Episode 10: Women Tell All
Second, I promised myself I wouldn't do a full Women Tell recap because, as I've said before, it's not developmental episode. (Last year was a fluke because I was so fired up about the definition of "classy".) In the Tell All episodes, there aren't edits or ITMs to dissect and analyze. In fact, it's the chance for contestants to defy those very edits, and they often do.
I've nonetheless included a few talking points, and of course, the Best Dressed section. :) I look forward to your commentary! ♥
I'll be referencing my Flare recap a lot. First, I mentioned how contestants that you haven't seen a lot of suddenly seem to get a lot of screen time, even involving themselves in battles that aren't theirs to fight. Jami provided an excellent example of this...
Don't get me wrong. I'm not taking Leah's side in the throwing-Lauren B-under-the-bus debacle. (However, I did at the time express irritation that whatever footage could've told us it was coming was left on the cutting room floor.) The above, combined with Jami spearheading the race discussion, tells me a producer either nudged her to not be a quiet wallflower, or outright promised a spot on Paradise if she "performed". Or both. Regardless, I would be very, very surprised if we didn't see Jami on Paradise this summer.
Said race discussion became quite a hot topic on the Flare recap as well. I maintain what I said over there, but also think there's a question of semantics. Indeed, there's a difference between calling yourself "real" black and "full" black...
I honestly cannot see how the above is offensive in any way. Granted, I relate to Jubilee's frankness and love how no-BS she is, even at the risk of being offensive. But a commenter named Morgan made a good point over at Flare:
"Hey Sharleen, Glad you decided to bring up race. (FWIW, I’m also half Asian/half white and identify as hapa.) One thing I’ve learned in the past couple years as I’ve read up more on race is that in the US being black is more complicated than what your DNA says. Under Jim Crow, individuals who even had up to one black great-grandparent were considered black (as opposed to white or biracial). This “one drop rule” was of course used to discriminate against millions of people. TLDR: in America, we have a history of seeing anyone who is any amount of black heritage (think Obama) as black. So for Jubilee to say that she was “full black” likely didn’t ring true to Amber who has likely identified as black (full stop) her whole life."
I agree with Morgan's point, but to me the issue of semantics is still relevant. I can absolutely see how Amber and Jami—who do indeed likely identify as black—would be offended by Jubilee referring to herself as "real" black. But not so with "full" black. This is perception versus fact. The perception (for most, anyway—I still struggle as seeing Amber and Jami as anything but mixed) is of course that all three women are black. But the fact is, Jubilee is genetically full black, while the other two ladies are not. Also, and this is extremely sensitive but worth mentioning for the sake of this argument: Based on our current culture—the racism and prejudice that still (maddeningly) exist today based on skin color (and yes, the "shades" of skin color)—it is unlikely Amber or Jami are unhappy being biracial. And for anyone wondering: I am half Asian but identify as Asian, not because of my cultural upbringing (although my mother did attempt to put me in Chinese school for awhile), but because of the public perception of how I look. However, while I have endured my own share of prejudice for being Asian (particularly when I lived in East Germany), I would never assume that I've gotten the same degree of discrimination that a full Asian woman might have.
To me, the whole race argument—particularly at Women Tell All, when frankly there have been plenty of private ways to have cleared this up—felt contrived. I've said this a million times: All the girls exchange numbers, tweets, Instagram posts, and more after filming is over. After our season wrapped filming, we had a big What's App group chat. To bring up a highly sensitive topic—which was never addressed on the show—to a woman who obviously didn't see it coming, felt out-of-the-blue, forced for the sake of drama, and in poor taste.
As an aside, you simply MUST read this NPR article about The Bachelor and its weird relationship with race. It delves into what it would mean if Caila—a "Hapa"—were to become the first visible minority lead in the show's history. It's a fascinating read, and as a Hapa myself, I could relate to much of it.
Moving on to Olivia. I've clearly been very supportive of Olivia all season, but I am practical and believe in the where-there's-smoke adage. So, while I don't think Olivia meant any harm all season, she must have done something to rub so many women the wrong way. I mentioned this in the recap for that episode, but a good example was in Mexico when she insinuated the other women were only into doing each other's hair and painting their nails, while she wanted to read books and talk "smart things". In saying those things she showed a lack of mindfulness with her words. You can see how that lack of mindfulness could be a pattern, resulting in unintentionally bragging about her relationship with Ben, or carelessly insinuating Amanda was there just because of her "sob story".
I think Jennifer was absolutely right when she dropped the mic with...
I suspect she's correct that Olivia probably didn't make much of an effort (likely because she felt so different that it didn't feel worth the effort, or perhaps she felt no effort was being made to get her). But not all folks have an easy time getting to know new people, and the social dynamics in the mansion are ruthless. Cliques are formed that very first night, and for the sake of survival you must make that effort. I said in the Us Weekly Breakdown that I thought Olivia knocked her hot seat time out of the park. She took responsibility for her behavior, saying she said things terribly and that her personality was not right for that setting. Plus, she sincerely apologized to Amanda, which was necessary and I think appreciated.
Overall, she said one thing that I cannot agree with enough:
I've expressed this very same sentiment before. She's absolutely right. If only all the cyberbullies out there would register that it's THEM she's referring to and take it to heart.
A special mention has to be made for Amanda, who was the classiest apology recipient of the episode...
THIS is what Women Tell All is about. Too many contestants cling onto the vitriol, continue to play the blame game, and ultimately come off petty. Amanda actually had reason to be upset with Olivia (Olivia DID say that if she were Ben she'd run in the opposite direction of a woman with kids) but chalked it up to the Bachelor bubble. She graciously and sincerely accepted Olivia's apology and moved on.
Okay, onto some lighter fare. A reader named Kirsten wrote me and asked me to make .GIFs of the following two bloopers...
My favorite thing about the bloopers is how it gives you a GLIMPSE of the girls' real, goofy personalities. Also, this was an EPIC one that gave me a true LOL:
There were several solid showings, as is often the case with WTA. I love it when the women BRING IT. First up is Lauren H with her lace overlay mini...
I don't know if I'd love this dress if it were sleeveless, but the combination of long lace sleeves, that open back, and that color is so shamelessly feminine, I'm in love. I would have loved to see her hair in some sort of romantic, loose chignon (to let the open back shine), but that's splitting hairs. Lauren H's lace mini sells HERE.
Leah's dress also caught my eye...
Again, this is a dress where the sleeves elevate the whole look. I love how this dress is a sort of lace-meets-mesh-meets-crochet combo, and I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like it. Plus, that cool grey (or pale lavender?) color is to die for. Leah's "Lacie" dress is from Ritual boutique and sells HERE. (Side note: It would appear Lauren B has paid them a visit as she's featured on the site a lot having worn their items.)
Becca was positively glowing in her embellished romper...
I love the silhouette of this piece; those cape-like sleeves and the balancing of covered-up versus not. Plus, not everyone could pull off something this glittery and beaded but Becca looks like a goddess in it. (And I know not everyone could pull it off because I've tried on that very romper at Bloomingdale's... let's just say it didn't work for me the way it works for Becca!) Her "Kimora" embellished romper is by Parker and comes in Antique Gold (Becca's color) as well as Black. Both sell HERE. If you want that sequined romper look but don't want to spend $400+ (and are willing to forgo the intricate details), there's one in a similar color to Becca's for only $34 HERE.
Runner-up for Best Dressed is Olivia in her white jumpsuit...
Such crisp, modern goodness! I love how slick this jumpsuit is, with the emphasis on sophistication over sex appeal. (Though there is also a sexiness to it, it's not the focus.) With her modern bob, this ensemble just had that "pow!" factor. Olivia's Zimmerman crepe harness jumpsuit sells HERE and HERE. Her Jimmy Choo "Feline" sandals are sold out (HERE) but if you're a 37 (HERE) or 40.5 (HERE), you're in luck! The necklace she wore with this outfit (not pictured) is the Alexis Bittar "Miss Havisham" pendant necklace in Gunmetal and it sells HERE.
Best Dressed is Jennifer in her stunning nude mesh dress...
Yeah, yeah, I know I'm predictable! I'm such a sucker for nude dresses with interesting silhouettes, especially if there's a cutout and/or open back. (Check, check, check, and check.) I love the contrast of Jennifer's dark hair with this color. So many people might look washed-out in this shade, but she just looks feminine and elegant. Jennifer's Misha Collection "Keziah" dress sells HERE. There is also a mini version HERE. Her earrings are from BaubleBar and sell HERE.
Until next week (the Finale!), fellow pandas!