Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jake Pavelka vs. Vienna Girardi: Who is Telling the Truth? Is it in the Eye of the Beholder, or Not?

 [photo of Vienna Girardi and Jake Pavelka,
when allegedly happy together is from here]

What do you see, below? Video can function as a sort of Rorschach test. And in this instance, I think there is gendered distinction as to what people see, but that's a hunch on my part, and I'm checking in with y'all to see if that's the case. I believe masculists (antifeminists) will see one reality, and feminists will see another. I'm not saying ALL masculists will see the same thing, nor that all feminists will see the same thing.

I'm going to analyse these videos soon, but wanted first to hear from friends, colleagues, and visitors of A.R.P. Who, if anyone, do you see as being at fault in this break-up? Who do you feel is being more truthful, and who appears to be lying? Who do you believe and why? And what behaviors do you identify as abusive, if any? You can only watch one and comment on that, if you don't wish to watch all three.

I welcome you to name their behaviors, or identify character traits, or describe troubling interpersonal dynamics. I fill you in a bit on the history of  Vienna and Jake below the videos. The host of the program is Chris Harrison.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The TV show currently airing is called "The Bachelorette". For me, this is a hetero/sexist term that I wish would go away, along with the term "bachelor"*.

This season Ali Fedotowsky, a strong, adventurous white woman, is choosing from among many hopeful men, each striving to form a lasting connection with her, which presumably will lead to marriage. (As you may know, heterosexual marriage is legal in all 50 U.S. states. Everyone on this season's show is white except one man who is Latino. Last season Ali was one of the many women--all white--who was being "courted" by a white man named Jake Pavelka, (aka, "The Bachelor" in early 2010). When he eventually narrowed down number of women to whom he was most strongly drawn, one was Ali and another was Vienna Girardi. (There were two other women, Tenley and Gia, who were among those Jake seemed to be considering as his future mate.)

Ali decided to leave the show for the sake of her career, and Jake ended up falling in love (in an unreal way that the production team of the program encourages) with Vienna, a woman from the East Coast who eventually moved in with him on the West Coast. Following the program, they were engaged and he kept his face in the media by performing as a celebrity contestant on another ABC-TV program, Dancing With The Stars. Vienna generally appeared in the audience, supporting her fiance to do well. They certainly seemed to be getting along well.

Recently, news broke that they've broken up and her story has been in the media, with less information from Jake about what happened. Last night they appeared together on TV for the first time since the break-up, to be interviewed by the host of "The Bachelor/ette", to find out what went wrong.

*          *          * 

* "-ette" means diminutive, smaller, lesser, and "more feminine" as in the difference between a statue and a statuette. It is commonly used in English to apply to terms applied to women, even when there's no male corollary. Sometimes it is tacked onto the end of a word that is generally understood to be "masculine" in order to "feminise" its meaning or the group to whom the term applies. This means, in part, making it appear subordinate and inferior to the male version. What is more valuable or "outstanding" generally speaking: a statue or a statuette?

In Western WHM supremacist society this shows up in the term "suffragette", which was not, at the time, what activist women fighting for women's right to vote called themselves. It is what men called them who wished to demean them. They called themselves suffragists. Male supremacist media and later historians changed the term to "the diminutive form" as a way to "feminise" the activists, and make them appear less credible and also less powerful, which is to say, less "masculine" and more silly. Imagine calling feminists "feminettes" and you get the idea of what the WHM supremacist media was trying to do back in the day--that it is still doing in so many ways.