Will You Accept This Rant? February 17

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Hello hello hello to all our returning readers, our ranters, and to Victoria F’s dog, Buxton!


We had a similar reaction to this week’s episode.

As always, 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) As a fun bonus this week, our video is sideways on Facebook and someone accidentally gets hit in the face with a rose!

This week was all about the drama, so let’s not wait one more second!


Who wants drama?  Nobody.  Us.

We’ll start with a quick recap off all the hometown dates in the order shown by production before we dive into the drama:

  • Knoxville, TN: Hannah Ann
    Hannah Ann takes Peter ax-throwing so he can prove that he’s a “tough guy” to Hannah Ann’s father who works in forestry. Cool.  When meeting Dad later on that evening, he seems wholly unimpressed, so this might not have worked out as planned.
  • Des Moines, IA: Kelsey
    Kelsey and Peter foot-stomp some grapes into a signature wine.  She tells him she loves him and they drink the Toe Pinot. That’s really all there is to report.
  • Auburn, AL: Madi
    Madi takes Peter to explore Auburn University and trounces him in a friendly game of HORSE. Charles Barkley tells him to treat Madi right and Madi’s family obsesses over whether she’s told Peter that she’s a virgin.
  • Virginia Beach, CA: Victoria F
    DRAMA. Victoria meets Peter on a beach and almost loses her dog while making out with Peter. They take some old-timey pictures and dance to a live country-music performance that’s just a little too on-the-nose with lyrics like “I don’t want easy; I want crazy.” Before leaving, Peter is caught by an old ex, Merisa, who warns him that Victoria isn’t a good fit for him.  Merisa tells him Victoria has a reputation for ruining relationships, a negative personality, and just generally not the right fit for a guy like him. Peter brings this up to Victoria before meeting her family and all hell breaks loose. Peter heads back to his hotel room rather than sit through what would have been THE MOST AWKWARD FAMILY DINNER EVER.

The episode ended with a rose ceremony.  Peter sent Kelsey back home to Des Moines.  Next week is the fantasy suites and the previews show we’re not done with the drama yet!


We’ll miss you, Kelsey!

Of course, we have to talk about the Victoria F situation and we’ll get to that, but we want to take a minute to address a few other more subtle things that happened this episode.

First, the idea that Peter has to be some kind of “tough guy” to impress Hannah Ann’s dad. We see this time and time again that just as girls are expected to look and behave a certain way to be accepted, guys get forced into their own box too. Tony Porter calls this the “Man Box” (Watch his Ted Talk!) and Jackson Katz calls it the “Tough Guise”. Men are expected to be unemotional, providers, physically intimidating, and even violent.  Men aren’t often told that it is okay to have feelings and to be empathetic and kind. Peter doesn’t strike us as the ax-throwing type and that is completely fine.  Everyone should be free to be who they are, not feel forced to live out a stereotype based on their gender.

The other subtle attitude that popped up was the idea that the highest ideal a woman can strive for is a relationship with a man.  You might be able to guess it from our ranting last week, but this came up in Madi’s family.  We talked last week about purity culture, so I won’t rehash that except to say that staying a virgin until marriage is a CHOICE.  It is a totally great choice to make if it feels empowering or important to you, but it is not an inherently better or safer choice than choosing to have sex with another adult who is enthusiastically consenting.  “Saving yourself for marriage” is totally cool; you do you! But choosing to have sex (or being a victim of sexual assault or abuse) does not make you any less valuable.  You are not broken.  You matter.

Click this link and watch this video right now.  

OKAY.

Getting off our soapbox there and climbing onto another soapbox…

Madi’s dad, Chad, mentions that he and Madi’s mom have been praying for Madi’s husband since Madi was an infant.  Do I think that this makes Chad and his wife bad people?  Do I think they had bad intentions or wanted to hurt their daughter?  Absolutely not.  Do I think this attitude props up our patriarchal system that harms women, even if unintentionally?  Absolutely yes. 

What if Madi realized growing up that she was bisexual or a lesbian?  What if she fell in love with a woman or someone who was nonbinary? Would she feel safe to come out to her family, knowing that they’d been praying for her husband since she’d been born?
OR
What if Madi met a man, fell in love, got married, and then started getting abused?  Would she feel confident and safe to leave that relationship, knowing that her family would always support her?  Or would she worry that she had “failed” in the most important aspect of her life, her relationship?

If you are the praying type, pray for your daughter to be kind.  Pray for your daughter to be brave.  Pray for your daughter to be smart, to be empathetic, to be a leader, to be a world-changing woman.  Pray for her to be so much more than “just” a wife. Make sure your daughters know that the most important thing isn’t if or who they marry.  They are so much more than that.


Thank you Hasan Minaj.

Okay…onto the main event. VICTORIA F!

In our ABC book of Abusive Behaviors, G stands for GASLIGHTING! And underneath G for Gaslighting?  A big ol’ picture of Victoria F. Funny enough, she’s pictured under M for Manipulation as well.

When things are going her way, Victoria is happy as a clam.
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Sorry not sorry

But as soon as things aren’t going her way, Victoria pulls out all the stops to manipulate Peter until she gets what she wants. Last night, Peter had some concerning information brought to him by an ex-girlfriend.  He very reasonably wanted to sit down with Victoria and discuss what he heard.  He wasn’t accusing her of anything or calling her names, but just looking to have a much-needed conversation. But just like all the other “tough conversations” they had, as soon as Victoria felt the power shift away from her, she went into defensive mode.

  • Victoria said that it was “unfair” that Peter brought this up.  (Wouldn’t it be more unfair for him to continue to blindly pursue this relationship without giving her a chance to air her side of the story?)
  • Victoria made herself seem like the victim, flipping the narrative that this was Peter’s fault for bringing this up at a bad time. (“You decided that what Merissa told you is more important than meeting my entire family.”-Victoria making it seem like PETER is at fault for bringing this up. When were you supposed to talk about this?  Should he just ignore all the problems and red flags so that it doesn’t inconvenience you?)
  • “I’m trying really  hard.  I’ve never tried this hard in a relationship.” (Again rough quote from last night, but Victoria claiming that she is putting in the work without showing any of the receipts.  What have we seen that shows she is trying?  You can’t just say that you are doing things.  You have to actually do them.)
  • Peter tries to talk things out and make sense of the situation.  Victoria’s response: “You just came in here to act like that…are you kidding me?” “I like adore you. I was going to tell you tonight that I’m falling in love with you.  How am I supposed to do that now?” “I had high hopes for you to meet my family and I’m just so disappointed.” (She’s blaming him and hoping to make him feel guilty, so he ignores his gut feeling about her being the wrong person.)

And Peter ends up apologizing to her. He apologizes if she felt like he was attacking or accusing her.  He apologizes for ruining the evening.

He had a TOTALLY normal reaction to getting some disturbing news about a love interest he is really just starting to get to know.  His reaction was reasonable and rational.  He tried to get to the bottom of things.  But Victoria F’s manipulation and turning-the-tables confused him until he couldn’t trust his gut or his heart and he ends up keeping her around for another week.

Our Rose for this week goes to Merisa for being the friend who would reach out and let someone know that they might not be seeing all sides of the situation.  This wasn’t just messy gossip or sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong.  This was a chance to be a positive bystander, check-in on a friend, and let them know they may be stuck in a relationship that is hurting them.  Be there for your friends.  Reach out.  Let them know they aren’t alone and that they deserve a love that doesn’t gaslight or manipulate.  They deserve a relationship that doesn’t hurt all the time.

If you’re that friend and you need advice on how to get through, give us a call.  We’re always here.  815-756-5228.

Will You Accept This Rant? February 3 and 5

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Welcome welcome welcome to all our loyal readers, Chris Harrison, and Chris Harrison in a mustache!

If you haven’t been following along yet, we’re working to examine and call out the culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation. You can follow along with our weekly Facebook Live videos and our Twitter feed! We love to hear your thoughts, so get in touch!

Just a side note…we’re using a new form of technology to write this blog and we’re about as good with technology as Madi is (raise your hand if you get this joke), so we’ll update this post early next week with links to our social media and gifs. Thank you for your patience along this journey. We promise, the process is working.

So this week was FIVE HOURS OF BACHELOR CONTENT. It could have been one. Y’all. It should have been one. But we all suffered though together, we’ve developed a bond out of this trauma, and we’re going to do some learnin’.

Kicking things off in Costa Rica:

  • Alayah is sent home (this was technically in Cleveland…so sorry girl.)
  • Peter is attacked by a puma…oh wait. He tripped getting out of a golf cart and cut his head on his beer glass. Is this the most fratty injury you’ve ever seen or is this the most fratty injury you’ve ever seen?
  • Sydney has a one-on-one.
  • Kelsey drunk cries and Tammy starts to start drama about her being “emotionally unstable”.
  • There is a modeling group-date in the jungle. Yawn.
  • Peter sends Victoria P home from the group date!
  • Kelley has a one-on-one date and is REFRESHINGLY normal.
  • Kelsey goes to see Peter to clear up the “emotionally unstable” drama. Peter gives her a rose.
  • They have a rose ceremony. Lexi and Shiann are sent home.

Heading off to Chile!

  • Hannah Ann has a one-on-one. Is she ready for marriage?!
  • They have a telenovela-themed group date. Kelley makes a grandma-incest joke.

    Insert Yikes gif here
  • Victoria F gets a second one-on-one.
  • Tammy v. Mykenna showdown; Peter sends Tammy home.
  • We have a second rose ceremony in as many episodes (PTL): Mykenna and Sydney are headed home.

We’ve got 5 hours worth of drama and 5 minutes worth of patience for this cr*p. Let’s dive in!

The first thing that really stuck out to us was just how incredibly normal Kelley was. The bar is SO LOW in Bachelor Nation that someone with realistic expectations for a relationship is so noteworthy but here we are. Kelley has a job. She is independent. Kelley doesn’t need a relationship with Peter to feel complete. She is my hero.

We can’t make gifs work from this Ipad

Kelley’s independence and self-sufficiency allows her to feel more free in her relationship and it shows. She speaks up to Peter and tells him how she feels about his role in the house drama. She calls him out and their relationship is better for it. Everyone deserves that in a relationship. If you’re too afraid to speak your mind with your partner or offer constructive criticism, that might not be a healthy relationship.

Before we leave Costa Rica, we HAVE to address the Kelsey drama. Iowa can’t have Bachelor contestants OR caucuses without drama, I guess!

Kelsey is clearly having a hard time with this process and a relationship that makes you cry all the time is clearly a problem but also, if you are a sensitive person who responds by crying…that is totally okay. The world is literally on fire, kids die of preventable diseases, puppies don’t always have loving families…it is okay to cry about it. If you can’t live your life because you are so upset or emotional all the time, please see a therapist. If you feel like you are drinking instead of addressing your feelings, please see a therapist that specializes is substance use disorder. If you feel like you just don’t like how much you’re crying, try journaling or running or any other self-care tip you like. But if you’re just a crier, cry on bebes.

And to all the other girls who felt a need to take this up with Peter and accuse Kelsey of popping pills because she takes Adderall? Please take several seats! There is too much stigma around mental health and taking care of your mental health. If you need Adderall for your ADD or ADHD, if you need Xanax for your anxiety, if you need any medicine to keep your brain healthy, that is just as fine as needing medicine for your blood pressure. Let’s normalize caring for our mental health, folks.

As we flew to Chile, we flew ever closer to the eternal Bachelor question: is the young girl ready for marriage?!

*Insert pearl-clutching here*

Hannah Ann is young. There is no question about it. Plenty of young people aren’t ready for marriage. They just haven’t learned enough about life and love. But let’s be honest…plenty of older people aren’t ready for marriage either for the Exact. Same. Reasons. Age is no guarantee that you are ready for a healthy, committed relationship. A much better guide is how well you’ve learned to know yourself, your personality, your needs, and your quirks. Do you know your insecurities and have you worked on them yourself? Do you feel fulfilled and independent without a relationship? Have you invested in your own therapy, self-care, and growth enough to know that you won’t try to control or exert power over a partner? I don’t care how old you are. I want to know how in touch you are with your own feelings, needs, strengths, and weaknesses.

Along those same lines, we saw a good example of that “being-in-touch with your own weaknesses” thing from Victoria F (shocking, I know). She was freaking out on her date with Peter (not shocking, I know) and she told her producer that she was taking her insecurities out on him and it wasn’t fair. We’re all human (except Chris Harrison. I’m not 100% sure) and we’ll all make mistakes. You can’t expect your partner to be perfect. But you CAN expect them to own up to their mistakes, take accountability for those mistakes, and change. Being self-aware enough recognize when you’re making a mistake and making it right is healthy. We love to see it.

Finally, we’ve got to address an ongoing issue this season: girl-on-girl crime. Cattiness has been a MAJOR issue this season. I’m not sure if we’re just not seeing the deep friendships develop that we’ve seen in other seasons or if they just aren’t there, but either option is bad. Either producers think it’s more exciting to show cat-fights which says some pretty awful things about our society or those friendships genuinely aren’t developing. Either way, I’d hate to think of my nieces or other young women watching this and thinking that this is how women should act or this is what female friendships look like. I’d hate for young girls to grow-up thinking that it’s okay or even expected to throw other women under the bus if you’re in competition for a man. We don’t win by tearing each other down. We win by lifting each other up and rising together. We’re tired of the Mean Girls script. We’d like to return this for a full refund, please.


Raise your hand if youre feeling attacked by the Patriarchy this season?

Our dead rose this week went to Mykenna for her Pinterest-inspired self-love speeches. We’re all for self-confidence and empowerment, but empowerment runs so much deeper than posting a deep quote on Instagram. Mykenna deserves more, all femmes deserve more. We want to see real feminism and this 30-seconds of flowery feminism doesn’t make up for 5 hours of girls falling under the misogynistic heel of the patriarchy.

Our face reading seeing Feminism used to uphold, not overthrow a patriarchal misogynist system.

Our rose of this week goes to Madi. It’s pretty clear Peter likes this woman. She stays above the fray and finds time to develop her relationship with a man she clearly cares for without throwing anyone else under the bus. We stan. #SoGenuineAndReal


Still our favorite Bachelorette

Let’s all commit to lifting up a woman or femme this week to make up for the Patriarchy we sat through and we’ll see you next week for a blessed 2-hours only of the Bachelor! (Who are we kidding…we loved every dramatic minute!)