I’m a simple lesbian: you put gay women on Australian television and I come running, like a golden retriever after a cyclone blew through the dog-whistle factory.
Let me get one thing straight, no matter the contestant’s sexual orientation, every year MAFS lights a new dumpster fire in the middle of a countrywide fire ban.
On the other hand, Aussie reality TV, when it comes to the representation of queer women, is like a straight version of the Scooby Squad (minus Velma, obviously) driving around in their Mystery Machine foiling everyone’s good time with the metaphorical insertion of a penis.
Need I remind everyone of the Bachelor In Paradise Alex/Brooke/Bill toxic triangle of sh*t and misery. #JusticeForBralex.
If I said I went into episode two optimistically, I’d be lying. I went into it sceptical and full of dread with little to no relief for 70 mins, well 30-ish mins – I fast-forwarded through all the straight bits.
When 95 per cent of the lesbian media you’ve endured ends in death, or worse, your hero’s girlfriend suddenly becomes straight, cynicism becomes your favourite binge buddy. I mean come and see me when my most used keyword combo on pornhub is not “real+lesbian” and then maybe we can talk.
The awkward (and patronising) male ‘expert’ really kicked us off with low expectations of what this was going to be. With complete sincerity, he launches into a spiel that you can also find on the gay penguin information plaque at the zoo, probably.
“I want to talk about one which I think is perhaps our most important one of the entire experiment and it’s our first same-sex match since marriage equality has become legally recognised in Australia.”
Considering the ‘weddings’ on MAFS aren’t weddings, they are commitment ceremonies, there are no legally binding marriages in the show. Theoretically, since the gays have been “committing” out of necessity for years, you probably could have had a same-sex couple on the show before this.
Not to mention marrying someone you’ve never met before is the most lesbian concept I have ever heard and I can’t believe we haven’t been getting royalties for this all along.
Enter stage right, Amanda, 34, a strength coach and thank God for that because I need her to give me some. I must have said “babe” so many times when describing Amanda that my fiancée felt it necessary to dig into the depths of her Instagram trying to find turn-offs that she could read aloud to me. Jealousy is a curse.
Unfortunately, this is where any fun I was having stopped and the producers – who frankly get too much air time – were just getting started.
Producer: “Have you ever had anyone convince you into liking men or changing your mind?”
Because being gay is a choice, right? That’s what they’re saying here.
Amanda then goes into her coming-out story, which I am thankful for. I believe airing LGBTIQ experiences and perspectives is an imperative step in healing a traumatised community still recovering from the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
Her story resonated with me. She came out ‘officially’ at 21 years old and said she felt like a disappointment. The first time I came out I was 18 years old and my mum, who was the closest person in the world to me at the time, had such a guttural, disappointing response that I retreated so far back into the closet I could feel the frost from Narnia.
We are then introduced to Amanda’s new ‘partner’ Tash, a 31-year-old bartender, who said she was once referred to as the “illegitimate love child of David Bowie and a vampire”. Hot.
Tash brings some major ‘femme lesbian struggles’ to the small screen which are also incredibly valid and worth talking about. Everything from longing for the attention she receives at work to be less wang heavy to talking about the difficulty she has dating because her image makes women think she’s not serious about commitment. These are real, dumb, lesbian issues, people.
In the next few beats, we discover Tash owns two cats (unsurprised) and describes herself as, “So grossly romantic” she doesn’t exclude herself from wanting a “traditional marriage” like her dad and step-mum. Who seem lovely, supportive and I just want to hug her dad so badly.
Finally, it’s ceremony time. I know, it’s already been a journey.
I got distracted by my complete hatred for this show to suss out Amanda’s suit because I am getting married in September and still have not picked an outfit. She is basically wearing exactly what I want, has anybody got the number for wardrobe?
Amanda’s mum rocks up dressed for a funeral (hint: It’s her daughter’s heterosexuality officially dying). The ceremony then kicks off, it’s really sweet and they both look really hot.
Someone did say during the ceremony that, “Once upon a time, gay marriage wasn’t a thing in Australia.” Just a quick fact check on that fairytale, sweetheart.
December 8th 2017 was the last time it wasn’t a “thing”, that’s not once upon a time, that’s only 790 days ago and need I remind you that 38.4 per cent of the country voted “no”.
the three stages to full equality: the postal survey, the parliamentary vote, and the first lesbian wedding on #MAFS— Lane Sainty (@lanesainty) February 4, 2020
I just want to clarify that I don’t have a single issue with the way these two women have chosen to portray themselves so far on this show. It’s the whole glaring spectacle around having them there in the first place that has given me brain worms.
The entire premise of this show is it’s a social experiment that puts personalities in a pressure cooker, creating traumatic scenarios and exploiting the contestants for views.
Same-sex relationships already face immense and continued scrutiny in normal everyday life. Not to mention it makes a joke of the institution of marriage – you know, the thing we fought really hard to get rights for.
The idea I now have to watch it happen on TV sold to me as equality is a whole new level of gaslighting and queerbaiting that I hadn’t really conceptualised before.
A great place to start before taunting us with same-sex marriages on MAFS is for network television to show some genuine allyship to the LGBTIQ community.
How about a more diverse and inclusive cast on brekky TV and news line-ups. How about we stop click baiting news stories to encourage sensationalised transphobia, homophobia and sexualised LGBTIQ youth?
Or, how about our prime minister doesn’t quietly slip through a religious discrimination bill while the country is burning. A bill that could see the ban on programs that seek to “convert” LGBTIQ people lifted and medical treatment denied to a transgender patient.
How about we stop being homophobic and transphobic all together. Then maybe, after all that, popping a same-sex relationship on MAFS won’t be such a big deal.
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