Dave Gorman: It’s impossible for a woman to be on television without being judged as a sex object

“The truth is as a white middle class man who’s got a TV show I don’t feel too exposed to the dark side of the internet… if I were female or non-white I am absolutely sure I would be,” says the Modern Life is Goodish presenter

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In the latest run of his Dave series Modern Life is Goodish, comedian Dave Gorman uses TV and the internet to reflect on the strangeness of the world we live in. 

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He has fun in the first episode by watching Homes under the Hammer with the sound turned down (it’s extremely uneventful) and considering how modern media means fewer and fewer surprises in our lives.

But there is a more sinister side to the online world, as we all know, and it doesn’t take much to get Gorman exercised on the subject.

“The truth is, as a white middle class man who’s got a TV show I don’t feel too exposed to the dark side of the internet,” he tells RadioTimes.com. “If I were female or non-white I am absolutely sure I would be exposed to the dark side of the internet because I know plenty of people who fit those categories and it is basically impossible for a woman to appear on television without some stranger feeling it is their right to tell them whether or not they are f**kable.

“That side of it I just think is weird but is also partly to do with people not thinking that the internet is part of our normal lives… people think ‘I am not in the real world’.

“The media are to blame in a small way. I suppose it comes down to money. Every broadcaster, every website, they all want hits and they all want to measure the hits and show interactivity with their audience. And every TV show – whether it’s some trite piece at Breakfast or Question Time, which gives you the hashtag to join in with – is either sending out, explicitly or in code, the message that your opinion counts.

“We want to know what you think, tell us what you think. Give us your opinion. Here’s one person who agrees and one person who disagrees and we have represented the whole of humanity. And we are constantly told the world wants to know what we think.

“And I think that on some level people think: ‘What is wrong with me telling a woman I think she is ugly. We are living in a world where I am meant to tell her that, aren’t I? Everybody else tells me my opinion counts.’”

Gorman suggests a radical solution – telling people that their views aren’t especially important after all.

“You know, maybe we should be more honest and say ‘your opinion doesn’t matter very much. We are making this show for other people. Watch it or don’t’.

“If people were more honest and weren’t so craven in the way they seek constant feedback from everything, then maybe they would be more entitled to say ‘don’t give me you negative feedback I didn’t ask you that’.

“I think every TV show that sort of says ‘come on getting involved, tell us what you think’, you have sort of asked for it.”

Gorman, who has gained an army of fans with his stage and TV shows such as Are you Dave Gorman? and Dave Gorman’s Googlewack Adventure, is now such a fixture on the channel with which he shares a first name that he is already committed to making two more series of the programme.

“I don’t think there is another show on TV which gives a whole hour to a stand up. Most stand ups have to do things other than stand up or as bits between others things. I have a real sense of privilege having to do what I do live. Dave has really backed it. I don’t think that many people have been that brave in commissioning.”

Dave Gorman: Modern Life is Goodish begins on Dave on Tuesday 8th September at 10pm

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Dave Gorman on Modern Life is Good-ish: “TV is sometimes very arrogant about the Internet”