“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”—Carl Jung
Just when I thought it was safe to get back in the churning waters of reality TV…Silly me. Whatever made me think I could get away from mean girls and bullies? Recent personal events have made me super sensitive and yet once again, I find myself cringing at the deplorable, disgraceful behavior of women in competition, this time on Celebrity Apprentice.
As on Top Chef, a clique of female bullies is creating drama(and boosting the ratings.) The bombastic duo of Lisa Lampanelli, the aptly-nicknamed Queen of Mean, and Aubrey O’Day, a Neely O’Hara for the Millenial Generation, are the sharks in the waters. Rather than simply get snarky and attack these women as has been done by dozens of fellow bloggers and YouTube commenters, I want to ponder what makes women move away from collaboration and compassion to ruthless aggression.
Lisa Lampanelli claims that her mom was a tough Italian mom. She has survived in a male-dominated field through her foul humor and ball-buster persona. A self- avowed couch potato who aspires to be driven around in a wheelchair despite not being disabled(at least this was one of the soundbites we got on last week’s episode,) she is set in her negative ways. They have meant success for her and it’s a formula she is not about to change.
What to make of Aubrey who went from UC Irvine sorority sister to Pam Anderson lookalike Playboy centerfold? She is two-thirds of The Valley of the Dolls storyline, without the sentiment. Once P.Diddy’s protégé, she has become the arch-villain on Celeb Apprentice for her narcissistic ways and what Trump has dubbed her “mouthpiece,” a way with words that can only be described as vicious.Still, as much as I want to strangle her for her on-air cattiness and crocodile tears, I also wonder what is beneath the layers of makeup, hair dye, and colored contacts. She is someone’s daughter. This beautifully made fan video haunts me.
It makes me question what it is we tell women about what it means to have power and influence, identity and image. Why, rather than be a facilitator who fosters understanding and cooperation, does someone choose to be a predator? Male or female, it is high time we move away from attacking and destroying one another, even if it means we don’t win the prize of cash, popularity, or an ego boost.
On a personal note, Aubrey and Lisa’s antics serve as stark reminders of my own struggles with being bullied and being a bully. I have made a conscious effort in the last few months to work on being a person of greater love and openness.