fairly sure the police would be called.
The programme has been named to promote “body confidence” to which I can only say that I’ve never heard a more pathetically unjustified statement in my life. Channel 4, do you understand what you just broadcasted to the nation? A woman was told she was not up to someone’s sexual standards because, and I quote, “Her bum crack was too small.” As if women needed any more parts of their bodies to over analyse and come to hate, or men needed any more insecurities about whether they’re masculine enough or whether their penis would be up to a girl’s standards. And if you think I’m talking rubbish, watch season 1 episode 3: “I’m a grower but…his was massive even when it was asleep.” Of course designed to be looked upon as a lighthearted and comedic statement but instead connotes a massive insecurity among men globally. Don’t even get me started on the some of the other truly bizarre reasons people have been rejected for.
Even if we take out the degrading and objectifying elements of the programme, what is it really about? ‘Choose a boyfriend or girlfriend but don’t speak to them, just look at them.’ Because you can accurately select someone that you will have an emotional relationship with by relying on your sight and your physical standards. I don’t know who these people think they are to tell someone they’re not good enough by analysing their anatomy and failing to remain inconspicuous when staring at their genitals. Cameras, guys, remember the cameras.
In the opening titles, they take the absolute care to announce how online dating fails to work for a lot of people, and they want people to see “the real them”. Why in God’s name don’t you go out and actually speak to someone then?! Don’t bother with mind games or obsessing over whether someone will text back in a certain amount of time, just actually talk to someone instead of relying on phones and technology for absolutely bleeding everything, including your relationships. Surely the best way to let someone see the “real you” is by seeing them face to face? You are more than welcome to disagree of course, in which case feel free to stand in a box with every insecurity on display, and be compared to five other people and most likely rejected maybe because of the freckle on your left elbow. I’m sure your date will go really well, I do wish you all the best. So, there’s my plea. All I can hope is that this article will reach the new boss at Channel 4 and he’ll see that whist Jay Hunt did a masterful job at reinvigorating the channel, Naked Attraction doesn’t belong in the schedules at all.
Contributed by Kaia Yeomans