Real Housewives of Melbourne Finale – The Antithesis of what women need to do to lift each other up

Real Housewives of Melbourne (RHOM)

I am a fan of the franchise of Real Housewives. I love the Beverly Hills, Orange County and New York variety. I’m not so keen on Atlanta (can’t relate, don’t know why), New Jersey is just bizarre and Sydney was a flop for me. I did however enjoy Melbourne, until season 4. The finale was an absolute disgrace and embarrassment for women. Intelligent, educated, affluent and beautiful women, hurling insults across the table with pin point pain accuracy. What it did do however was get women and girls I know talking.

Age Shaming of Janet

Gina hosts a get together with Lydia and Venus, and make the comment regard Venus’ mum “She’s basically our age…she’s younger than Janet…(Venus and Lydia laughing like hyenas)”

Lydia goes on to say “but Janet’s an old mole anyway”.

Janet, the more mature of the pack was crucified for something she can’t help: her age. Venus, a solicitor FFS, was extremely spiteful claiming to be “just stating a fact”, drawing attention to Janet’s more mature status, in a so called compliment who, as a lawyer Venus knew would a. hurt Janet to the core, and b. used the defense that it was a compliment:

“I have a lot of respect for you Janet, because you are a lot older than all of us”

Gamble's reaction to Venus patronising Janet
Gamble’s reaction to Venus patronising Janet (courtesy of Foxtel, used under Fair Use Act)
Jackie's reaction to Venus' comments about Janet's maturity
Jackie’s reaction to Venus’ comments about Janet’s maturity

Venus: “I’m saying a fact. You are a lot older than all of us…You don’t need to offend me when I make a comment about your age. If you have a problem with your age, that’s your problem.” Ummm, I don’t actually thing Janet does, but Venus phrased it in such as way as to offend. And the people editing this would have loved it, for the ratings. Drama brings viewers, but myself and friends were horrified by this nastiness and deliberately pointed barbs, which is probably a feeble attempt to get back on the show next season. Arena, please don’t bring Venus back. She is nasty and likes to create problems, but they aren’t fun to watch.

Venus goes on to say “I’m not one to put women down, so I’ve just stooped to your level”, which is at odds because Venus was the initiator of the age shaming of Janet and she hurls back the line “that’s what happens when you look up to your elders”.

Janet's reaction to Venus' age shaming, patronising "compliment" about respecting her elders.
Janet’s reaction to Venus’ age shaming, patronising “compliment” about respecting her elders.
Gamble is gobsmacked by Venus' comments on Janet's age.
Gamble is gobsmacked by Venus’ comments on Janet’s age.

Then, in the commentary Lydia says, regarding Janet’s appearance, which is probably due to botox or a face lift: “We all know those arches are famous, but you’re not”.

Janet finally comes back with “You pretend to be something…you are a total fake” and gets the reaction below. Venus clearly isn’t used to people having a comeback. I am not going to put Venus down here because this article is about women taking over from where men left off 20 years ago. We are still subjugating one another and trampling ladies along the way, rather than pulling on another up.

Janet: "You pretend to be something, you are a total fake"
Janet: “You pretend to be something, you are a total fake”.

Now I’m not condoning insults to other women about their appearance, but I don’t blame Janet for throwing this shade.

But wait, Venus comes back with a skip bin full of shade “I think you’re fake, your nose is fake, your tits are fake, you’re face is fake”. Venus by her own admission has embraced plastic surgery, hair extensions, fake nails, nose job, boob job, she wears coloured contact lenses and so on. Why would she even say this? We know they’ve all had work and that’s a woman’s perogative and none of anyone else’s business.

Janet finally fights back with some power, calling Venus out on the purchased title of Lord and Lady “you’re whole thing of calling yourselves Lord and Lady is f***ing bullsh*t”. Very true. There’s no actual blue blood. And Janet is merely stating a fact.

Venus also says “the biggest thing I’ve learned about this (the show) is that age doesn’t give you class and all I share with some of the ladies is a vag*na”. Nice. If that’s the biggest thing Venus learned from being a cast member on the show, it’s a real shame. I imagine the being under the spotlight could offer a genuine opportunity for self-reflection and growth.

Anyway Janet add the full stop, and calls Venus a “scumbag”. Who can blame her?

I feel Venus tries to compensate for being little by having a sharp tongue. At the level of her career should she showing a touch more compassion towards other women. After all, we are all going to be mature on day.
I feel Venus tries to compensate for being little by having a sharp tongue. I believe she’s be more likeable if she showed a touch of compassion towards other women.

Calling Janet a Drunk

OK so if you are concerned about someone’s drinking, genuinely, you would think it is something you’d call attention to with the producers, and keep off camera, but no, the adversarial barrister Gina Liano steps in once again to further insult Janet.

“You are a drunk and you would think by the time you are your age you’d have more wisdom…you just open your mouth and spray sh*t…you could put a hose up Janet’s backside and fertilise the garden…I’ve got four words for you – high mileage, low rent”.

I can’t help thinking that people watching her in this show are hardly likely to want to use Gina as their barrister. I do wonder if it has affected her business.

Lastly, Janet, showing insight and wisdom says “You know what? Somewhere along the line, someone’s done this to Gina, and she’s learned this tactic, so you’ve got to feel sorry for her too, same with…Venus”

Slut Shaming Gamble

Lydia, always has a way with words
Lydia, always has a way with words

During the course of this season Gamble, a bubbly, loving and heart on her sleeve character, was accused of marrying her husband for his money, by the very person that performed the ceremony, Gina Liano. That’s a pretty big accusation: “Well, we all know she married that man for his money!” (Lydia, Venus laughed). Then, at the final dinner, Gamble playfully throws a napkin and says “Oh you love to gossip”. There was no malice it was just trying to lighten the mood IMO. Lydia, then hurls back the serviette with the comment…”oh shut up your stupid slu…woman” to Gamble.

Putting Down Women who Threaten You

Now, I have tried to like Gina, as she as a pivotal a-type personality, a barrister and I had hoped someone to be motivated by (like say, Lisa Vanderpump). This has not proven to be the case in this series of RHOM. Gina, transparently threatened by fellow a-type personality, Sally (the strong, sassy, sexy newcomer). Gina took an instant dislike of Sally, who, after recently losing her husband has launched a hotel, and started this season on RHOM. Gina put down Sally’s style “at least am feminine and dress like a women” and the comment “her camel teeth”. During the last dinner, this was Gina’s face pretty much when ever Sally spoke.

Gina Liano whenever Sally spoke
Gina Liano whenever Sally spoke

Gina in an earlier episode came up with a story about Sally calling Gina a “wog bitch”. I’m no psychologist, but Sally’s behaviour was exemplary and showed integrity during the series, despite the her personal challenges and the fact that she is probably still grieving. It would be completely out of character for her to say something racist or putting another woman down. She stands up for the bullied Gamble, and called Gina out on her behaviour. I believe Gina concocted this insult to try to make Sally look bad.

Gina is adversarial by nature, and everything is a win/lose situation, at all costs. She even drew Lydia into the fray and Lydia backed up the statement (which I believe is a lie because she even says “why would I lie?” when no one accused her of lying, which is a sure sign of a lie). The other ladies who where there said they heard nothing of the sort. And frankly, can you imagine, being filmed around the clock and the producers not using that piece of ratings gold to create more problems?

Gina, put your fingers in your ears and sing “la la la la la” but I’m calling bullsh*t on this.

Gina Liano's reaction to Sally trying to sort out the BS.
Gina Liano’s reaction to Sally trying to sort out the BS.

Sally was totally right: “You throw a little pebble at Gina and a boulder comes back, and then another boulder and another one”. Gina is clearly rattled for being called out finally.

“Stop trying to be in my face and relevant, cos you’re not” was Gina’s response when backed into a corner for her nasty behaviour. It shows that Gina is fiercely concerned with being relevant and that the show is a marketing exercise for her. And that’s fine, but why try to rise up buy trampling others underneath?

Body Shaming

Lydia’s mum feigning concern over Gamble’s body “She looks a bit thin, last year she looked fantastic”. Lydia again feigning concern “Yeah, I’ve been a bit worries about her, it she all right? She doesn’t look it…”

As the conversation progresses, Lydia’s mother called Janet a “skinny prune, dried prune”.

I could go back through the episodes to find additional examples of total nastiness that characterised the 4th season of RHOM, but you get the picture.

Australian women, is this the best we can do? I know there are people who love the drama, but not me. I like the cars, the clothes, the glamour and living variously through watching women my own age, and I think it’s because many cast members are easy to relate too, as they aren’t perfect, they aren’t 20.

Ladies, this show reveals that some of us ladies haven’t come a long way baby. We don’t need to tear strips of one another, fat shaming, thin shaming, bullying, accusing a fellow cast make on camera of being racist or a drunk.

The group that comprises Gina, Lydia and Venus, were consistently adversarial, went for the jugular, and frankly pulled down the show. I think Gina needs her own show, she can’t play nicely with the others. Venus was, in my opinion trying to be over the top (which I suspect was a tactic Gina shared with her to get more attention on the show). I really didn’t like how she was portrayed, but if she is like this in real life, I hope they replace her for season 5. Lydia is a little uneducated, and a bit of a Gina fan, and drinks a lot of Gina’s Cool Aid.

As modern, free women, I feel we should be compassionate, empathetic, kind and loyal towards other women. The women who shone this season were Gamble (her song to her husband was beautiful and heart felt, especially since she overcame hearing loss at an early age), Sally (scattering her husband’s ashes was a bittersweet scene, and she showed such strength after a huge loss), Jackie (who tried to stay out of the way, but did interject when needed and the amazing workshop that empowered women). Overall, due to the bitchiness, I was very disappointed this season. It’s everything I hated about high school. We women can do better.

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