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.
WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HE SHOULD DO.
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.
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.