Is The Criticism Towards Molly-Mae Justified?

Is The Criticism Towards Molly-Mae Justified?


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The Facts

Steven Bartlett hosts a prominent business and self-help podcast called The Diary of A CEO. He invites guests from various industries, backgrounds and fields to speak about their journeys and how they have become successful in their lives.

One of these guests was Molly-Mae Hague, a 22-year-old social media influencer and the creative director of Pretty Little Thing. In this interview, Molly spoke about how she rose to prominence after coming second in Love Island, a reality dating show, her upbringing, what had made her successful and speaking on the difficulties she faced when her home was broken into a few months back. However, the interview has gained a mixed reaction from many people due to her comments during the interview.

The 22-year-old shared on The Diary of A CEO that “if you want something enough, you can achieve it” and said that we all have “the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce.” Some say that Molly was being toned deaf with her comments during the podcast and was coming across as privileged. Other people say that she was communicating how she has made her success and inspiring listeners to do the same. Since the interview has come out, Molly’s team issued a statement to the Metro.  

In the statement, she said: “Her opinion on if you want something enough you can work hard to achieve it is how she keeps determined with her own work to achieve more in her own life. Molly is not commenting on anyone else’s life or personal situation she can only speak of her own experience.”

Steven Bartlett on Twitter in response to the backlash

“She acknowledges that everyone is raised in different ways and from different backgrounds but her comments here are in reference to timing, hard work and determination in her own life. If you listen to this interview, you can see the whole conversation was about her own personal circumstances, how she has grown up and this small clip in the conversation was talking about a quote that inspires her.”

Molly-Mae Hague has been one of the most successful people in this country and was invited onto Steven Bartlett’s podcast Diary of CEO to explain how she has done it.

She didn’t expect her success and comments on the podcast to trigger a rampage across the country and headlines being written about her.

Many see her comments as tone-deaf, yet others may see it as a case of a message missed in translation.

People have good intentions with what they do and what they say most of the time, and we should give people the benefit of the doubt. With Molly, we should do the same and that she was speaking on what has made her successful, whilst trying to be motivational, inspiring, and uplifting during a podcast that encourages such themes. There is nothing wrong with talking about your success or saying that despite the cards that we are dealt with in life, it doesn’t mean we should accept them.

In the most basic sense, we do have the same 24 hours numerically, and it is up to us to decide how to use these hours. Are we going to complain about how hard our life has been, or are we going to try and make something of ourselves? As someone who has had to work hard because of my learning difficulties, I side more with choosing to make something of yourself and found Molly’s words encouraging and motivational.

The problem is that it depends on who says these words of encouragement.

If someone else had said what Molly had said and wasn’t the head of a company that underpays workers and contributes to environmental deprivation, there wouldn’t be such outroar.

However, this saga involving Molly shouldn’t stop people from speaking about their success, offering words of encouragement and aspiring to be their higher selves.  

Molly Mae is an incredibly successful woman who unfortunately made a misstep in this Steven Bartlett interview. The comment Molly Mae made about us all having “the same 24 hours as Beyonce” negated the many structural inequalities that inhibit people from reaching the level of financial success that she has.

Molly Mae is an attractive white woman from a middle-class background from one of the richest countries in the world, and as an influencer, she has successfully capitalised on her beauty standards adhering aesthetic. However, despite her success being predicated on her essentially winning a genetic lottery, throughout the interview with Steven Bartlett there was no acknowledgement of her privilege. This was particularly egregious because she noted in the interview that she has received critique about this viewpoint before. However, instead of conceding to valid critique, Molly Mae has chosen to reaffirm that we live in a meritocracy.

While Molly is entitled to her opinion, as one of the biggest influencers in the UK, just like every other aspect of her public life it will be dissected as that is the social contract that she has capitalised on. Thus, I negate Steven Bartlett’s attempt to attribute the backlash she received to her gender, as it is rather a result of her proximity, as Molly Mae arguably more than anyone has consistently seen the great rewards and been confronted with the harsh realities of her parasocial relationship with her audience.  

Therefore, while I disagree with her, I also acknowledge that while there is a valid critique, the nature of social media dogpiling isn’t conducive to having a teachable moment as many that already dislike her use this opportunity to be hateful. Thus, as a fan of Molly Mae and her content, I empathise with her at this time and simultaneously hope she learns to better communicate the integral role of privilege in her success.

Hamish Hallett
Hamish Hallett
Hamish Hallett is a journalist/broadcaster part of the scribe team at Common Sense. He has a deep interest in current affairs, both domestically and internationally. Hamish loves to understand what makes people tick and get to the root of today's issues. Away from the network, Hamish has a profound interest in reading books, keeping active, travailing, meeting new and exciting people and controversially having ham and pineapple on pizza.

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