No More MAFS Blogs... and here's why

No More MAFS Blogs!

While I think it's very important to engage in mainstream culture, I've decided not to blog about MAFS anymore.


1. If you're watching it with teens, please help them watch it critically. If my blogs have helped that, I'm very pleased but I don't think I'll have anything new to add - the same patterns will no doubt continue.

2. I don't want to inadvertently encourage anyone to watch.

3. The show is actively and callously damaging the mental health of the contestants.

4. The "experts" - who are HEALTH PROFESSIONALS - are gaslighting the contestants - and audience.

5. Blogging is free and mama gotta pay the bills 😄


I include a screen shot of Sara's Insta message. This is both "interesting" and "credible" because Sara was the "hero" of the last season (not the "villain") and therefore has absolutely no reason to fabricate or embellish.


No judgement on anyone watching, but my blogging on MAFS is done. I may now move onto DWTS. Watch this space.

To the people who privately contacted me saying the blog and article had helped them in some way - especially with leaving or staying out of abusive relationship - thank you. It's such an overused phrase, but I really am humbled to hear that.

Much love,
Nelly x

HOW TO MAKE A REALITY TV SHOW: Teachable Moments from MAFS Dinner Party 27/2/19

This is how to make a reality TV show:


SUMMARY: Take a young woman (Cyrell) with a known history of trauma who has a propensity to aggression. Knowing that this same woman is desperately trying to change, put her in a situation where she is almost guaranteed to fail. Watch her be betrayed, abandoned and crushed. She will physically shake and pick at her nails - displaying obvious signs of a near panic attack, but persist anyway. Cue health professionals to watch this happen and, at times, apparently delight in the drama of it.

Producer: Hey Jessika, you’re obviously not going to root Mick again and probably only did in the first place because Mike told you to, so if you want to stay on the show – think of your Insta Jessie­ - you better find another husband. Cyrell lost the plot this week – why don’t you go for Nick? Sure, you’ve shown ZERO interest in him before and it really MAKES NO SENSE, but fuck it, would be great TV if Cyrell threw a punch at you. We’d look after you, of course.


Jessika: Hey Nick, wanna leave Cyrell for me?

 Nick: No thanks. (crowd applauds)


 Producer: Bummer. At least you’ll get some abuse – sorry, interest – on socials. What about one of the new ones? That bloke with the square head is pretty hot? And even if he knocks you back, I reckon his missus will arc right up if you put the word on him.

Jessika: Do I get to stay then? My profile is really building now.

 Producer: Of course you do, sweetheart.

Health Professionals: Well, this is interesting. Women tearing each other apart is an essential part of any social experiment.

Producer: Good point. Someone write that down - I can’t say “ratings bonanza” or the femo’s will go mental.




Cyclone Cyrell Hits and the Living is Easy: MAFS 26/2/19


The next time “C” comes up in the naming cycle, it will surely be Cyclone Cyrell.

I jest, but for those who missed it, Cyrell lost her shit tonight.

Unfortunately, it was one of those situations where she was right – Martha and The Instagram Chic were clearly stirring shit deliberately – but regardless, Cyrell behaved appallingly.

Let’s be clear: Cyrell’s behaviour is unequivocally unacceptable.

Yelling, screaming, breaking stuff and physically handling people is frightening, even if you weigh 40kg. Constantly threatening to leave is also pretty off.

The first question anyone should ask in relationship is, “Do I feel safe?”

 If I were Nick – and as much as I really enjoy Cyrell in so many ways – my answer would be no. She is volatile, aggressive and explosive. To put it another way, he has to walk on eggshells around her. Red flag.


Lesson one: get your house in order BEFORE you set up house with someone else. Do you have to be perfect? No. But if you frighten people, you’re not ready for a relationship.

As a side note, it’s interesting to reflect on the class issues operating in MAFS. We think we’re a classless society in Australia, but that is obviously bullshit. Let’s get real – Martha either is (or thinks she is) from a different class to Cyrell. Elizabeth and Cyrell are the “rough trade” of the group and Martha is the Rich Princess. Jessika is the wannabe princess (she’s trying to “class up”) and everyone else is somewhere in-between. I think at one point Martha said she’d “never associate with someone like Cyrell” in real life. Let me translate: “Poor Bogan Westy’s are beneath me.” The Kardashians clearly are not.


 The New Couples

Here we go again with the 1950’s gender shit.

Susie: “I’d really like someone different to everyone I’ve dated, someone who will respect me, be nice to me and be a good role model for my daughter.”

Also Susie: “Grow some balls and stop being so nice to me.”

The Hungarian dad was a piece of work and yet, in a deeply depressing way he was right - Susie really does have trouble liking Billy because he’s TOO KIND TO HER. Oh Susie, one day that kindness will go such a long way - like the first time you want help with gastro or you discover some self-esteem. He may talk too much (?) but never ever tell someone they’re being too nice to you; especially someone you want to build a life with and have around your daughter.


Then there’s Dan and Tamara.

They seem slightly more on track but the sex requests from Dan were veering on the edge of hmmmmmm for me. I strongly suspect Dan was being goaded by the producers, but still, it was a little bit much.

And again, from a Respectful Rlationships point of view, note how gendered their discussions about sex were.

Dan is “willing to work for it” (by waiting a whole 48 hours) and Tamara is “not just going to give it away” (is there a Kinder Surprise in her vagina?).

She’s a “good girl” (unlike bad girls who like sex?) and he “likes that” (and doesn’t like the girls who “are too easy”).

SUMMARY: he wants her to put out, but is glad she doesn’t, and she wants to, but better not, and they’re both disappointed.


The important point to note for teens is that dividing “girls” – aka WOMEN – into good or bad based on when they have sex is bullshit. It is a rehashing of an old, limiting Madonna/Whore thing and, as we know, we can’t win either way in that little equation.

More seriously, these ideas of “good” and “bad” girls are often used to justify sexual harassment and assault: she was asking for it and is the type of girl who wanted it. Just look at what she was wearing and she puts it around.

In short: you treat your wife/girlfriend with respect but sluts get what they deserve.

Teachable Moment: I don’t care if a woman or girl is in suspenders and fishnets rubbing herself on a pole in the middle of your lounge room – she still deserves respect. The laws – both moral and legal – of consent do not change based on your judgement of the worthiness of a person. 

(By the way, it might seem like a leap to go from Dan and Tamara to sexual assault – and it is – but my point is that when we set women up and deserving and not deserving of respect, some women have to lose.)


Teachable Moments Summary:

Don’t scream at people, don’t break people’s stuff and don’t physically handle them. If you know you do these things; get a therapist, not a partner – that shit is on you to fix.

Don’t divide girls and women into good and bad based on sex.

Treat everyone with respect.

If you’re in the middle of a fight on the telly, take your face mask off and - no judgement - but anyone thinking of calling their kid Baby, might want to reconsider.

Until the most emotional dinner party ever, goodnight.

Nelly x

Rock Bottom: the experts light the gas (from their arses)

Teachable moments from MAFS “Commitment Ceremony” 24 Feb 2019

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Yes, you saw what I saw: Heidi tried to trust her gut and leave a clearly toxic gaslighter (Mike) who likes a little less conversation, a little more action AND THE EXPERTS TALKED HER OUT OF IT.

Judge away, but I have watched every episode of every season of this asbestos-laden show, and I have never seen John Aitkin go so hard on a participant.

And surprise! That participant happens to be a vulnerable woman trying to leave a man who has so many red flags popping up around him, he may as well be a Life Guard.

I didn’t think the Experts could get any worse! They have previously called Heidi “needy” - that means she likes some talking and not just sex. WHAT A MOLE.

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They’ve also said she has trust issues - WELL SHE CERTAINLY DOES NOW.

And tonight, they out-did themselves by actively talking her out of her own feelings - SOUND FAMILIAR?

If we didn’t know it already, tonight’s show confirms that the experts on MAFS have done more damage to the caring professions than Judge Judy has done to the law.

Let’s move onto Ines, Sam, Bronson and Elizabeth.

There’s two sides to every story, and ONE OF THEM IS WRONG.

Sam is a liar and emotionally abusive to Elizabeth.

He even tried to shame and blame her to the very last word by saying her week away was the reason his penis went rogue.

This would have been an excellent time for John and the smiling ladies on the couch to CALL HIM OUT. But…. crickets.

Maybe they were feeling guilty because they’ve actively participated in the destruction of Lizzy’s self esteem. Side note: If you want a visual of how emotional abuse can affect a human, see this.

And Bronson. Dear Bronson. Why didn’t anyone call Ines out for belittling and humiliating him? And why didn’t anyone - other than, ironically, Ines - congratulate him for his conduct? At no stage did he respond to any of this humiliation or rejection with threats or even bitterness. Kudos to him for smashing the Hulk stereotype (pun intended). He may be one of the only grown-ups on the show.


I suppose there was some other interesting stuff that happened tonight, but who can be bothered? I’m so depressed I’m doing a Lizzy and am about to tuck into a jumbo-sized jar of Nutella, just to cleanse my rancid MAFS palette.


I’ll also set this picture to both Home and Lock Screen, just so I can wake up with some hope for humanity.

Honestly, someone save me from myself.

Nelly x

MAFS at War: the Body Count

The Enemy

The Arms Dealer

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The Collaborators


The Resistance


The Casualties so Far

Teachable Moments from MAFS 19/2/19: Boys and Girls Night Toxic Shock Syndrome


I have 2 kids, I used to be a nanny, I was a raised in a small town with over 100 cousins and I have never seen either boys or girls behave like that.


I was tempted to just post these pics.

 Instead, let’s dig a little deeper.

Sam v Mick

 On the one hand, Sam and Mick did the same thing: talked to the group of men about their “sex lives”. For teens watching – who are not known for nuance – they may equate the two, but you must challenge this.

Mick should not have told the guys he and Jessika had sex. He did not have Jessika’s permission and she did not want this shared. However, his intention – and intention IS important – was not to demean her. Wrong, but forgivable.


On the other hand, not only should Sam not have talked to the guys about Elizabeth’s advances, he should never open his mouth again. His intention was 100% to humiliate and degrade Elizabeth. He has moved his gaslighting of HER into full-blown gaslighting of the GROUP – presumably so that when his behaviour with Ines is discovered, he gets a sympathetic ear or, he just always does that.


 It is impossible to tell if any of the men stood up to Sam when he was humiliating Elizabeth. I hope that the likes of Cam and Dino stood up for Elizabeth, but I am guessing they didn’t or it would have been shown for drama. This makes me genuinely sad.

Bronson was clearly uncomfortable and said so on camera, which is something. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the fact that Ines called Bronson “filth” for being a former stripper when in fact, he showed the most respect and decency of the group while “her man” carried on like an abusive sociopath.


Teachable Moment: silence is a form of resistance, but actually saying “I don’t like that” would have been better.

Imagine how poor Elizabeth must now be feeling knowing that no-one “had her back” (as they love saying on this show).

Note also, that Dino could have done with some bystander support too when Sam started bullying him into having sex with Melissa! I shouldn’t be shocked, but I was so upset to see most of the other men joining in the pressure for Dino to “slam Mel” like she “wants to be slammed”. At one point, I think a couple of them chanted – I don’t know, by then I was vomiting in the corner of the lounge room.

And of course, over at Ches Laydee some of the “girls” also had the maturity to suggest that Dino’s “take it one day at time” approach must mean he’s not attracted to Melissa and/or is not a normal man.

By now, I am crying.


It does not mean he isn’t attracted to her, nor does it mean he’s not “real”.

And, Dino wants to rub my feet while we talk about his feelings, I consent fully.

Teachable moment: tell your boys AND girls, that the idea of men as nothing more than dogs on a leash waiting to dry hump the nearest apple pie is a demeaning and toxic stereotype.

They will know what a stereotype is if they have done social studies.

 Strike First

The “girls’ night” was obviously ridiculous.

I can’t even be bothered deconstructing it other than to say most abusers strike before the are struck.

This is why Ines attacked Elizabeth as soon as she came in and repeated the trick later in the conversation. She also used the legitimate language of The Victimyou’re rude, don’t speak to me like that, don’t stand there – to confuse Elizabeth. And it worked. Elizabeth apologised. What a stunning act of misdirection.

For once, Cyrell’s armour worked – as Ines said, it’s hard to lie to Cyrell and I would add, even harder to get away with it.

I swear to Jebus Xmas if those experts don’t call Sam, Mike and Ines on their abuse tonight and rush Elizabeth, Bronson and Heidi to a healing spa, I’ll shit a brick.

Again, absolutely inexcusable behaviour from the producers - and DO NOT START WATCHING MAFS - but if you or your kids are, unfortunately it really does provide an insight into how damaging toxic gender roles and disrespectful relationships are, and how inextricable they are.

In sadness,

Nelly x



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Teachable Moments Married at First Sight Monday 18/2/19: SCHOOLIES WEEK


First things first, I’ve seen episodes of Home and Away with less scripting.

But still, even the most set-up parts of MAFS have something to teach us in that they reveal what the trolls – sorry, writers and producers – of this show think will resonate with the public.

 Even when reality TV is staged, it is both constructing and reflecting “reality” for viewers.

Dudes and 21st C Sex

 I am not usually in the business of going out of my way to defend grown-men when it comes to discussions of sex and respectful relationships (insert obvious reasons here), but WTF are the women on this show doing?

 Is it 1919 or 2019?

On the one hand, we’re TRYING our best to change toxic masculinity.


This involves encouraging men to see women as more than sex objects, to see us as equals and to be RESPECTFUL when it comes to sex.

It means men not feeling ENTITLED to sex, and women not OWING it.

It also means men and women having equal agency in both instigating and enjoying sex; and expressing their sexuality.

 And yet, several of the women on the show are shitty that “their men” are not taking the lead and “throwing them down on the bed” after two weeks into a relationship.

Melissa is the most recent example. I adore watching Mel and think she’d be a delight, but she DID SAY at the Commitment Ceremony that she wasn’t attracted to Dino and then said several times in this episode said that he should take the lead, instigate sex, “throw her down” and “man up”!?

 Melissa, how about this: have a chat with Dino and let him know you’re ready.

 I get the feeling Dino thinks she’s not ready – and why wouldn’t he given that he pursued her early and was rebuffed? – and is respectfully waiting.


 Dino can meditate on this clusterfuck of confusion for 100 years and he’ll still have no idea what to do.

Teachable Moment: men are not responsible for driving the sex life of a PARTNERSHIP. Talk. Talk. Talk.

 Old Dudes and Sex


Mike. Mike. Mike. Mike. Mike. We are the same age Mike, but you are a little tiny baby.

 If a 44 year old man (who has never had a relationship) talking to a 25 year old woman (Jessika) about the fact that she should root her partner or risk losing him is appropriate, then I’m excited about Michael in a paper-G getting a spray tan (that is, NOT).

Not only did Mike not listen to Jessika (at the dinner party) pretty much say she wasn’t ready for sex with Mick, he then told her to do it anyway AND, encouraged Mick to push the sex agenda.


Note also how Mike used physical touch – not affection, but touch – in his own relationship to shut Heidi up on the beach (blah blah blah) and, how he gaslighted her out of her own feelings about on off-air incident where she clearly felt disrespected and maybe even verbally abused.

The upshot of Mike’s gaslighting: It seems Jessika has had sex before she was ready and now feels like shit and, Heidi went from feeling like her instincts were telling her to run, to a conversation that ended with Mike saying, “we’ll work on your overreactions.”

Interesting side note: see how Mike is starting to use the language of the “experts” to gaslight Heidi – “I’m not going anywhere”, “we’ll work on it” (that is, I’ll work on you) and “we have a strong physical connection” (you root me whenever I want).

Mike’s behaviour is so disturbing to me that I can barely put it into words.

Put it this way, as far as I am concerned he displays by far the most GIANT RED FLAGS - far more than Ines or Sam.

Mike is the real worry and I genuinely hope Heidi is now ok.

Other stuff:

I have adopted Jules and Cam.

Lauren is getting “slut shamed” which is bullshit. She was the wrong match for Matt but she’s fine exactly as she is.

Mick should NOT have talked to the other men about their sex life without first talking to Jessika. Having said that, a good teachable moment is that if a partner is ever really cagey or strict and won’t allow any discussion about them or the relationship with friends, that’s a massive red flag. It is normal and healthy to talk relationship problems through with trusted people and if they hate that, my first thought is, “what are you afraid they will discover?” Abusers hate their partners talking stuff through because they get found out.

(Side note: is Jessika worried her brother will bury Mick in concrete boots and/or that she’ll be in trouble for having sex with a near stranger?)

Martha and Michael: don’t care

Melissa and Dino: talk about sex FFS. HE MIGHT BE INTO YOU.

Elizabeth: I hope she gave Sam the Chicken Pox.

Sam: I was going to say he’s so stupid he’s not even good as Gaslighting, but that’s not true. In the real world it would work because people would believe his linen shirts, buff bod and cheese platters mean he’s genuine. I bet he gets away with a LOT. The women he dates in the real world don’t see his vile behind the scenes interviews.

 Ines: see “Sam”. One thing I will say for Ines is that she’s capable of asking for and negotiating sex. She’s certainly not expecting the “alpha male” to lead and make all the decisions. That’s the only thing I’ll say for her.

 Bronson: I think it’s shit that everyone is saying he’s stupid. He’s not stupid, he’s been gaslighted by a very manipulative and abusive person AND an entire TV show. He thinks the experts and the producers are looking after him, that’s why he’s staying.

Cyrell & Nick – not sure what’s going on there

Ning & Mark – why are they still there?

I haven’t watched the “girls and boys nights” (groan), but I’ll get on it.

Nelly x



Teachable Moments MAFS 17/2/19: The Lauren and Matt Show

So, tonight’s Commitment Ceremony was both fascinating and strangely underwhelming.

We all knew Ines and Sam would be absolute fucknuckles (more on that later) that Martha and Matt would bore us to tears, that Jules and Cam would restore our faith in humanity and that Dino would meditate his way through hearing his wife say she didn’t want to root him.

What I didn’t expect, was to see the contradictions of modern masculinity and femininity play out so clearly in the form of Lauren and Matt.


First teachable moment: you are allowed to break up with someone.

 Matt you are not a terrible person for leaving and you have not ruined Lauren’s life.

 This is a critical point to make to teens because the real and very legitimate pain of being dumped is often used as an excuse for emotionally blackmailing lovers into staying and even, for post-break-up violence.

Put it this way, women leaving violent relationships are most at risk of homicide at the point of leaving.

Basic lesson: break ups are hard, but do not entitle anyone to hurt anyone else.


 Lauren and Matt are fascinating.

Lauren has asked for an old fashioned gentleman who is kind, loving and wants a white picket fence.

She has then turned around less than a fortnight into a relationship and expressed disappointment that her socially anxious and sexually inexperienced partner isn’t “sexually assertive” enough.


Her description of this – and I think Matt has taken her literally – is that she wants to have her clothes ripped off, be thrown on the bed and be dominated.

In some ways Lauren embodies a very old trope of “Madonna / Whore” where women are expected to be both wife and mother – including to their adult male partners – but also, to be sexually available at all times.

 Does this mean women must choose a role and stay in it just like the wife v. goomah. I hope not, but I suspect Lauren is wavering between this (false) choice.  One the one hand she wants the stability, security, safety and social capital of “the wife” but also wants – rightly – to maintain her sexual independence and expression. One is “old fashioned femininity” and one is “sexual liberation” and she’s confused.

Aren’t we all.

 If only Lauren and the rest of us knew that both categories are constructed and therefore de-constructable.

On the one hand, this is an absolute head-fuck for Matt and I feel for him. On the other, can we really blame Lauren for being stuck in the middle of false and limiting dichotomy where ether way she’s punished by being idealised or vulgarised.

 (Side note: why does Lauren – and everyone else – describe her as an ex-lesbian? Surely she’s bisexual. It’s a real thing.)

Matt is also struggling with the dual and contradictory nature of modern masculinity.

“Hey Matt, be a nice respectful, loving guy”

and also,

“Hey Matt, you’re a bit of a dud root if you’re not prepared to throw me around the apartment two weeks into our televised fake marriage.”

My theory on Matt is that he was – and probably is attracted to Lauren – but got talked out of his version of attraction. I’m guessing - obviously - but I think his thought process might be this:

  1. We are having sex and I am enjoying it, but you say you want me to tear your clothes off and ravage you. You may also want an open relationship and threesomes.

  2. That’s cool, but I can’t see myself doing that.

  3. But you know know more about this stuff than me, so that must be what I’m supposed to want.

  4. Therefore, I must not be attracted to you.

Why the actual fark, didn’t one of the experts say, “Hey Matt, being attracted to someone doesn’t automatically make you sexually assertive and/or into the same things as the other person. Have you considered the idea that you are attracted to Lauren but don’t express your sexuality in the way that she’s used to.”

In short: there are plenty of guys like you, Matt and hey, your sexuality might even evolve AFTER TWO WEEKS.

I also think that maybe Matt thought Lauren wanted him to physically assault her - as opposed to be more assertive and proactive.

Not sure here, but one thing is clear: none of it was communicated well and they were speaking at cross-purposes. Again, if there’s any pretence at all that those experts have a role to play, they should have intervened and helped this discussion.

 All of the above are broader social roles that we’re all subject to and find difficult to negotiate on some level. We just haven’t been raised to talk about this stuff properly.

Note also that Matt raised Tinder – very interesting.

He basically said that if he really wanted to just have sex (as Lauren accused him of), he could have used an app – which is true.

This is like a Freudian tell in a way – we are in the so-called age of sexual liberation, but it is firmly framed within a patriarchal and capitalist framework like Tinder where people are commodities.


What I would have told Matt to say at the dinner party: “I am not attracted to Lauren at the moment because I am feeling inadequate and scared and I don’t know what’s going on.”

What I would have told Lauren to say: “Matt, I don’t want to lead all the time. Can we share the roles we’ve been talking about? Can we inhabit different roles at different times in our relationship? Can I be your lover and your friend? Can we keep talking about what makes us both feel fulfilled and safe.”



Ines and Bronson: yes Bronson, crocodile is a good metaphor for Ines (and Sam). She will lay in wait and she will bite your arm off. Someone should call Bindi Irwin to sort this shit out.

Note how easy it is for Ines – and Sam – to play the role they know the experts find acceptable. Many abusive people fool their relationships counsellors, their friends and family. And yes, Ines also cries crocodile tears.

Gendered language: why is Martha an “ice-queen” and Mark not?

Tests: If you keep testing someone (Cyrell), they will eventually fail the exam.

Privacy: Trish – the expert – pushed, manipulated and used her power (that is, bullied) Melissa to disclose how long it has been since she’s had sex. What a disgusting breach of Melissa’s privacy. Again, teachable moment for teenagers, when’s the last time you had sex?: NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

Sam: he’ll ramp up this week, obviously, but watch him attack - “she’s abandoned me and by the way I don’t want to have sex with her and she keeps force-feeding me Nutella” before he’s exposed. Here’s an idea Sam: stop being a sociopath. 

Tomorrow night I’m in Sydney for a gig and will therefore MISS THE SHOW (!). I’ll post a double-blog later in the week. Until then, lay back and think of the Goldcoast. 

Nelly x

Teachable Moments from MAFS 14/2/19: the positive!

(Happy Valentine's Day - if that's your thing)


Today's post will focus on the good.

Teaching kids about healthy relationships can't just dwell on the bad and scary stuff or they'll tune out and/or be terrified of intimacy.

Positive examples are just as important as warnings, maybe more-so.


Respect is a word that is thrown around as a goal, but so rarely modelled.

The (albeit edited) relationship between Jules and Cam seems properly respectful.

Teachable examples of RESPECT:

Jules is ready for the dinner party first so she grabs the iron and starts ironing Cam's shirt. He then walks in, takes the iron and finishes it. She's not doing "1950's housewife", she's just ready first and helping.

Jules and Cam discuss if and how they want to talk about the fact they've had sex BEFORE they talk to anyone else. They agree that they're happy to tell the group but don't want details discussed. Cam is not champing at the bit to tell "the boys" and doesn't try to use it to score masculinity points.

Jules and Cam acknowledge - respectfully and kindly - that if they "walked down the street" they probably wouldn't have picked each other out based on appearance alone. Neither fit the rigid, ridiculous idea of physical perfection that someone like a Sam or Ines want - both have more depth and not only look deeper, but find each other sexy as hell BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY LIKE EACH OTHER.

(Side note: I personally think both of them are hot-as-fark and much sexier than the so-called "good looking" ones. Jules in particular is GORGEOUS. But enough about me.)

Jules and Cam are connected, but not glued together. Watch them at the dinner party. They don't need to dry-hump at the table (maybe Martha and the silent guy are sick of getting no attention?), but they are affectionate, they come and go from each other to interact and bond with the others, and they check in. Cam is not Jules' personal waiter (Cyrrel - WTF?), but they are both helpful and kind to each other.

And, then there's the way they look at each other. So lovely. Who can tell, but I get the feeling that once the limerence phase wears off, they'll be ok. They can sit and watch cricket while holding hands.

I won't spoil this post with the shit that also happened last night - aye aye aye - but I've attached my tweets.

Nelly x

PS if I were watching this show with my daughters I would not be focussing on Sam who is clearly a dickhead. From my POV, the most potentially dangerous one Mike. He gets away with a lot because he's better at covering and charming his way through. His misogyny and narcissism are palpable and MASSIVE RED FLAGS.

MAFS Expert Clanger

Classic Expert Clanger from MAFS last night 
(they need their own posts):


Trish saying that Heidi and Mike have a "strong physical connection" and that this is "critical in relationships."

Let me translate: they just met and are rooting like rabbits (surprise!). He doesn't want to talk or listen to her, but that's cool, they can root their way through anything!

Sounds like an excellent recipe for a long-term relationship!

And I'm sure he'll cope really well when they have kid and Heidi would rather take a nap than get a "special massage" (as he called it).


Nelly x

Teachable Moments MAFS 13/2/19: know thyself

Let's keep it short and sweet:


1. Work on your own shit before you get in a relationship. If you are already in a relationship and know you have mental and emotional health challenges, take responsibility for them. The other person is neither your punching bag, or your doctor.
Most notably: Ning, Mark, Sam, Mike and Ines.

2. If you don't like someone and they like you, put your big-kid pants on and TELL THEM. You are not being kind by "protecting their feelings" (which is really protecting your own feelings anyway).
Feat.: Sam the sociopath (who clearly gets away with being a sociopath because he's good looking and confident).

3. If you are a fabulous polyamorous bisexual babe into BDSM, don't go on MAFS, don't ask for a "chivalrous old-fashioned man" and don't ask for someone "completely different to everyone you've ever dated" ... and then wish a 29 virgin would be "everyone you've ever dated".
You know who I'm talking about.

Nelly x

Teachable Moments MAFS 11/2/19: MOVING IN

The "moving in" episode was a masterclass in how gender stereotypes and ideology are the very foundation of abuse.



Bronson: "Marriage is worth fighting for."
The idea/fantasy/goal of marriage is so powerful, he is prepared to overlook the fact that there's zero chance of this relationship working. Many of the other participants are also blinded by the fantasy they are seeking.


John Aitkin to ines - in front of Bronson (I'm paraphrasing): 
"So, you had a very hard childhood and it made you independent." Then to both of them, "See, look how much you have in common - you've both had a hard life."

Ines' did indeed have a hard childhood. She needs a team of therapists, not a husband. Every abuser has a sad story. 
Every. Single. One. 
That is not an excuse for abuse.
Bronson has also had a horrendous life. And for his trouble, the experts have matched him with a sociopath.

And the big one. John Aitkin had a clear opportunity in the counselling session to call Ines on her abusive behaviour and convenient lack of insight. Instead, he left them both with the impression that they "just need to communicate better." This emboldened Ines - as it does all abusers. She is left with the impression that she is the victim.

Again, anyone who has worked in family violence will tell you that sadly, this is a common outcome of relationships counselling. So many abuse victims will tell you how friends, family and professionals were part of the reason they stayed to "try and work it out and help him/her".

When abuse is recognised, it should be named and condemned; especially by those with a professional duty of care.


Ines is just a hurt little girl who couldn't harm anyone.

Bronson is a big strong man who can look after himself.

Elizabeth is a big tough, sassy girl who can look after herself.

Sam is just a quiet, good looking, entitled white guy who is just "boys being boys".


Cyrell's conversation with Elizabeth is also very interesting.

First and foremost, it's projection: Cyrell thinks SHE'S being too hard on her husband and so tells Elizabeth to be nicer to a guy who left her for his ex on their wedding night and didn't even contact her.

Despite Elizabeth's constant protestations that she's strong and independent, she is extremely vulnerable to manipulation. Cyrell isn't trying to manipulate her, but the effect is the same: be nice to your man, despite the evidence.

And the experts KNOW Elizabeth is vulnerable - their "science" would have told them that - they just don't care.

She came for love, they gave her a sociopath.


None of these things operate in isolation.

If they did, they'd be less effective.

But when you combine the gendered stereotypes plus the cultural fantasy of marriage plus the weight of the experts plus the human need for relationships and contact, you have potential for disaster.

Remember that the experts - like many in real life - are invested both in the same stereotypes and cultural narratives AND, their own expertise: I CAN FIX THIS.

Plus, they are either not trained in - or not prepared to call out -the clear signs of abuse.


Tell your kids:
Relationships should feel good most of the time
Your friends can be wrong
Medical people can be wrong
Fantasy days end
It is not your job to fix/save anyone
You deserve kindness
If you feel "less than" around someone, get out.

Nelly x

PS. good idea for a first date: get someone to wax your butt-hole.

MAFS - another view

I don't agree with the title of this article AT ALL - there are numerous and frequent examples of men emotionally abusing women both on MAFS and many, many other TV shows - but I do agree with 2 things:

1. Ines' behaviour is abusive
2. the following sentence:

"And while Ines’ attack was shocking, the most disturbing element of last night’s episode was the fact that producers were happy to air it without warning. There was no discussion by the experts about the fact that this behaviour was unacceptable, no visible support or care offered to Bronson. In fact it was played off as a spirited argument when it was dangerous, damaging behaviour."

Teachable moments from MAFS "Commitment Ceremony" 10/2/19

First things first: Mel Shilling (registered psychologist 😥) calling out Bronson for saying "c*&t", is not a feminist act.

Do not let your teens think that is what feminism is - at best, it is a caricature.

Whether you like the word or not, the sum total of feminism is not word-policing. It is far more nuanced than that and to suggest otherwise is to diminish the real power and heart behind this movement that I love so much.

Feminism MUST involve the active and deliberate deconstruction of rigid gender roles - that are toxic for women AND men - and to promote TRUE respect.


Ines has screamed at Bronson to "shut the fuck up".
She has called him "filthy".
She has told him to "man up".
She has deliberately and systematically tried to humiliate him.
She has bullied and abused him.
She has demonstrated a PATTERN of abusive behaviour.

"Family violence is behaviour that is threatening, coercive, physically or sexually abusive; emotionally or psychologically abusive; economically abusive; and is intended to dominate or control, causing fear."

See victorian definition here:…/l…/vic/consol_act/fvpa2008283/…

Bronson even went so far as to say to the experts that he was normally happy and upbeat, but was now feeling miserable after one week with Ines.

If a client said that in a psych session, any decent and ethical psychologist would be asking about verbal abuse; yet not one of the "experts" raised it and or stepped in to defend him (or admonish her).

I am quite literally stunned that the experts retain their professional registration but sadly, this is mirrored in real life.

The way they behaved tonight is analogous to a surgeon leaving a pair of scissors in your guts and sewing it back up. N.E.G.L.I.G.E.N.T.

Other notes:

If the experts really want to engage in the sisterhood, they would tell Elizabeth and Heidi to both run (and not in the mornings to lose weight).

The experts have ZERO right to use the word RESPECT. Among other things, they sat there tonight and bullied and manipulated a vulnerable guy (Matt) into talking about losing his virginity on television. He made it VERY CLEAR he did not want to talk about it. Even unqualified teenagers can understand that NO means NO.

Jules, Cam and Mel are HEAVEN.

Lauren is adorable.

Elizabeth and Bronson should get married and have little drag queen /drag king babies and start a Burlesque troupe.

And I am now off to meditate with Dino. And no, I don't care that he was also once a stripper (did they have a sale on?).

Nelly x

Masculinity and MAFS

Another learning opportunity from MAFS - for all of us - is the intense pressure young men like Matthew are under to conform to toxic masculinity or be isolated.

Matthew is the "Bombshell Virgin" - like being a virgin is so shocking that it literally has to be mentioned as a trigger warning FFS.

Watch for both and subtle and overt pressure Matthew is under to bond with the other guys through sex-talk - often invasive and competitive.


He has social anxiety but compare how he is with Lauren, his family and even at the wedding compared to how is facing the Boys' Club. He's petrified.

Also imagine how Ines - or a few of the other women - would have reacted to his being a virgin. He was expecting to be mocked. He expects this from experience.

Matthew has learned early on - as all boys do - that to be a man you have to be tough, bold, aggressive and use talk of "sexual conquest" of women to bond with other men. He is a gentle guy who feels like he's being thrown to the wolves (including the f'n producers).

This is not an excuse for those who do participate in toxic masculinity, but it should offer insight for those of us seeking positive change.

We cannot underestimate how much we're asking of young people when we ask them to step outside rigid gender roles.

We MUST call upon (in this case) older men to model more positive behaviours for guys like Matthew.

Imagine, for example, if one of the other guys had stepped up for Matt when he was being "grilled" (that is, bullied) into telling everyone he was a virgin. Imagine if one had said, "Hey leave him alone - that's none of our business. And we all bullshit about sex anyway." Or something like that. Instead, he was left alone and then continually gets asked about it.

All boys don't have to be like Matt, but all Matts should be loved and respected.

Nelly x

Teachable Moments from Married at First Sight 7/2/19: GASLIGHTING

Primary Lesson for Teens: Gaslighting

Technical definition - manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity

My definition - your feelings are wrong and you are mental

(Or, see my own little diagram below - apologies for my handwriting!)

Gaslighting is a very common tool in abusive relationships (romantic and otherwise) and is a very effective means of manipulation and control.

EG. 1 from MAFS: Sam strolling in like it was nothing after going MIA for 5 days and missing his honeymoon. Note that not only did he attempt to use his charm and confidence to convince Elizabeth that it was "nothing"; the performance was also for the group. He successfully roped in at least one of the men to this narrative who then colluded with him to convince Elizabeth that she was overreacting. That's a common feature of gaslighters: they convince the victim, people around them and even themselves that their version of reality is right and the other person is psycho. Note how little time it took for Elizabeth to start to doubt herself. Now imagine that she really was married to him, loved him, had kids with him etc. Imagine that she was alone and not at a dinner party and on TV.

EG. 2 from MAFS: Ines' performance the episode before. I've already been over this but the gaslighting element is: "no, I didn't launch an unreasonable, frightening and abusive tirade against you, I was stressed by the boat and you made me more stressed". And "By the way, you're just a filthy stripper" so who cares? The experts have helped her out here too by saying "she's very blunt." This is minimising. What she is at this present moment, is abusive.

Secondary Lesson for all of us: grab some rescue dogs and go live in a cabin in the hills; there is no hope for humanity.

Love, Nelly x

Here’s a little poster I made about gaslighting

Here’s a little poster I made about gaslighting

Teachable Moments from Married at First Sight 5/2/19

OMG, where to start.


Ines' behaviour is abusive. 
Not funny. 
Not "strong minded". 
Not understandable because of her childhood.

Her aim is to belittle, control, manipulate and be cruel. 
She wants to make Bronson feel small. 
No one should try to make you feel less than, especially someone you're romantic with.
Male, female, other - no-one has the right to behave like this.


See the cycle of violence and see how closely Ines' behaviour follows it:

1. tension increases (before the boat ride)
2. threats start (on the boat)
3. explosion (yelling and belittling)
4. minimisation (I was just so stressed)
5. pursuit (being nice over dinner)
6. build up in tension (he'll hopefully learn / it wasn't my fault, he's just a dirty stripper)

Also, see how complicit others are with this cycle - most notably her friends and the "experts".

John Aitkin repeatedly referred to Ines' "strong personality" rather than her "abusive behaviour". They have done this in previous seasons too. Why point this out? Because it is mirrored in real life, even from health professionals. They are part of the cycle.

Other teachable moments:

"Virginity" is not a personality type (FFS).

The ONLY person who should be interested in knowing about your virginity is a potential lover (or doctor). No one else should give a shit.

If you are a virgin, you are unlikely to have sex for the first time in the Barossa Valley with candles and soft music. It is likely to be "less cinematic".

If someone leaves for New Zealand mid-date - let alone mid-honeymoon - eat lots of Nutella and go on Tinder.



Lauren = perfection

Finally, my guilty wish: that Elizabeth and Bronson get to "meet and greet." Both have an adorable (if slightly wonky) confidence in themselves and who they are. My waters tell me they'd be a lovely match ❤️

Nelly x

PS for those of you outraged that I watch this show - each to their own. I watch for two reasons: I enjoy tuning out for an hour after a hard day and, while these shows are contrived, they do offer a glimpse into reality outside "your bubble". This stuff absolutely is happening.

PPS you're not the boss of me 😀

Married at First Sight Australia: Episode One

Teachable Moments from last night's Married at First Sight:

1. Emotional abuse is violence, even if it comes from a person with a VJJ

2. Having a hard childhood is worthy of empathy and compassion, it is not an excuse for being cruel to others or, for abusive behaviour


3. None of these things are acceptable: belittling someone's job, telling someone what they can and can't wear (including jewellery), putting the person down to your friends and family, "testing" someone by being mean and seeing how they'll react, using sexuality (last night, in the form of a pash) to make someone feel uncomfortable and/or test their reaction

4. Yelling at someone at telling them to shut-up is controlling & threatening - even if they are 50kg lighter than you they can still make you scared

5. Ines' behaviour isn't "rude" it's abusive.

There is not an abuser alive who does not have a sad story to tell about why they behave how they do.

Tell your kids you can feel compassion for someone without agreeing to be their girlfriend/boyfriend.

There is no excuse for abuse.

Nelly x