With the finale just around the corner, I have a confession to make; I really do not like Victoria.
I know that this hardly comes as a shock to anyone who has followed my tweets throughout the summer. I have made it abundantly clear that I have quite a bit of disdain for the self-proclaimed princess; referring to her usually as Veronica, quick to make a quip about her general lack of intelligence, cringing as she clings to a man who has been deceiving her all game, shaking my head at her unbelievable level of naivete, and fuming over the absence of anything that even resembles a Big Brother strategy, I have felt it all when it comes to her. While Victoria possesses countless personality traits and characteristics that leaves me wanting to reach through my computer screen to shake some sense into her, I have come to realize that my dislike for her is more about what she represents than it is about who she is as a person; or better yet, who she is as a young woman.
Blame the feminist that lives somewhere inside of me but, watching a young woman survive each week solely based on her “dimwittedness” and her inability to win competitions, really got under my skin. In a time where it is still difficult to encourage young girls to not be afraid to show boys that they are smart, and that being brilliant, ambitious and even independent is okay, watching Victoria “play” Big Brother left me frustrated and dismayed for our future.
Yes. I can be melodramatic.
While many things contributed to making Big Brother 16 less than ideal for me, the weak female cast really tops the list . I spoke about that in a blog that I wrote asking if the Female Superfan was a myth; because, clearly, if Christine and Nicole were meant to fill that role, they did not do a very good job of it. Even as superfans, Nicotine came across more as avid TV-Only viewers than two girls who were knowledgeable about the underhanded scheming and backstabbing that occurs in the house; and how that impacts their games specifically as young women.
The trend of “getting out the girls” really began week one, when Joey foolishly dared to attempt an all girl alliance. Joey had the right idea but, without the Big Brother knowledge she needed to make it happen, the plan was an instant fail. From that point on, week by week, girls went up on the block and out of the door. With the exception of Devin and Hayden, the contestants, who left the house the first month and a half of the game, were all women. This effectively crippled the girls’ chances of even having an endgame, let alone them making it to the end of the game.
With that said, I do give Nicole credit for at least attempting big moves. At least she tried to not let her HOH’s go to waste. Truthfully, I cannot fault her for trusting Derrick, Cody, Frankie & Christine when they told her that they wanted their Detonator’s alliance member evicted; and it is not really her fault that Caleb does not know how to properly throw a competition.
Still, Nicole went along with Christine and the guys to vote out almost every girl before her, even volunteering to lie to get one of them out. Lost in an alternate reality, these female superfans thought that, what had happened to countless women before them, did not apply to their season of Big Brother.
Now, this part is important!!! I do not want people to confuse my criticism of how the girls played the game with me not liking them as people. Generally speaking, with the exception of Christine and Victoria, I liked the personalities of the women cast this season. The problem is that being Big Brother-Dumb is inevitable with most recruits, and more of them were recruits, or very casual viewers, than guys this season. This placed the women at a big disadvantage.
One can also make the argument that Battle of the Block called for the women to be targeted early on. Since all, but two, of the men were in an alliance together, BoTB offered a cover for their choice of nominees. Almost always perceived as weak (until Team America needed a way to collect an easy $5k), it was a given that women had to be nominated if the HOH wanted to hold on to their crown. It allowed for a built-in justification. Yes, despite the fact that most competitions, played in the game of Big Brother, have nothing to do with brute strength or extreme physicality, putting up the weaker sex had to be done!
Combining the above, this season was a loss, for anyone without a penis, before anyone even stepped through the doors.
Back to Victoria. Victoria, Victoria, dear obtuse Victoria.
I have another confession!
I call Victoria “Veronica,” not only because she was a distant afterthought, during every episode for half of the season (and people -even production- could not remember who heck she was), but also because my sweet little, beautiful niece is also named Victoria; I did not like thinking about her every time the other Victoria did something that made me want to smack her across the face with a Nerf bat. (Besides, it is bad enough that I ALSO have a nephew named Devin and he got to hear me vocalize how much “I hate Devin” in one of my early-season, anti-Devin Shepard rants. My poor baby was confused! I would not be making the same mistake twice – lmao!)
Back to the other Victoria.
In a nutshell, this season left me asking what message has been sent to young girls who are Big Brother fans; will they try to adapt Victoria’s “strategy” as their own, were they to step in the Big Brother house? Does it teach them that it is better to go into the game too unaware to be strategic and too unskillful to win competitions?
How about in real life? Do you have a better chance of skating by if you never grow into a woman who threatens the egos of the men around you? Listening to Victoria speak about her “game” reveals that she is not at all aware of just how little she did to get to the end but, worst yet, she is willing to accept the title of Big Brother 16’s “Last Girl in the House” as some kind of prize-less achievement! (Truly, this makes me want to exchange the Nerf bat for an aluminum one.) Does settling for such a trivial “prize” reveal a deeper problem; that, if you are a woman, it is okay to play second fiddle to men as long as you are atop the pile of other women?
Yes, I know that Big Brother is a game, but it is also a social experiment. The last two seasons of that experiment has shined somewhat of a glaring light on the underlying racism, bigotry and sexism that still exists in our society. While it is easy to turn it off, and go along our merry way at the end of the season, I cannot pretend that it is all just an anomaly. I see it more as a reflection of the society we live in, where girls and young women are taught that dumbing themselves down, to the point of “ditziness,” is cute and appealing; and that it is okay to expect and accept achieving less than their male counterparts. Consider that Victoria does not want to go to the Final 2 to win, she wants to go to the Final 2 so Derrick can win. NO. This is not a game strategy. She really wants this.
Even in her attempts to make it to the final 2, I get the sense that Victoria is more concerned about “looking dumb,” in the eyes of America, than she is about actually getting a chance to walk away with even $50,000. When she thought that she would be evicted, during Frankie’s faux HOH, she was fine with it. She was still the last girl standing! All she wanted to do, on her way out, was help Derrick convince the remaining guys in the house that she and Derrick had fallen out. Once it was revealed that, even when Derrick may have the power to take her to the final 2, he will not do it, that she began to get a glimpse at how unaware she has been of Derrick’s game all season long. Hurt or not, it is still okay because… she is STILL Last Girl in the House!
At some point, feminism was redefined to mean something other than what it was originally intended, and I am sure that I can write a whole series of blogs about that, but for me feminism will always be about equality between the sexes; Big Brother 16 was the antithesis of that.
Here are two glaring examples of “traditional sexism” for you chew on:
In example one, we watched as a guy, Caleb, painted a woman, Amber, into a corner with his stalkerish-obsession for her. After many failed attempts at winning her affection, he finally had enough and went on a rant about how he holds all of the power in their relationship. Amber needed to not only realize that fact, she needed to accept it. It was (and probably still is) his belief that she did not know her place. In BMC’s world, that place is beneath his thumb where solely his opinions, wants and desires matter. Only if she crawled to him, begging on her hands and knees, would she last another week in his house.
We continued to watch as said psycho-obsessed-stalker-douchebag was encouraged by the other men in his “alliance,” even enlisting another douchebag (sorry ZachiStans, your boy was a jerk in the house, whether you choose to acknowledge that or not-lol) to berate Amber at the POV ceremony that saw to her backdooring. The overall message of Amber’s eviction was: If only you had done what “Beastmode” had demanded of you, you would have gotten further in the game, little lady.
Thank the heavens for Amber’s healthy self-esteem.
While we will never know what kind of game Amber would have played, under different circumstances, clearly thinking for herself, and resisting a man’s desire to be with her, was not going to fly in that house.
So ingrained, in our society, is the imbalance of power between the sexes that some women have even defended the way that Caleb treated Amber. This goes to show just how many women have been programmed to recognize men, who are possessive and controlling, as men who are romantic and caring. While, in my opinion, Caleb’s treatment of Amber should be seen as a SCREAMING warning sign to all women, it actually had the opposite effect with some of them. In their minds, Caleb was not the problem, Amber was. If only she would have liked him back, all would have been well… She drove Caleb crazy, she fueled his obsession and Caleb is so much better off without her.
That is life, according the the patriarchal society we have been reared in.
Example two features Derrick and Brittany.
Whereas houseguests accepted a man, Derrick, passionately speaking about how important it is that he is able to take care of his family (even stating that Zach was “taking food out of” his daughter’s mouth with his antics), a woman, Brittany, was scoffed at for expressing that exact same desire in regards to her children. She was effectively shutdown as fellow competitors, essentially, said, “Who gives a fuck?” With Brittany, it was all about how winning Big Brother is not about who needs the money most, and while I DO agree with that, no one (in the house) ever made that argument in regards to Derrick.
The mentality that dictates that it is more imperative for a man to provide for his family, than a woman, has been prevalent in our society for ages. Today, we probably see this play out most glaringly with gender pay inequalities and the difficulties that women still have breaching certain glass ceilings. Those things make it okay for Brittany’s hope for her children to be belittled, while Derrick’s hope is lauded as proof of how great he is as a man.
This, too, is life according to our society. If a woman does not have a man in her life to provide for her, and their children, then that is a failing on her part. (Unless, of course, he has passed away.) She made the choice to have children with a man that she did not remain married to or, if she is really a slut, was not married to in the first place. Struggling to provide for your children comes with the territory of such gross irresponsibility.
Yes, this is 2014.
ATEOTD, it is a game. The guy alliance is not a new concept and, sadly, the ever-elusive girl alliance is not either. I know that many will state that it is women’s own fault that they do not fair better in the game of Big Brother and, while I tend to agree, I also believe that certain mentalities are hard to break away from. Women being led by men is a state that our society is clearly comfortable with. At the same time, you cannot look at how far women have come, and how much we have achieved, and still try to convince me that women cannot work together. I refuse to accept backbiting, which women have come to be known for on reality TV, as the general state of female relations; but I DO worry about the self-fulfilling prophecy that it is training young women to buy into.
I do not like Victoria, not just because I find her personality, lack of game, and general sense of entitlement annoying; but because she is a shining example of everything that I feel young women should not want to aspire to be; Clueless.
I know that many people watch the game of Big Brother solely for entertainment purposes only, and do not really delve into the social experiment aspect of the game as much. If you stuck with me throughout this blog entry, thank you! I would love to hear your take on the women this season. Feel free to comment!
As always, thank you for reading and until, Big Brother Canada 3….. I WISH YOU WELL!
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