The final dinner party on Married at First Sight NZ brought an ugly misogyny to light. But it was far from the first time sexism reared its head this season, writes Alex Casey.
It began with a man being edited out of the show after his domestic violence charges came to light, and it ended with another man calling a woman a “slut” five times in one sentence. I think we can all agree that this season of Married at First Sight NZ has been a writhing, rancid rat king of toxic masculinity the likes of which the local franchise has never seen.
And – just like a real rat king – cutting the biggest one out doesn’t mean that the rest are instantly free from the tangle.
Last night, that fact has never been more obvious. Over a boozy dinner we ran the gauntlet of homophobia, misogyny, slut-shaming and threats of physical violence before we even made it to dessert. It was a horrible end to a mostly unpleasant season, one that proved once and for all that no amount of Soda Stream can rinse away the pesky stain of sexism.
While some were upset that the horrible content made the final edit at all, it could also be argued that the country needs to see comments like this for what they really are. It’s extremely tiring and boring to have to say this again and again and again but, just as Saturdays are for the boys, sexism and misogyny are rife in New Zealand.
And in just one season of Married at First Sight NZ, we’ve got a ripper list to wade through.
“You know you’ve got to pash her eh? Because, if you don’t pash her, I’m going to throat punch you.”
Whoever said romance was dead! In the build-up to Jimmy and Carmen’s wedding, a major plot point was made of Sam the groomsman’s threat that he would throat punch Jimmy if he didn’t kiss his new wife with enough tongue at the altar. I went from never hearing the two words “throat punch” together in my life, to hearing them over six times in the course of a 56 minute episode. Love New Zealand.
Sam was insistent on the amount of tongue “slip-in” required, even if it meant making Jimmy’s new bride uncomfortable. “If she pulls away like ‘that’s too full noise’, you’ve got to be following like this,” he explains, lunging forward with his tongue out. Ever wondered what happened to the boys who chanted “tits out for the boys, tits out for the boys” at the sixth form ball? Wonder no more.
“I’ve tried lots of different ways of finding women, through online dating to apps, to going down to the bar and trying to drag one home like a caveman”
I don’t know, maybe just don’t talk about dragging women home on television or absolutely ever, Christopher?
“I’ve never dated a woman who spends so much time dollying themselves up”
Too right Christopher, how very dare your wife Rose care about how she looks! How dare women buckle under the pressure from a society that has taught them for centuries to strive to be younger, smoother, prettier, skinnier and better with every day of their precious life that passes!!! “They will not match me with a woman who wants to go shopping down Queen Street,” commanded Christopher, before spending an afternoon on Queen Street fighting with shop assistants over which hankie matched his suit the best.
Of course, when a woman goes clothes shopping, it’s vapid. When a man goes clothes shopping, it’s a personality.
Stefaan also voiced a palpable disdain for his wife Vicky’s heavy mask of makeup (touch of mascara and eyebrow pencil). “I don’t date dolls,” the man who confessed to never having dated anyone for more than two weeks said in Fiji. He was worried that “makeup will be a problem” when they go down to the supermarket, and that Vicky cared too much about how she looked. Of course, when they returned to Auckland, Stefaan underwent a dramatic makeover including getting a haircut and shopping for a new wardrobe.
Because, again, a man caring about how he looks = kooky and sweet. A woman caring about how she looks = vindictive mascara witch.
“My ex-wife was a lawyer, my last fiancée was a meteorologist, Rose is an eyelash extensionist”
Sorry but you have a go at gluing individual eyelashes along a stranger’s eyeball all day long! Literally the precision and skill of a heart surgeon.
“Is she your P.A., Jono?”
For someone who considers himself a fiercely loyal friend who will always go into bat for his boys, Jimmy did NOT like it when Vicky (Victoria when she’s in trouble with Jimmy) stood up for her friend Jono.
“I’ll probably knock you out shortly cunt”
When Christopher made the same observation as I just did above, Jimmy completely lost it. He muttered this threat of violence menacingly to Christopher, teeth in a snarl and eyes wild.
The thing that makes me the saddest is that we’ve seen Jimmy be a sweet, soft, melty man, clearly falling in love but terrified to admit it. But around other lads and free booze, something scarily familiar happens. He gets aggressive, he swears at people, and we hear Carmen quietly pleading with him to stop. He seldom stops.
“She is a diva. If you don’t believe it, search the definition”
Ray also decided to hate on Vicky last night during the dinner party version of The Purge that precisely no people asked for. After asking her to “shush” multiple times and Vicky somehow still maintaining a glacial calm, Ray took to shit-talking her delightedly in his talking head interview when he realised he couldn’t get anything else out of her. I’ve searched the definition of diva and I was frankly overjoyed with what I found.
“You’re a bitchy little princess”
Jono to Ray.
“You’re being a bit of a queen here.”
Jimmy to Jono.
“Vicky’s looking like a slut on TV, and she’ll probably always look like a slut on TV because she is a slut. And sluts will be sluts.”
Coming from Jimmy, the man who boasted about his sexual prowess, who grilled everyone over their favourite sex positions, who once described his new human wife as “a tidy wee unit”, this sentence single-handedly completed the fucked up meltdown of MAFSNZ S3 as it took on its final, hideous form. Tonight, Jimmy will have a chance to explain himself, but I think the fate of Married at First Sight NZ can probably best be summed up by this ominous platitude.