It’s been hard to put into words the tragedy of Caroline Flack’s death. The news sent shockwaves across the whole of the UK and prompted the ‘be kind’ narrative to be plastered all over social media.
I couldn’t write about Caroline after hearing the news, and I still find it difficult to comprehend that she will never slow-mo strut into a Love Island villa or present the next entertainment show.
How could I feel such grief for a celebrity I never knew?
The reason I think Caroline’s loss has been felt so deeply by many, is because we could all see a little bit of ourselves in her. I wrote a piece about how she could teach us a thing or two about self-care on my blog in 2019. In the post I wrote: “Caroline Flack, to me personifies a bright and bubbly 21st century working woman. She’s the girl next door, the kind of girl other woman champion whilst also envying, the girl you wish was your friend, and the girl who many strive to be”.
She was the distant friend that made you feel better about your latest heartbreak. I think this is the reason that the grief myself and so many feel for Caroline is real.
Tonight (Wednesday 17th March, 2021), Channel 4 will air a documentary titled Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death. I want to watch it, but I know it will be incredibly hard viewing.
The documentary aims to set the record straight, after Caroline’s high-profile court case involving an alleged altercation with her boyfriend. Caroline began making this programme before her death.
Caroline’s twin sister Jody told reporters that: “Quite close to the end, she had actually asked us to help her tell her story, she said ‘We’re going to make this film, you’re all going to be in it’. And she was excited about being able to do it. So we remembered that.”
The questions which I think needs answering one year on is: Have we learned anything from the tragedy?
I want to write a really positive piece here about how social media has changed for the better and how the ‘be kind’ brigade really made an impact. But unfortunately this has not been the case.
Take the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry interview with Oprah as an example, the former Duchess was mocked by trolls online for opening up about her suicidal thoughts. No matter what your opinion is of Meghan, admitting suicidal thoughts should be taken seriously.
“we have a duty of care to look after each other”.Caroline Flack
I don’t know how many more lives need to be lost before we start accepting that this is a mental health epidemic. We don’t have a vaccine to rid ourselves of online bullies, but we should have tighter restrictions on people setting up social media profiles.
Everyone who sets up a profile should have their ID verified, so fake accounts can’t be set up as easily. Children under the age of 15 shouldn’t be allowed on these platforms and ID should help change that.
I don’t understand why more hasn’t been done. The onus needs to be on social media companies and not individuals. Caroline once said that she refused “to get sucked in by social media”, and that she took social media breaks on Sundays. It is such a shame that in the end this wasn’t possible.
Caroline also stated that, “we have a duty of care to look after each other”. So now it’s our turn to keep pushing for change, unfortunately we weren’t able to look after this star, but we can shape a better future for all young women and men. It is our duty.
Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death airs tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm.