Voices: I went viral for having a husband ‘hotter than me’ - and the backlash has certainly been spicy

Hazel McBride and her husband (Hazel McBride/TikTok)
Hazel McBride and her husband (Hazel McBride/TikTok)

It’s always the way, isn’t it? The videos you think the least about go the most viral. It should come as no surprise that the day I happened to film on a dog walk with unwashed hair, glasses on, and a bare face, is the video that gathered over 11 million views.

After hearing a funny trending sound - ‘when are we going to see insanely hot men with average looking women?’ - I turned to my husband and smirked. That audio certainly fit how we looked at that moment. My Dutch husband has an uncanny ability to roll out of bed looking like Superman, whereas I need a long shower, a deep conditioning treatment, and some mascara to catch up in the looks department.

We first met six years ago while I was working in Tenerife. He walked into the nightclub looking like a Greek God and I immediately knew I wanted his number. Cue a slightly awkward, multi-lingual conversation over the blaring sounds of bachata coming through tinny speakers, we finally realized that we both spoke English. I also realized that he was incredibly shy. With a face as gorgeous as his, I couldn’t believe it and instead began to think that he simply wasn’t into me. To test this theory, with courage born of an outgoing personality and four mojitos, I stretched up on my toes in my pinching three-inch heels and planted a kiss on his lips.

And the rest, they say, is history.

Hazel’s viral TikTok (TikTok)
Hazel’s viral TikTok (TikTok)

After four years enduring an incredibly romantic (albeit challenging) long-distance relationship, we married in my small village in Scotland in June of 2022.

After six years together, my husband might be ageing like a fine wine while I am ageing like a fine cheese, but we have never been more secure in our marriage.

So I giggled at the sheer stupidity of the audio as I uploaded the video and closed the app, thinking nothing more of it.

That is, until the view count started climbing.

Most of the comments were women complimenting my looks and reassuring me that I wasn’t ‘average’. I believe in women supporting women, so I began complimenting them right back, even following a few. When the most frequent comment became ‘is your husband single’ I passed the phone to him to let him enjoy the ego-boost while I got sassy, saying things like ‘if he doesn’t load the dishwasher he might be’, or ‘one day soon if he doesn’t pick up his boxers’.

But as the days passed and the video gathered more views, more negativity began to creep in. Mostly commonly it was men dragging the women being supportive in the comments section, telling them they were ‘lying’ to me about my looks, or that ‘feminism had gone too far’. Many began suggesting I had posted the video in order to seek attention.

And herein lies the problem.

Hazel and her husband (Hazel McBride and her husband)
Hazel and her husband (Hazel McBride and her husband)

If a woman is confident in herself and has the audacity to call herself attractive, people will say she is full of herself. On the flip side, if a woman puts herself down then she is fishing for compliments. It doesn’t matter how we present ourselves to the world, women are continually policed for their appearance. We are either wearing too much makeup or not putting in enough effort. Our clothes are too skimpy or too frumpy. We are too fat or too thin.

When will the endless policing of women’s appearance end? Can women simply be allowed to exist without being told we are ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’?

I grew up in the age of tabloid magazines plastering celebrities’ bodies across the front page, highlighting every wrinkle, roll, and blemish in a spiteful tirade of abuse that apprently passed for entertainment.

It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that The Health Survey for England found nearly one in five women have possible eating disorders. Women are taught from a young age that their appearance is the most important thing about them. We are told to appear desirable, youthful, and dainty. Women are warned not to take up too much space – literally.

With ‘heroin chic’ coming back into style with a vengeance just as women are finally starting to be heard, it is clear that the message is to keep us focused on an unattainable body standard so that we don’t have the energy to fight for our rights.

But the year is 2023, and we are getting wiser to the game - and making our own rules. We will not shy away from getting a new set of vibrant acrylics, instead we will use them to claw our way up the corporate ladder. We will wear loud patterns and bright colors that dare people not to look away from our body positive selves. We will embrace our curves, shades, shapes, and sexuality in a way that women have never been permitted to before until we don’t just have a seat at the table, we have flipped the whole thing over.

They say that behind every man is an even stronger woman; despite my husband’s six-foot-three frame, I don’t hide behind him. I have never believed that I am average in any way, but this video has proven that it doesn’t matter what you look like – if you are a woman, you will be criticized regardless.