Epileptic hot pink is more insulting than any amount of flesh on display

The Skinny | No 87 – The Hot Pink Cloak of Destiny

What are we skinning? Destiny’s hot pink dress breaking the (Maltese) internet over the past week, at least until Marlene Farrugia’s private member’s bill on the decriminalisation of abortion showed up.

Why are we skinning it? Because the furore made for a heady cocktail of knee-jerk opinions and counter-opinions forged in the fire that the social media platforms and their tentacled algorithms are every ready to exploit.

Remind me – the Eurovision is a continent-wide singing festival that Malta takes very seriously, right? Yes, to the point where it’s become sort of ingrained as the island’s most culturally aspirational event, whose elusive victory continues to stand as a kind of nationwide holy grail.

We came close a couple of times though, right? Yes, we did come *this* close to securing the dubious honour of hosting the annual Peak Eurotrash celebration a few times, but no cigar, as our transatlantic cousins might say.

You think that was a dodged bullet? I choose to remain neutral on that, given that passions on the matter are given to historic flare-ups.

The reaction to Destiny’s dress certainly proves it. Oh yes. There were Strong Opinions on that first rehearsal outfit – hot pink and revealing as it was.

But should there have been? You’d think that a festival defined by unrepentantly blinding tackiness would greet any hint of excess with a smile, and that its audience would more than meet it halfway.

The numbers show that much, though, don’t they? This is true – though the situation is of course fluid, Destiny is scoring confidently amongst the bookmakers.

So it’s really just a matter of fat-shaming and not-so-thinly veiled misogyny? The fattists and misogynists will of course vehemently disagree with you – in keeping with the apposite recent trend of racists clutching their pearls in shock when you deign to call them racist – but I would hazard a guess to say that yes, yes it is.

It is polarised too, though. Yes, but that’s to be expected in the strictly codified world of social media response – for every action, and equal and opposite reaction, increasing in vehement force until the chatter becomes a verbal war and achieves the coveted status of a National Conversation.

What fools these mortals be, indeed. And when enhanced by AI algorithms, their foolishness increased a thousandfold.

Do say: “While water-cooler discussion element of the Eurovision can at the best of times be a nice national unifier in the same way that football championships provide a common talking point that crosses social and political divides, the matter becomes a little less harmless when a young woman’s body image is at the centre of this feverish froth of opinion.”

Don’t say: “Epileptic hot pink is more insulting than any amount of flesh on display.”