Will You Accept This Rant? February 11

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Hello again to all our readers and fellow ranters!  And a special hello to everyone who knows the difference between alpacas and llamas!

Image outlining the differences between llamas and alpacasWe’re Team Llama over here and we hope you are too.

Per usual, here’s a reminder about what we’re up to:

We’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation.  Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (clink this link!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)

Love is really starting to take flight, folks!  Here we go!

Lima, Peru:

  • Madi’s Second 1-on-1
    Madi and Peter went fishing and caught some feelings! Over dinner, Madi shared how important faith is to her and Peter told her he was falling in love.

    Madi hit a slam dunk with this relationship! (Did we do sports right?)

  • Natasha’s First 1-on-1
    Peter and Natasha explore the city and Peter sends Natasha home at dinner.  Raise your hand if you were surprised?  Anyone?
  • Kelsey’s Second 1-on-1
    Kelsey and Peter explore the countryside on ATV (as if Peter isn’t the biggest accident-prone goofball who just healed from cutting his head open in a golf cart accident), do some cardio up a mountainside, and talk about their futures.
  • 3-on-1 date with Kelley, Victoria F, Hannah Ann (and Peter)
    The three women head to a park to talk with Peter. We are tricked for a few minutes into thinking Peter might do the right thing and send notoriously messy Victoria home, but no.  Hannah Ann and Victoria F get roses and Kelley heads home after enjoying a few weeks of all-inclusive vacationing.

    Gone but not forgotten: our chill queen Kelley

 

We don’t even have time to unpack everything that went on this week.  Oh wait…that is the entire point of us doing this?  Okay.  Barstool Trent, roll that suitcase back on in here.  We’ve got some unpacking to do!

We feel like we FINALLY got to see some genuine connection-building this episode instead of just drama on drama on drama.  We really got to see the relationships that are forming.  Since next week is hometown dates, we can only say, it’s about darn time!

Peter and Madison’s date showed that they continue to have one of the strongest connections here. Peter talked about the close friendship he feels with Madi and potential for that friendship to turn into love. It is easy to see when watching them that this relationship has some legs to it.

Peter gets WAY too into looking for a relationship that is hard or emotional or challenging.  He chases Victoria F because he thinks that the problems they are having signal a deep relationship, rather than an unhealthy one. He thought that Hannah Ann crying meant that she was invested in the relationship. He sent home the two most level-headed women left (RIP Natasha and Kelley) because they used words like “fun and easy” to describe their connection. Peter is too obsessed with the romcom trope that relationships have to be hard to be real; that you have to fight for the one you love.

The only exception to this seems to be his relationship with Madi.  We get to see them having fun, being goofy, AND building their connection. It is an important reminder to not just look for a partner who isn’t abusive, but actively look for a relationship (and BE a partner) that makes you better. You deserve more than to just not be hurt.  You deserve to be loved, challenged, encouraged, and supported. Look for the green flags, not just the red ones.

We also saw Peter and Madi tackle some tougher conversation topics over dinner. We’ve gotten past the standard Bachelor sob stories and now they are finally getting to talk about the things that help you know if you really can build a life with someone outside the Bachelor Bubble.

Peter and Madi discuss their religious beliefs and how important it is to Madi to have a partner who values faith the way she does. We’re not sure yet if Peter is on the same page with her or not (our guess is not), but it was good that they had that conversation instead of just assuming. You know what happens when you assume.

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Kelsey and Peter continued this trend by having a conversation about kids and family.  And not just the standard “do you want kids?” conversation, but Kelsey opened up what a work/life balance would look like for her as a future mom. Again, you can’t assume that you and your partner are on the same page or that you will be able to change their mind about something so important. And if you can’t have those kinds of important conversations with a partner, it might be worth asking if this relationship is worth investing in. That is a pretty big red flag.

As we look forward to next week, we’ll be heading to hometown dates. This might be my favorite week of the season as you really get a chance to see where someone came from and how that might be shaping who they are as a person.  From the preview it looks like we’ll see more drama with Victoria F and a peak into how Madi’s faith (and her virginity) might cause some turbulence on her journey.

We also have to give our reminder, because we’re sure the producers are going to lean HARD into this tired Bachelor trope, but being a Christian is not synonymous with being a virgin.  We saw SO MUCH of the shaming, manipulative, abusive, toxic purity culture with Luke P and we’re over it.  You can have sex or not have sex.  It is your body and your choice.  The choice that you make cannot and will not impact who you are as a person or your value.  Virginity is a social construct, not a moral or religious imperative. This idea has been used for millenia to police women and shame and silence survivors of sexual assault.  We’re fed up with it and we’re not going to tolerate it.  So get ready for more ranting.

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When one llama gif isn’t enough to fully express our frustration at toxic purity culture

Our thorn for this week goes to *drumroll* Victoria F!  Congratulations Victoria on being a multi-thorn winner this season!  Her gaslighting and manipulation of Peter are getting a BIG THUMBS DOWN from us.

Our rose this week goes, of course, to our confident queens: Natasha and Kelley.  You know your worth and you didn’t let Peter get you down. We’ll miss you next week but we’re glad your out of this mess.

See you next week, Ranters!

Will You Accept This Rant? January 20

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Welcome back to Will You Accept This Rant? for week 3 of this journey to find love (and a culture of healthy relationships in media!)

If you haven’t been following along yet, we’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation.  Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (clink this link!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)

What happened this week?

  • ChampagneGate resolves: Kelsey doesn’t even like champagne. So glad we spent two episodes on this.


(Couldn’t resist, sorry.)

  • Peter’s one-on-one date with Victoria P: line-dancing and vulnerable conversations.
  • Demi-Date: group date, pillow-fighting in lingerie. Ugh.
  • Group-date continued: Sydney v. Alayah
  • Pool party: not much pool, even less party.  Just the Alayah drama continues
  • Rose ceremony: Alexa, Sarah C, Jasmine, and Alayah go home. Maybe other people too, but honestly we can’t keep track yet.
  • Tune in next week:  Peter seems unsure about sending Alayah home. Maybe she’s back?!

There is a lot to unpack in this episode, but the biggest takeaways we had this week were:

  • Verbal abuse and bullying is serious.
  • Boys should be allowed to show their emotions.
  • Bi-women are unfairly sexualized in our society and it is harmful.
  • Girls need to stick together and fight the things that are really hurting us (the patriarchy) and not each other.

Kelsey started off this episode (yes, Champagne Gate gets one more mention) saying that unkind words aren’t bullying and we’re going to pull a lesson from Middle School Social Emotional Learning to say…sort of. You can be rude, you can be mean, and you can be a bully. Bully requires a use of unequal power over a period of time. That absolutely COULD BE what is going on.  More likely, Kelsey was really just being pretty mean. But just because it was only words does not mean that it isn’t bullying.  Too often verbal abuse is written off as “not that serious” because no one was physically injured but it is the verbal and mental abuse that can cause some of the deepest wounds for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. We need to make sure we take words seriously.

We know two things about Peter FOR SURE this early in the season: he is a touchy-feely fellow and he’s in his feelings. And we’re so glad for the chance to see an emotionally in-tune guy on our TV screens every Monday night. People of all genders feel their feelings, but it really seems like women are the only ones given permission to show it. Guys and mascs, you don’t have to be John McClane 24/7.  Peter is demonstrating some deep compassion and empathy and real openness about his own emotions and we are here for it!

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Alright…

We’ve got to start with some statistics: 75% of bi women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes (LINK with stats).  Part of that is due to the way bi women are hypersexualized in our society and treated as existing solely for the viewing pleasure of straight men. The group date with Demi played right into that.  A pillow fight in lingerie sounds like something a freshman fratboy might have dreamed up and ABC execs threw that right to the only Bachelor Nation alum to have had a queer relationship on one of their shows.  Not a great look and plays right into the stereotypes about bi-folx that end up hurting us and excusing the abuse we experience. In a show that has highlighted the experience of SO FEW LGBTQIA+ folks, this was not a great way to show that they understand helpful representation.

And finally, if there was one thing that summed up this episode it was girls taking each other down instead of teaming up to take down the patriarchy.  Whether it was Kelsey v. Hannah Ann or Sydney v. Alayah or Victoria P v. Alayah or Mykenna v. her own anxiety, this was not a good night for girl power.  TPTB have gotten better at showing the supportive sisterhood of the house over the last few seasons.  We’ve seen strong friendships developing and girls supporting each other in this weird, messy journey to find Instagram sponsorships love. We’ve hardly seen that at all so far this season.  I’m sure that isn’t because those friendships aren’t forming, but because the editors don’t think that footage is as valuable as the drama. It is such a disservice to all the young women and girls (and everyone) watching out there to see girls being treated as competition and winners/losers, rather than supporters and lifelong partners. We need each other and we always will.  A romantic relationship isn’t enough to get you through life.  You need your friendships, your family (chosen, bio, or otherwise) and your community. I think the show is really missing out on a part of what was making it better when we miss out on that female empowerment and support.


She’s referring to feminism and equality.

Our dead rose of this week goes to the producers.  Y’all are messy and we wouldn’t have a TV show without you but please…you’re creating a season of drama for all the wrong reasons.

Our real rose (let’s end on a high note) goes to Victoria P for her vulnerability, openness, and strength. As an agency working each and every day with survivors of trauma, you all are some of the strongest, bravest, and most amazing people in this world. You should never have experienced the pain you did, but you are using that pain to build a brighter future and a safer world.  We’re honored to do the work we do alongside you. Victoria P, you are a survivor.

 

Bachelorette Background

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Our American obsession with reality TV says a lot about us as a culture.  Some people love reality TV.  Some people love to judge those people.  But with a reality TV star sitting in the Oval Office, we can’t deny the fact that this is a deeply ingrained part of our ethos.

I would argue, as [an embarrassed] reality-TV lover, that we can learn a lot about our selves and our society by looking at the plot lines, characters, and attitudes created by the producers of these TV shows.  In fact, if you want to learn about how Americans feel about gender, sex and sexuality, and relationships, you couldn’t find a better education than you’d get by watching a few episodes of the Bachelor or Bachelorette on ABC.

For those of you who are unfamiliar (have you been living under a rock or do you just have more exciting lives than me?), the Bachelor franchise on ABC is a series of reality shows about a chosen Bachelor or Bachelorette (cis-gendered, almost always white, heterosexual man or woman) who dates anywhere from 25-30 people, slowly eliminating these potential suitors until they arrive at week 10 and propose to their one true love in what is always “the most dramatic season finale yet.”

This show has given us some gems as far as Gender and Sexuality 101 material.  Bachelors sleep with multiple women and no one bats an eye.  Bachelorettes have sexual relationships with multiple contestants and you hear the usual: slut, whore, skank, easy.  Put 25 fitness trainers in a house together in a competitive environment and you quickly see how our society fails to promote deep emotional intelligence in our boys and men. Homophobia (“no homo”), toxic masculinity, racism, and problematic gender norms run rampant.

This season, however, the Bachelorette production team has outdone themselves.  A cast member, currently on the show though clearly not a final contender, was convicted of indecent assault just prior to the show airing. (LINK TO STORY). Had the producers done any sort of due diligence with their contestant background checks, they could not have failed to uncover two-year-old allegations of sexual assault and harassment.  In a #MeToo world where we’re finally discussing sexual harassment and assault, would producers really not be thinking of this?

It’s unfortunately likely that these charges were uncovered and dismissed as “allegations” that don’t need to be taken seriously or valued as a potential source of drama.  Even if they were unaware, that shows a willful ignorance to not be protecting the contestant from suitors with aggressive or violent histories.

Our reality TV reflects us.  It reflects our culture and it reflects our values. Whether we want to admit it or not, TV shows what we want to see and what we see in ourselves.  If these producers can ignore a convicted sexual aggressor, what are we tolerating or ignoring in our every day lives?  How do we go through our daily lives ignoring the abusers around us?  Who do we tolerate because “it happened so long ago” or “it really wasn’t that bad” or “she just couldn’t take a joke”?  Who escapes the consequences of their actions because their a beloved entertainer or a leader in the community? Who will go unpunished because the victims are not important enough to our society?

It’s just a TV show. I know that. But it’s also a reflection of us.  It is a mirror held up to our culture and we can’t turn away any longer.  #MeToo