When heatworld went too far…

Yesterday I read something that made my blood boil. Blood was literally curdling in my veins whilst my ears were exploding with steam like a cartoon character. This wasn’t some horrendous news story or anything dramatic in the news, but for me it was the moment that one of my favourite sites went too far. Before going into detail I have to say that I’ve always been a huge fan of Heat magazine. I love its tacky stories, its glossy kiss and tells, its sensationalism and its obsession with reality telly; it’s been a guilty pleasure of mine since its very first issue and during University I had a subscription delivered to my door every week, whether or not I actually had food to fill my belly with. I’ve got the ‘Celeb Diaries’ accompanying book, I visit heatworld.com daily and I even got given an annual for Christmas once. My name is Hayley and I’m addicted to Heat.

What made me really mad yesterday though is that my beloved trashy destination had taken one step too far over the bitchy line, leaving the comical observations behind in favour of pure unnecessary bitterness. We all know they love to point out TOWIE stars bad tan lines, Britney’s patchy roots and pull apart Michelle Heaton’s outfits, but just being a cowbag for the sake of it…? Not good heatworld, not good at all. If you want to read the offending piece then you can do so here. Needless to say the first line gives you a pretty good introduction to how the rest of the ‘article’ pans out: “Dear oh dear, Abbey Clancy, what on earth have you done to your face?” And that was probably the least insulting line of the lot.

The article was the third installment in the Glamour Awards outfit dissection, namely the ‘bad’ category. Normally this means a character from TOWIE flashing some minge, a soap star decorating herself in more diamantes than a Swarovski factory or a WAG attempting to rock a catwalk look and failing miserably. What I didn’t expect to see was actually a pretty good range of decent outfits that would’ve otherwise been plopped in the ‘good’ pile… Heatworld are you now slating women just for the sake of it? Exhibit 1: “Alexandra Burke wore a printed Delia Covezzi gown, but she might aswell have just bought a cheap white dress and asked a child to chew the end of a biro until it exploded all over it.” What about saying that it was a lovely, simple chic dress that flattered her figure and nodded to the on-trend patterns we’ve seen coming through from the catwalk this season? Nope, you want to make her feel like she’s wearing a Primark dress that someone has conveniently styled with a felt tip. Ok then…

Exhibit 2: “Amanda Holden, dress your age please! You look like a 15 year old going to a prom in your white lace Jacques Azagury dress.” Really, you used the ‘dress your age’ line? For a woman in her 40s I think she’s looking pretty fabulous – if I had a figure like her at my age I’d be over the flipping moon. You don’t praise her for her classic style choice, her stylish accessories or how she wears white so well considering it’s such a hard colour to pull off? Nope, you choose to pull her apart and compare her to mutton dressed as lamb. Exhibit 3: “Alesha Dixon went for the most mullety of all mullet dresses (which are our new-found fashion hatred anyway), which looked like it was from an Eastend market stall… The gold caged sandals and long necklaces put the finishing bad touches to the outfit.” Ok, so I may not like the dress myself, but she’s worn a lot worse. A LOT worse. She’s paying tribute to the floral and dip-hem trends, looks uber beautiful and has legs to die for. As for the sandals, I’ve got some quite similar myself so whatcha sayin?

Exhibit 4: “Tess Daly chose a bizarre printed grey, black and silver dress… It’s all a bit too matchy-matchy for our liking, so combined with the dress being just plain hideous it’s a complete disaster.” A complete disaster? A. Complete. Disaster. How absolutely dare someone match their shoes to their bag, let alone even attempt to wear a dress with a PATTERN on it. Have they never read Vogue? Hang on a minute, have YOU ever read Vogue? This is where I actually had to stop reading and rub my eyes to make sure I wasn’t dreaming; heatworld had really just started being a complete bitch just for the sake of making content. They crossed a line and started throwing insults in an attempt to be comical, forgetting the fact that we’re all free to wear what we like and not be put in the stocks for choosing to do so.

Who made them judge, jury and executioner? There’s one thing pointing out a Bjork-esque fashion fail, but picking fault in everything just to make themselves feel like a fashion writer is not the same thing. We’re all supposed to be in this together, sticking up for our own freedom of expression and not putting eachother down because we dared to match our accessories. There was a massive backlash some time ago against magazines pointing out cellulite and love handles, so how is this any different? Reading the article I felt mortified for every single one of the ladies featured because they actually all look awesome in their own way. None of them have made a hideous fashion faux pas, none of them have flashed their knickers and there’s not a nipple in sight. Why the absolute hatred and bitterness heatworld?

The person that wrote this could possibly be on their period, found out their cat got run over and lost a winning lottery ticket on the same day, but is that really a reason to put out such hateful and bitchy comments and classify it as entertainment journalism? I for one can say it’s neither entertaining nor journalism. It’s taking easy pops at people while sitting behind your computer being critical… In the blogging world we’d call you a troll. We all like a little bitch, to pick apart outfits and make ourselves feel better by putting celebrities down, but as a site read by many young and impressionable women you’re saying it’s fine to be a complete cow because it’s funny. Finding faults in people for the sake of it will do nothing for the confidence of young women today, with so much pressure already apparent to look right and have the catwalk clothes they lust after. It would’ve been so easy to put a positive spin on this or even actually pick some outfits that were bad (maybe there weren’t any, but that’s ok) but instead they took the easy way out.

I want to know who read and approved this, believing it was what their publication wanted to be putting out there. I tweeted this article with the comment ‘the most unnecessarily bitchy article I’ve ever read’ and the responses flooded in in agreement, pure shock and outrage that a magazine could put their name to such utter tosh. In a world where traditional magazines are struggling and e-zines are being replaced with blogs, maybe there’s an opportunity here to put out positive messages and supportive articles to the hundreds of thousands of young women in this country that could do with a little encouragement. It’s easy to be bitchy, but it doesn’t mean you have to be. As for the fabulous journalist, they finished it all off with this corker: “Lily Allen just looked horrendous and needs to put her bra away.” I have no words.

Did this make you as angry as me? Do you care either way? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Images all taken from heatworld.com



  1. liloo
    May 31, 2012 / 10:44 am

    I agree. it's too bitchy for the sake of it and the author is not very good at writing really. Nothing wrong with abbey's pout. Not a fan of alesha's dress neckline but the floral pattern is so nice, and the colours are echoed in the makeup and i just love the outfit altogether on the whole. ever so summery. I hope lots of people complain (so thank you for your post) so that we don' see anymore of this writer's articles x

  2. BeautyBecca
    May 31, 2012 / 10:51 am

    I can't believe the women who wrote that actually got paid for this so called journalism. There really is no need what so ever.

  3. sugarpuffish
    May 31, 2012 / 10:53 am

    I don't read gossip magazines because I can not stand the way celebs are picked apart for no real reason. I don't see anything wrong with outfits featured in your post, they all look pretty to me.

  4. Charlie
    May 31, 2012 / 10:56 am

    The comments are just far too bitchy, the writer must have been having a bad day but there is really no need. I think Alexandra and Alesha look nice in their dresses! love the mullet dress look xhttp://eatplayshoplove.blogspot.co.uk/

  5. BDP
    May 31, 2012 / 11:09 am

    This really pissed me off. While I wouldn't wear all the outfits, each of these ladies looks polished and put-together. And Lily looks ruddy fabulous!

  6. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 / 11:50 am

    Are you really THAT shocked?! These gossip mags slag off celebs on a daily basis – just look at the front covers. Too fat, too skinny, horrible clothes, too much surgery, needs surgery – it's pure poison. One of the high-end weekly mags has a page on what celebs are wearing and 'fashion experts' give a score. Madness.I think it's great that you have highlighted this. I would love to see these mags focus on the positives!

  7. Cherie City
    May 31, 2012 / 11:53 am

    I feel that Heat magazine is always like this, except this article is more snarky and badly written than usual.If women dare to be a 'celeb', in Heat they're either too fat, too thin, letting themselves go, trying too hard, too sulky, too chavvy…Glossy women's mags are criticised for making women 'feel bad about themselves' for using air-brushed images and yet it's magazines like Heat that actively promote an anti-feminist culture of tearing women down and ridiculing their insecurities.

  8. Nikki
    May 31, 2012 / 1:32 pm

    Like you Hayley, I thought this was an unnecessarily bitchy article. I was particularly interested in the fact that she called out Amanda Holden, who I actually thought looked pretty damn good, and so did another magazine who actually put her in the best dressed category. Clearly the girl had no style.

  9. Emma May Langridge
    May 31, 2012 / 2:45 pm

    As I said to you earlier, this heatworld article left a really bitter taste in my mouth and every sentence physically hurt to read.I think the fact that this piece was allowed to go through the subbing/proofing ranks and reach its online platform is an insult to all of us aspiring journos who genuinely want to write a half decent, honest piece.Regardless of how Starstyle briefed the 'journalist' on this piece, the bottom line is, no matter how little time you have to write the article or how much material you have to go on, (in this case, in my opinion, some rather beautiful pictures of some well known faces) – journalism is meant to be witty, inspiring and intelligent. Quite frankly, this piece lacked all of this and I was left feeling a bit cheated, because after all, I've been an avid heat reader.I think a better example to follow is 3am – although bitchy (we all do it) – but at least they manage to maintain a level of wit and humour. Where's the love heatworld?

  10. by Lauren Jane
    May 31, 2012 / 2:51 pm

    This is the classic trashy magazine trying to be a fashion magazine. Vogue may not be for everyone, but there are cheaper alternatives such as Grazia or Look. I personally wouldn't take fashion advice from Heat. This magazine continuously conveys mixed messages to their readers as aforementioned; one week it's 'skinny celebs' the next it's 'fat celebs'. It really leaves little wonder as to why some many women have body image issues. Heat makes their money from the 'bitch pound' and sadly they will continue to do so as so many people get off by reading this. To me it is simply hate journalism and they need to stop crossing the line from subjective and opinionated to just down right nasty. Great post, kudos for writing it. Lauren http://bylaurenjane.blogspot.com

  11. Millie Cotton
    May 31, 2012 / 3:06 pm

    I don't read heat and this is exactly why. Celebrity culture has been taken to a new level of obsession. Slating celebrities to thousands of readers is crass and completely unnecessary and if that's what they have to sell their publication then I feel sorry for them.

  12. SarahB @ FridayisForever
    May 31, 2012 / 3:18 pm

    Agreed. It all sounds like it was written by an angry, jealous teenager, yikes! x

  13. Beauty Bird
    May 31, 2012 / 3:54 pm

    Wow this person was really having a bad day weren't they!! It does go over the line, I wouldn't even describe it as journalism, just playground style bitching! It's people like this that makes me think no wonder women have so many insecurities and low confidence!! x

  14. Grace London
    May 31, 2012 / 4:54 pm

    When I have PMT I just buy weird stuff. I think that's healthier than slagging off other women (who look perfectly nice).

  15. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 / 5:58 pm

    This is ridiculous. The piece is opinion, and, now I've read all of it, part of a collective of three articles; the good, the bad, the undecided – which you fail to detail. The article is funny and Abbey Clancey does have a trout pout! It's heat, not flipping Vogue! It's not trying to be Vogue!Anyway, most of it is taking the piss out of outfits, not people. It's hilarious that in the same post you say: "We're all supposed to be in this together, sticking up for our own freedom of expression" before calling the journalist a "cowbag" I think you might just be pissed off that someone doesn't like your sandals.

  16. Milly
    May 31, 2012 / 8:36 pm

    If I'm honest, I'm not really a fan of Heat, for these kinds of reasons. All the celebs above look fine, I've seen worse in 'best dressed' sections before… x

  17. Curious Emily
    May 31, 2012 / 8:37 pm

    I HATE these trashy rags; they are easy to read (like crisps are easy to eat) but they're utter poison. Just because a person is famous and the attacker is sat behind a screen anonymously doesn't make it not bullying. Also, and I don't want to fight fire with fire, but the girl who wrote it (on Twitter as @hannahbrimson) is no oil painting herself. She also calls herself a 'Style Writer'. Emily xwww.incurablycurious.com

  18. britishbeautyblogger
    May 31, 2012 / 8:44 pm

    The irony of it being an event that celebrates women is not lost. Some celebs go out of their way to attract any publicity but the ones that Heat picked on weren't being particularly outrageous or attention seeking. I just thought it was a highly mean-spirited feature that looked like someone gave the intern crack and told them to let rip.

  19. London Beauty Queen
    May 31, 2012 / 8:58 pm

    Thanks for all your comments ladies – I'm glad that everyone agrees with the sentiment of my post and the message I was trying to put out there. I have to admit I thought I was opening a can of worms and would end up with a tonne of bitchy comments, but actually not a single tweet or comment has been anything but supportive and in agreement (apart from the tweets from Heat's Style Editor which were in an equally bitchy tone.) The only comment in disagreement is the Anon above. You're totally entitled to your opinion, but to come back to you on a few things…You said "The piece is opinion, and, now I've read all of it, part of a collective of three articles; the good, the bad, the undecided – which you fail to detail." I actually said above "The article was the third installment in the Glamour Awards outfit dissection, namely the 'bad' category." I made it clear it was one of three posts. It's not 'funny' and it's not taking the mick out of outfits, but criticising the people wearing them by calling them 'horrendous'. When did that become funny? And as for calling the author a cowbag on her period – anyone that writes such vile commentary is clearly no supporter of women, so I think that's more than justified! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment though.

  20. Amey Jane
    May 31, 2012 / 9:48 pm

    I totally agree with you 🙂 Certain magazines nowadays use any opportunity to slate celebrities. If someone said that to a celebs face, they would get sued. I think Heat magazine need to reconsider what they stand for as all I see from them is technically a form of bullying.I also wish to know who approved it…Personally I think all the dresses are lovely 🙂

  21. Beauty Daze
    June 3, 2012 / 9:33 pm

    I'm so glad you've written this, although I do feel Heat have always been this way and always will be, sadly. Why don't you try reading xojane.com? It's an American ladies blog that covers so many things, from lifestyle to beauty. XoJaneUK is about to launch too! One of the key ideas behind xojane though is to encourage women to be more sisterly, be supportive and kind to one another. There is no point in being a bitch because you can, be nice instead.And like I always say, it's eazy to be a bitch, it doesn't mean you should!Steph xx

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