Well, two evictions down, one to go. The men are being taken down like rotten trees in an orchard. I don't want to draw the gender line, but the women are kicking some serious booty this season; and I'm loving it. Women have been getting a raw deal in this game, being almost always the most criticized even when they have won the game. From the 14 previous seasons, only 5 women have won Big Brother and only up against other women.
Lisa Donahue was the first woman to win BB in season 3, sitting next to Danielle Reyes who is arguably one of the best players to never win the game, losing it because her sarcastic DR comments angered her former fellow housemates. This loss prompted production to introduce the sequestered jury. Interestingly, Dr. Will Kirby who was openly brutal to his fellow housemates, did not lose out as a result,
Jun Song, who turned "floating" into an art form, maneuvered herself expertly to win BB4 against Alison Irwin. However, rather than being praised for her masterful game, Jun was considered the least likable and respected house guest from her season. Yet, male counterparts who won the game equally brutally like Drew Daniel (BB5), Mike Malin (BB7) and Dick Donato (BB9) had huge support from the community and fans.
Maggie Ausburn won BB6 against one of her alliance members Ivette Corredo. She is one of the most hated house guests from one of the most hated BB Alliances, the "Friendship Alliance", dubbed the "Nerd Herd" by the more popular "Sovereign Alliance" of the same season. The fact that she and her alliance not only stuck together to take out the competition, but made it to the final 2 chairs should be something for which they received accolades, yet all they got and continue to get is disdain. Yet, when the Brigade, an all-male alliance from BB12 did the same thing, they won high praise for burning through the house.
When Jordan Llyod won BB11, everyone was quick to say that she was "carried" to the end by her sole alliance and showmance, Jeff Schroeder who was evicted at Final 5. Though she and Jeff have been at the top of the all-time fan faves, many game purists maintain that she was one of the least worthy players to win Big Brother. The ultimate "pawn", Jordan survived 5 nominations to go on and win the final HoH against Kevin Campbell and Natalie Martinez. She is ranked by many as the "least deserving" to win, even below Adam Jacinski whose game, remarks and despicable lie that he worked and will donate to Autism Society surely should win him that spot.
The last female to win Big Brother in season 13, against Prosche Briggs, was Rachel Riley, one of the most polarizing personalities to be cast on the show. Fresh from a much despised appearance on Big Brother 12, Rachel re-entered the game as part of a twist of vets versus newbies along with Dick Donato (who left week one), Daniele Donato, Jordan Llyod, Jeff Schroeder and Brendon Villegas. She entered with the intent to rehabilitate her image, succeeding in winning many fans over to her side. Her win has been criticized as assisted by production with the notorious "Couples Twist" that came into play when Porsche opened Pandora's Box, against her alliance's urging not to. Despite winning 4 HoH competitions, including the the final one, and managing to redeem herself in the eyes of the fans, Rachel occupies the second to last "least deserving" ranking of all time.
It's not surprising that mostly the female winners of this game have made, in one ranking or another, the least deserving title. Fans, game critics and the media have not been kind to the females of this show. They have been attacked on a deeply personal and superficial level, more so than any male to walk through the Big Brother doors.
Is this simply a manifestation of the deeply rooted, misogynistic double-standard that runs throughout many societies? Will the women of this game be constantly splattered under the microscope?
Let's talk about the women in this season.
Elissa, who has the bad luck of being Rachel's sister and has been given the "unfair advantage" in the MVP twist, has already been attacked for her looks, her mannerisms (which are diametrically opposed to Rachel's) and her lack of game play, despite the fact that she's used the MVP to take out two and possibly 3 male threats from the house. The fact that she's been able to keep a calm head despite being the target not only in the game but on a personal level in the house is ignored. The fact that she created a strong and understated alliance with Helen, Andy, Amanda and McCrae is brushed aside. The fact that she can see through lies and manipulation in a game clouded by paranoia is glossed over. I have asked many times, yet never received an answer to the following question: Would fans have been as critical if it was a male relative of a former houseguest that was liked?
Helen, who is part of the MoM Squad with Elissa, has played a passably good game up until this week, working hard to get two and, more than likely, three of the males of the hate-filled "Blondtourage" alliance evicted, despite Elissa being their target, This week, she faltered, mostly because of her propensity to talk too much and give too much away to everyone in the house, succeeding in putting a huge target on her own back. She forgot the cardinal rule of being HoH: make them come to you, get information and say nothing. Her need to turn the BB house into a Disney pavilion has lessened her chances considerably of making it far in the game.
Amanda, who has been a puppet master in the house, managing to turn McCrae away from his initial all-male alliance and getting the votes to evict David and Nick has been vastly criticized for her looks, for the very strategic game she's been playing, for every breath she takes. She's been called a "whale" and other derogatory terms, terms that have not been used to describe any male in the game. In fact, the males have not been criticized for their looks, no matter how imperfect they are.
Candice was the first to sniff out the "Moving Company", yet none of the women would truly listen to her until it all blew up in the air. She has been one of the chief targets of racism in the house but has refused to back down. She has great instincts in the game but has not been given any credit for them. Her friendship with Howie, who has been another target of the disgusting racism in the house, has put a target on her back. Why? Because Howie had the audacity to lie in order to protect his secret alliance that went belly up in week 2. How dare he lie and form alliances in Big Brother? They will both have a hard road ahead of them in this game, but, I fear, Candice will bear the brunt, being a woman,
Jessie, whose interviews in the first episode did not win her any fans, has shown a remarkable backbone, standing up to the bullies in the house. She's mellowed since the first night of the show, but I doubt anyone will take her seriously inside or outside of the game, as a result.
The other women, Aaryn, Kaitlyn and GinaMarie are basically one category of female cast member: the recruits who were chosen based on their looks (They are beautiful women on the outside. They need to work on their inner beauty.) and the concept of what roles they will play in the house. I don't think production could have possibly known what a hot mess of crazy and inappropriate those three would represent. Their lack of social game, their bullying, the racial/homophobic slurs, their focus on finding love on the wrong show make me want to disown them from the female race. But alas, there they are. Any bad publicity they have and will get, they have earned with their words and actions in a game that is transparent to the public.
If Elissa, Amanda, Candice and even Helen make it to the final 2 chairs, these women will have earned their place in the winner's circle. But they probably won't get the props. History has proven this.
Stay tuned. The men are next. ;)