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“I’ve never dated girls as big as her in the past.”
It was the despicable body-shaming comment that infuriated the nation when Married at First Sight’s Sam Ball first laid eyes on his “wife” Elizabeth Sobinoff.
“She’s got a beautiful face,” he continued. “Maybe I’ll get her running in the mornings!”
In the weeks that followed, Sam routinely disrespected his wife behind her back, and in interviews following the show’s filming, continued to comment on her appearance and belittle her.
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But tonight, it was Elizabeth’s own words on body image that have resonated with Australia, perfectly articulating everything wrong with “men like Sam”.
Men like Sam, who sorely needed to hear what women deal with on a daily basis.
Men like Sam who think it’s perfectly OK to talk about a woman’s body as though it is somehow “wrong” because it doesn’t meet the standards of a catwalk.
Men like Sam who desperately need to stop perpetuating the ever-present societal pressure on women to remain a certain size, look a certain way and appeal to the male gaze.
“For him to judge me like that, just on my looks… That I’m a larger girl, that I’m a heavy girl,” Elizabeth said once she viewed her wedding day footage for the first time.
“What he’s doing is setting the tone for all the girls out there – that you’re not worthy enough if you’re not a size 6 or below, [that you] don’t deserve the time of day.”
“I am just appalled that he would be so free to comment on a woman’s weight,” she continued.
“That to me is absolutely despicable and disgusting, disgusting, OK? As women, it’s a hard enough time in this life, OK? It is a hard enough time.
“We get so much thrown at us. We have men sitting there going, ‘Well, yeah, you have to be this way, you have to look that way,’ otherwise, you know, I don’t want a bar of it.”
Directly referencing Sam, she concluded: “We are expected to look a certain way because of men like that. Absolutely disgusting, disgusting.”
It was seemingly the first time Elizabeth had been given an opportunity to speak her mind on anything other than the over-produced affair between Sam and Ines, or had been the butt of jokes on a boy’s night, or involved in a “cat fight” during a dinner party.