‘I like to watch MTV for escapist pleasure’ – Anne Hathaway
Much like when I watched the last episode of season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, I was so taken by what happened in the final of The Challenge: Final Reckoning that I was compelled to but my thoughts down in one place.
Many people wont have heard about MTV show The Challenge, although I do believe it’s shown on MTV UK. But the premise is half Big Brother, half I’m and Celeb and was originally previous cast members of MTV shows The Real World and Road Rules. It’s based around all cast members (usually split into pairs or teams) living in a house together and competing in different challenges (some physical, some mental) with one team or pair getting eliminated each week.
The most recent reason of the Challenge saw contestants matched up with their rivals or vendettas from previous seasons, the winning team being awarded a cool $1 million dollars. The twist in the tale however is that the highest individual performer in the winning team got to decide whether they kept the money for themselves or split it with their partner.
So now you’re completely up to speed, from here on in there be spoilers so don’t read any further if you don’t want to know what happens….
After Johnny Bananas savagely did Sarah out of the prize money on Rivals III and seeing the teams in the final (Joss and Sylvia, Ashley and Hunter, CaraMaria and Marie and Natalie and Paulie) I was 99% confident that whoever won the money would split it with their partners. No one seemed to have fallen out that much along the way that would warrant denying their partner $500,000.
There was a mere 30 seconds between the winning team with Ashley and Hunter just stealing the title away from Joss and Slvia after the later were given a deadly grenade by Natalie and Paulie meaning they suffered a time penalty in the final challenge.
When TJ announced that Ashley was the over all winner she took about a millisecond to think about it before declaring:
‘All those things you said about all the other partners is true, but this guy’s belittled me, put me down, slut shamed me and also threatened my life and my family’s life. I’m keeping the money’
Oh, damn son! Suffice to say Hunter did’t take it like the Southern gentleman he has so often proclaimed to be. Herein lies the beauty of reality elevision. As Hunter venomously denies ever threatening Ashley’s family or calling her a slut, the audience are treated to the clip of him doing both those things. In the same sentence. Seems that his bravado is much higher than his IQ if he momentarily forgot he was being filmed 24 hours a day.
Hunter proceeded to go on a four letter word littered assessment of Ashley’s choice. Therein solidifying that she’d made the right choice after all. I genuinely don’t believe Hunter is sorry for slut shaming Ashley because he probably doesn’t even remember saying it, because he probably speaks about women that way on a daily basis and doesn’t see anything wrong with this. One of those humorous parts of the episode for me was Hunter insisting he’d never spoken disrespectfully about Ashley then went on to call her a ‘f*cking piece of sh*t’ and a ‘stupid b*tch’. Come on Hunter pet, the brain is also a muscle (of sorts).
I’m sure some would argue that Hunter carried Ashley, or at the very least she wouldn’t have been in the final were it not for him. And while this may be true, she out performed him in the final challenge and he called her a slut on national television. For someone who wangs on about karma in his rant of misogyny, the definition of word is clearly lost on the poor lamb. Karma’s not coming for her, but it did show up to his pity party.
So in answer to my original question; did Ashley do the right thing? Too bloody right she did the right thing. I’ve watched every season of The Challenge since it launched in 2000 and there has always been a running theme of misogyny. The boys can bed hop and cheat on their girls from home and no one bats an eyelid, but a girl does it (in fact I believe Ashley was single when she hooked up with Kyle so #shrugging shoulders emoji) then she’s a slut or ‘polidicking’. When Hunter describes himself as a ‘southern gentleman’ what he means is he treats his women right as long as she stays in the kitchen and doesn’t talk too much.
The tides are changing on the Challenge and I couldn’t end this post without giving a shout out also to fellow female competitor badass CaraMaria who singlehandedly won the previous season. The girls are holding their own against all the upside down triangle shaped, steroid pumped blokes and the blokes don’t like it. After all when men like Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump can be successful whilst still speaking about women like utter garbage no wonder a jacked up, redneck, bigoted imbecile like Hunter believes he can too.
It would all be quite funny if it wasn’t so tragic.