“Bad Girls Club” and the profitability of the misogynist in reality TV

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The show staged in the Bad Girls Club mass appeal was the promise of anti-black violence, misogynist and narrative exploitation of women in need of real help.

By Monika Estrella Negra

Bad girls club, in which a group of self-proclaimed “Bad Girls” get the chance to share their toxic social skills together in a mansion, caused a stir in the early 2000s. Now, the controversial reality show is back on Hulu. The original series was accepted in queer circles and socialite lovers. However, he was quickly criticized for his portrayals of black women and women with mental health issues.

While the show’s setting was billed as a “reform school for temperamental girls,” the premise fell flat in her analysis of why these young women felt so much desperation. “Jobs” and therapists were provided in different seasons to “heal” women, but the show presented in its mass appeal was the promise of anti-black violence. After all, the spectacle of black body violence and social media misogyny go hand in hand when it comes to notes. Many of the women chosen for the show were living with mental illness, addiction, or earned their reputation as a “bad girl” by living on their own terms and avoiding respectability and decorum.

The series has occupied cult status in my social circle for its little drama, but you have to keep in mind the real effects of alcoholism, mental health neglect, and the politics of toxic respectability between women. Looking back, I think I watched the show because it reminded me of how far I had come in my own healing process, after years of dealing with trauma and addiction. However, my personal life was never on display for others to judge and witness, which is why I felt the need to explore the toxicity of the show now that it’s back.

Bad girls club is blatant in its misogyny and its anti-darkness. The end products seen on TV are a microcosm of what editors and producers want to tell us about these specific people. This is where the power of production and editing lies: they have the power to reinforce harmful stereotypes. They also have the power to distort narratives using images obtained during the three months of filming. The women presented are products of their environment, especially with regard to the non-black participants. They also lack the power to control their own stories and the context behind some of the most vile behaviors ultimately seen on television.

Because the show operates through a narrative crafted by white producers, it’s no surprise that anti-noir and racist undertones are found in the final product. It also proves that the producers were irresponsible and failed to protect these women while they were in vulnerable positions. The houses they were placed in always contained a sip of alcohol, and the brawls that did occur were only interrupted if they seemed too violent. The show’s real intention was to create a loose narrative of the filmed relationships for a large audience. In this case, the “wickedness” of white women is based on their ability to use black slang as a weapon and to engage in “questionable” behaviors that distance them from the angelic image attributed to white femininity. Despite their refutation of these cultural expectations, their tendency to espouse racist microaggressions and unbridled privileges has persisted.

Lip injections, breast work, free display of wealth and sexuality helped create an atmosphere for women of color and white women to internalize and benefit from black culture. . Social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter have only amplified the culture vulture aesthetic, making it very lucrative for media moguls and others. Perez Hilton, the host of the show’s reunion until Season 7 and a figure known for harboring the worst attributes of cis, white, gay men in Blackface, was a nod to the type of audience the broadcast was largely intended.

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In season 7 of Bad girls club, we were introduced to a diverse set of women who were placed in a luxurious mansion in New Orleans. This particular season continues to resonate with me due to its racist portrayals of “voodoo,” black spiritual agency, and the blatant demonization of assertive black women. The house was fairly balanced when it came to ethnicity – the social order being established by class, race, and height. Like most franchises, women all liked each other until the alcohol shattered the uncomfortable truths. Judi, a fair-skinned black woman from Chicago, was the first to break the mold with her drinking and wacky tactics, which made her become public enemy number one. It was clear that Judi had relied on alcohol to heal herself, and instead of getting angry, the other black women in the house tried to meet her where she was. This is often what has happened in homes, regardless of the season. Black women tended to take care of each other, while non-black women of color and white women often clustered together. While the others rejected, imitated and made fun of the black women in the house, they still managed to use and appropriate the slang, manners and fashions. Tasha and Shelly were the most egregious examples of non-black women using black culture while being harmful to black people, especially black women.

Tasha was the epitome of a non-black woman of color who carried anti-blackness into her social circles. A Persian socialite from Miami, Tasha voluntarily exposed herself as anti-Black in the opening episode. Upon meeting Anastasia, Tasha confidently explained that many of her friends in Tuscaloosa were black and would likely get along just fine. Tasha’s closeness to Blackness was expressed only through her personal taste for men. Throughout the series, she has referred to the black women in the house as “ghetto,” “trash,” “loud,” “dirty” – dog whistles for the non-black person who already knows what black women are. are considered to be. Shelly, the show’s symbolic lesbian, was a “progressive” white woman who dated another woman serving in the military. The first night she was combative with Judi, claiming that Judi was trash and classless at a club. From the start, Shelly tried to assert her dominance over the house, while also claiming that she was the “mother” figure of the group. Shortly after, Shelly made a racist prank in the limo and was quickly stopped by Judi. Shelly’s response was fierce, especially given the way she continually played out her “liberal” identity.

Reality TV will never be able to tell the unfiltered stories of black women. While the experiences are real, the montage complicates the way these women are received by people who have no idea what their struggle is all about. Syndication of Bad girls club still resonates with so many young women just trying to figure it out. For some participants, it was an experience that followed them forever and for others, just a consequence of being “young and carefree”. While the “solutions” provided by the producers have been offered in the form of “redress” for the women, the larger discussion of how society played a role in their self-sabotaging behaviors has been ignored. Could it be that these women, especially black women, are reacting to a world that has never heard their cries for help?

With my own story of destructive anger and self-sabotage, I can speak from the experience of what happens when the world seems to be against you. The therapy helped curb some of my recklessness, but it did not resolve the issues of constant misogyny and discrimination that I faced that caused the inflammatory reactions. Becoming a “productive” citizen by getting a “good job” would not eliminate the defense mechanisms I had internalized to survive. This is probably why my friends and I found ironic solace on the show, because we knew the advice given to these women was just as shady as the premise of the show.

Bad girls club is simply a reminder of the mistakes of society, especially when it comes to helping black women in crisis. Anyway, the black women of Bad girls club leave a lasting impression on other black women who feel like they are constantly screaming into the void. Ultimately, we can only rely on the power of our own narratives to be truly seen. Reality TV will never be able to accomplish such an incredible feat.

Monika Estrella Negra is a freelance journalist, filmmaker and curator of everything radical in the media. Her first short film titled “Flesh” is about a Black female serial killer navigating the DIY punk scene in Chicago (whose program was featured in the “Horror Noire” program). She has directed three additional shorts, “They Will Know You By Your Fruit”, “Succubus” and the in-production film “Bitten, A Tragedy”. Writer, Nomadic Priestess, Spiritual Gangster and All Around Rabblerouser – Monika has written essays for Syfy Fangrrls, Wear Your Voice Mag, Black Girl Nerds, Grimm Magazine, Black Girls Create, Black Youth Project, Rue Morgue, Fangoria and is the author from a zine series (Tales From My Crypt). In addition, she is the creator of Audre’s Revenge and the Black and Brown Punk Show Chicago, filmmaker-in-residence at GRRL Haus cinema (2019) and editor for Decoded Pride. Twitter: @ negramonika1. IG: @ audres.revenge.film

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