Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Big Brother 17 - Post-Show Bullying Kerfuffle

Yesterday Big Brother 17 winner Steve Moses went on Your Reality Recaps to talk all things Big Brother.  He revealed that his sweet and innocent image was concocted to get him on the show, that he allowed Vanessa to make him over to let her believe he was under her spell, and that he never had any alliance to anyone in the house, which may have surprised fans of what some called the Nerdmance between Steve and "rockstar dentist" Johnny Mac.  He disclosed a more mature, calculating gameplayer than the nervous, nauseated innocent we saw talking to himself and us frenetically on the live feeds.

But a thirty second long discussion regarding former Big Brother 15 houseguest and frequent lightning rod Amanda Zuckerman ended up the biggest story to come out of the interview.  After first prefacing that Amanda would love Steve whatever he said about her and that there was no need to tread lightly or be politically correct, YRR interviewer Eric Curto asked Steve a chat room fan's question: Why did you have so much dislike for Amanda.  Steven responded, forcefully, "She was a bully - who was not bullying for strategy."

Eric seemed taken aback.  He asked Steve if he was a fan of past BB winner Dan Gheesling and whether he thought Dan had done the same thing to Danielle Murphree.  Steve admitted to being a Dan fan and went on to differentiate Dan's behavior with Amanda's, telling Eric, "Based on my impression, I think what Dan did was strategy."  Steve went on to explain that he was an Amanda fan and that she did a lot of things well in the game but, "She was a bully and I don't like bullying unless it's game."

This response drew attention from the BB Twitter followers, from podcasters and fans alike.  Many were outraged that Steve drew a bright line between Amanda's behavior her season and Dan's in his.  Whether it was from Amanda fans, Dan haters, or simply those who found Steve's opinion to be hypocritical, the reaction was immediate and explosive.   The discussion that ensued even grabbed the attention of at least one entertainment gossip site (Celeb Dirty Laundry) that blew the entire matter out of proportion, calling Steve's comment an attack on the former houseguest and a sexist rant.

You can see the exchange and decide for yourself.  It starts at 1:50:20.

On the one hand, calling anyone a bully in this day and age is a dangerous trend.  The word is over-used and should be used carefully, not for any time someone uses intimidation or a forceful personality to get their way.  But it is also interesting how Steve's comments may in fact shine a light on some of the very problems that face strong forceful women, not just on reality TV shows, but in politics, in work, at home.  In fact, a cursory Google search of "Dan Gheesling bullying Danielle Murphree" turned up no examples of Dan's behavior, but instead resulted in a number of sites showing Danielle "bullying" Ian.  No such luck for Amanda - the internet was full of links to her "bullying" Elissa.

While this Twitter fight will pass away into history along with all the other silly disputes that come up after every season of Big Brother, maybe the issue of how strong women are perceived versus strong men should not fade away.  And if we can discuss it, civilly, then we're all winners.  Not just Steve.

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