If you prefer your recap without a side of rant- skip down about 7 paragraphs after the first picture…

It’s been over a week.  It’s been over a full week since the last episode of RHONY where we watched a successful, intelligent, female business mogul scream “YOU’RE A SLUT” in another grown woman’s face.  Since then, Bethenny Frankel has had ample time and opportunity to apologize.  Not to Luann, (she does that on the show) but a blanket apology to women in general.  Because every time one of us uses that word against a fellow woman, we are setting back the hard work of feminists everywhere by perpetuating the myth that a woman’s sexuality is bad or dirty.  Safe sex among single, consenting adults is legal, healthy, and completely normal.    But instead of apologizing, Bethenny has repeatedly said that she wasn’t “slut-shaming” but instead was “lie-shaming” “Douchebag-shaming” or “hypocrite-shaming”, which I would believe except, you know, she called Lu a slut.  She called her a slut and a whore, and if those aren’t real issues she has with Luann, then why not apologize for using the wrong words?

I will tell you why.  Because Bethenny has “Fuck You” money.  And having “Fuck You” money means that Bethenny has no reason to apologize.  Because not saying sorry ultimately doesn’t hurt her at all.  Why give up any ground if you don’t have to?  Other than, you know, because it’s the right thing to do.  It’s completely unacceptable to use that kind of language.  Again, I ask you, how would Andy Cohen have dealt with her if she had called a gay man a faggot in the heat of the moment?  And before you start tweeting at me- yes, it IS the same thing.  A faggot is a male homosexual.  That’s the definition.  A slut is woman who has many casual sexual partners.  That’s the definition.  What makes these words insults is the belief that there is something wrong with what that word defines.  That’s why they are considered derogatory or offensive.

What’s interesting to me (this also why using the word slut is incredibly sexist) is that the comparable term for men is “philanderer”.  The “phil” in “philanderer” actually means “love”.  Synonyms for philanderer are as follows:  womanizer, Casanova, Don Juan, Lothario, flirt, ladies’ man, playboy, rake, roué; or informally: stud, skirt-chaser, tomcat, horndog, ladykiller, wolf. Other than possibly “womanizer”, all of these words can and are used as compliments.  We applaud men who have sex casually and frequently.  But for women?  Well, here are the synonyms for slut: tramp, floozy, hooker, prostitute, vamp, whore, harlot, hussy, tart.  All with negative connotations, because women are supposed to be chaste and virginal.  If a 16 year old boy has sex with three different high school girls, he is given a high-five by his peers and sent on his merry way.  But if a 16 year old girl has sex with three high school boys? As we’ve seen far too often in recent years, that scenario can play out far more tragically.

I got called out for linking Bethenny screaming “slut!” at Luann to teenage cyber bullying and slut shaming.  I was told that these are two very different things and that I needed to lighten up; after all, I seem more offended than Luann ever did on the show!  But I stand by my statement linking them because to me, it’s all under the same umbrella.  Felicia Garcia (age 15) jumped in front of a subway train after she was endlessly harassed and taunted for having sex with members of the football team.  Rachel Ehmke (13) hung herself after months and months of constant slut-shaming at school.  Her locker was branded with the word “slut” and she faced daily harassment from the other girls in her school. Jesse Logan was 18 when she also hung herself in her bedroom.  She sent a nude picture to her boyfriend and when they broke up, he sent it to the other high school girls who begin harassing her, calling her a whore and a slut.  These are just a few examples I picked out from way too many options.

Do not tell me that the tragic deaths of these young women have no conversational relationship to a famous woman calling another woman a slut on national television.  Every time a grown woman uses the word “slut”, she is sending the message to girls everywhere that it’s okay to call another woman that.  When we don’t admonish that grown woman and demand an apology from her, we too are sending the message that it’s okay to use that word.  Every time any of us judges another woman for making the personal choice to share her body with another person, we are sending the message that what these young girls went through was not only acceptable, but warranted.  Am I more offended by Bethenny Frankel’s use of the word “slut” than even the woman she directed it at?  Maybe; I can’t speak for Luann.  But as long as teenage girls are killing themselves over bullying and slut-shaming, I will continue to be offended.

And it’s not just the use of the word.  You can slut shame someone without the word ever crossing your lips.  What’s happening over on Southern Charm is an excellent example of this.  Thomas Ravenel and Kathryn Dennis have two children together, but Thomas and Kathryn are not married.  Repeatedly on that show, the other cast members have mocked Kathryn and put her down for having two children “out of wedlock”.  Yet during the same episode, they will throw a party for Thomas, congratulating him on the birth of his second child.  Why is Thomas not held as equally responsible?  Or more importantly, why is Kathryn being judged at all for having children without piece of paper “legitimizing” them?  If this doesn’t outrage you, I want you to ask yourself why it does not.

Ladies, we have to stop using this word.  And I say “using” not “saying” because there is a difference between the two.  When you say a word, it’s harmless.  But when you use a word, it can become a weapon of mass emotional destruction.  I don’t think Bethenny Frankel is a bad person.  I don’t think Bethenny Frankel has an actual problem with how many men Luann has or has not slept with.  I don’t think she meant to inspire this kind of outrage and frustration from the audience.  I think she was just a pissed off chick in a fight and she used every weapon in her arsenal.  I get it.  We all say fucked up things in the heat of the moment, but then it’s how we apologize and correct ourselves after the fact that matters.  I’m disappointed that Bethenny hasn’t publically come out and acknowledged that she shouldn’t have used that word because of what it means.  I’m disappointed that she keeps denying that what she said was slut-shaming.  I’m disappointed that a smart, capable woman who should otherwise be a role-model for young business women did not take this opportunity to address how damaging that word can be.  I’m disappointed in the fans of this show that don’t also see a problem with what she said.  I’m disappointed in Andy Cohen for calling this “the best season ever”.  I’m just disappointed.  And that’s why it’s taken me so long to get to this recap.  I haven’t had the stomach to watch any more, and frankly I still don’t but I signed up to recap this show and that’s what I’m going to do.  Okay, /end rant.

kitchenfued

Thanks for hanging in there with me if you didn’t just skip ahead (although I understand anyone who did, because I get that you’re here for my recap of the show and not my soapbox statements).   We pick back up right where we left off with Bethenny walking into the kitchen as Luann is talking about her with Dorinda.  Bethenny and Carole want sincere apologies from Luann and don’t believe her when she tries to give them what they want.  Look, it wasn’t right for Luann to say what she said about Carole.  It was hypocritical for her to bash Adam’s age, when she’s also dated much younger men (and also because who cares if everyone is legal).  But I also can see that in the beginning, Luann was just sticking up for her niece (in an admittedly bad way) when she was mean to Carole over it.  If you remember, Carole waited a long time before even telling Luann that she was officially dating Adam, because she knew it wouldn’t go over well.  Everyone we are watching in Dorinda’s kitchen has made mistakes but they are all so busy pointing fingers at one another that they can’t take a second to look in the mirror.

In the meantime, Dorinda and Jules go into the game cabinet and pull out Twister.  Awesome. The ladies put their left hands on blue while Bethenny, Carole, and Luann scream at each other in the other room.  Ramona plays on her phone while her dog Coco is inevitably shitting on more expensive rugs somewhere.

twister

Back in the city, Sonja is upset that she’s missing out on this fabulous Berkshires trip but she has no idea how lucky she is.  Sonja is trying to put together a care package for her daughter to take her mind off that fact that she’s been ditched by the people she considers friends.  We also find out that Sonja has decided to quit drinking because she wants the other girls to shut up about it.  I feel bad for Sonja.  Her friends are shitty and the truth is, even if she quit boozing and having sex, they’d just find something else to knock her for.

Back in the Berkshires, Bethenny does what I call an “Apology, But…” where she says that she regrets how she spoke to Luann, buuuuut Lu just brings it out of her.  Carole and Bethenny go on and on about how Luann has a “reputation” of sleeping with married men and younger men and then criticizing other people for doing the same thing.  A quick word on the “married men” thing.  Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Bethenny is also currently sleeping with/dating a married man, yes?  The husband of her (I’m assuming former) high school friend?  And Bethenny is herself currently married, right?  Is there anything wrong with what she’s doing?  Actually, No.  Because unless you are Ramona, divorces in New York can take a really long time.  Which means that plenty of people are legally “married” but separated or in the process of getting a divorce or any number of mitigating circumstances.  I’m not saying I know for a fact that this is the case with Luann and her “married men” rumors, but none of us know that it’s not.

The most hilarious line of the night goes to Dorinda who talking heads that she wants to set her house on fire and burn it to the ground.

house on fire

The conversation turns to Sonja and Bethenny repeats her line that Luann being a “mentor” is laughable.  Lu may not be a mentor and that might not have been the right word to use, but at least Luann is a friend to Sonja.  At least she’s there, and not excluding her from things.  It’s ridiculous how these women sit around talking shit about Sonja, saying she needs help, but then avoid her at all costs.  Bethenny apologizes again to Lu for screaming at her.  Good.  She should.  But don’t tweet at me saying “see!! She said she was sorry!” because that’s not what I am talking about when I say an apology is still owed from Bethenny.

The ladies sit down for dinner (kosher lasagna!) and who should arrive but a lady-Santa!  Santa (Dorinda’s sister in a costume) shows up to deliver gifts and ask who’s been naughty or nice.  It’s almost poetic.  Santa leaves too soon and talk turns back to all of Luann’s faults.  With Ramona at the table, Lu and Bethenny try to get to the bottom of Lu’s man-stealing reputation.  Ramona feels like Lu has to have the attention of any man who is around and will swoop in to redirect a guy’s focus away from her friends.  Ya know how so often, what we don’t like about another person is a trait we also have?  Roll clip of Ramona moving in on that restaurant owner in Turk & Caicos who Bethenny and Carole were talking with.  Bottom line?  All of these women love attention.  They wouldn’t be on this show if they didn’t, so this is a silly thing to argue about.

Sidenote- what’s with Luann’s Texas-y getup in her talking heads?  I kinda love it but it feels very out of place.

luann outfit

Everyone heads to bed and Luann gives Dorinda a goodnight hug and kiss.  Dorinda asks Lu to take the message back to Sonja that Dorinda made the absolute right decision in keeping her off the guest list.  Except this never would have happened if Sonja came because Bethenny wouldn’t have shown up.  Dorinda says she wanted to protect Sonja, but ultimately she just chose Bethenny over Sonja.  Which is fine, but let’s call a spade a spade here.

In bed the next morning, Bethenny wishes she could take a morning-after-an-argument pill to erase her bad behavior from the night before.  At least she admits to Carole that if someone had called her a slut or a whore, she would never speak to them again.  Okay, I don’t understand this.  Because I see some genuine remorse from Bethenny here for specifically the slut thing, and yet on social media now she is saying she never slut-shamed?  I need Rinna to jump in here with a well-timed “own it!”

Dorinda and Jules, who are the only people who managed to enjoy themselves the night before, are in bed and Jules admits that regardless of all the screaming, she was able to relax because she was sans-kids.  The struggle is real, ya’ll.  Children are exhausting.  Jules confesses that she forgot to call them to say goodnight and still hasn’t called them in the morning as she is soaking up the last of her child-free 24 hours.

bethennypjs

Bethenny and Carole have had enough (as so often happens with these two), and they decide to pack up their suitcases and peace out first thing. Bethenny is still in her pajamas.  They would have made a clean break of it too, but Luann caught them loading up the car and Carole pouts because now they have to actually say goodbye or it will end up being a thing.  Bethenny agrees and they decide to just say they were loading the car but always planned on saying goodbye.  Fucking Christ these girls are rude.  I get that they hate Luann, but how could they even consider not saying goodbye to Dorinda?  All the women eventually go home and Dorinda’s glad to see the backside of them.

Back in New York, Jules is still scrambling to get everything done around her house now that her nanny quit.  The big news from this scene is that Jules’ father has gotten over his pneumonia and is stable enough for hip surgery.  Oh, also, Jules finally figured out how to make a cup of coffee.  Maybe they should invest in a Keurig?

Okay, here we go.  The big scene where Bethenny addresses the “slut-shaming” issue. Ready?  If you blink, you’ll miss it. Carole says that it feels like what happened was slut-shaming, but Bethenny shuts that shit down immediately.  Basically, Bethenny’s position is that she was not actually slut-shaming because to her, it’s not about how many men Luann slept with, but the hypocrisy of it all.  This is all that’s said on the matter.  At the risk of sounding redundant, again I tell you- if you scream “SLUT” at a woman, and start talking about all the people she has slept with, it is TEXTBOOK slut-shaming.  Bethenny is a smart woman so I know she understands this deep down. Which is partially why this is so frustrating.

slutshaming

It’s very simple- all she has to do is say “I shouldn’t have used that word because it’s not okay for women to call each other that and while I have been angry and frustrated with Luann, who she does or does not sleep with is none of my business.”  She’s already admitted that she doesn’t care who Lu sleeps with (although she brings it up enough times that I’m not sure I totally believe that) and I think that’s why she isn’t acknowledging that she was slut shaming.  Because if she doesn’t really care who Luann sleeps with, how could she have been shaming her?  I will tell you how- by screaming “slut” at her on national television.  Regardless of the intent behind it, that’s what she said, and that’s how it came across to a lot of us.   She even admitted that if someone spoke to her like she spoke to Luann, she would lose her mind.  Just own up to the slut-shaming, Bethenny!  PLEASE.  It happened, you did it, let’s use this as a teaching moment and move forward!

Ramona is having a holiday party and considering the bridges Bethenny has been torching lately, she plans to only do a drive-by appearance.  Here’s the one thing I will say about Ramona.  She has no qualms about people fighting at her parties.  We never hear Ramona say at the start of a party “I just hope everyone gets along and there’s no drama”.  Because that wouldn’t be a good party to Ramona!  She’s all for people getting into fights as long as she’s around to watch.  I almost respect that.  Ramona has decided that her holiday party is the perfect place for Luann and Carole to make up (literally will never happen) and she also wants Sonja and Bethenny to work it out (has more potential to happen, but it’s way too soon at this point).

At the party, Luann decides to walk into the mean-girl lion’s den and sits down with Bethenny and Carole.  She gives Carole, what felt like to me at least, a pretty sincere apology.  Carole seems moderately more receptive than she’s been in the past, but these two will never be friends again.  Ever.  Luann tries to apologize to Bethenny as well for whatever it was that made her so angry, but she slips up by reminding Bethenny that she was “there” when the skinny girl margarita was invented.  This, as per usual, sets Bethenny off a bit but she calms down when Lu repeats back to her that she had nothing to do with the creation of SkinnyGirl.

lubethcarol

Here’s my thought on that whole thing:  I understand why it raises Bethenny’s hackles, I really do.  But I think for Luann, she was just really happy to have been a part of the scene when Bethenny first told America about the drink.  I think it was a good moment for her on the show with Bethenny and she probably talked about it in a braggy “I was there!” kind of way that went through several rounds of telephone and ended up sounding like she was taking credit.  Luann also probably didn’t correct anyone who spread a version of the story that highlighted her participation, but I can’t imagine she actually told people that she helped create the drink.  Do you know why I think that?  Because there is video evidence of exactly what happened that day and only a crazy person would make up a story contrary to what people can see with their own eyes.  Luann is prideful and braggadocios, but not insane.

Sonja arrives and everyone has been texting her saying that she needs to drop the “Tipsy Girl” name or Bethenny will never speak to her again.  Sonja just wants to talk to Bethenny herself, but I think the damage has already been done there.  Bethenny completely ignores Sonja and walks away the second she tries to sit down.  Ramona is furious that Sonja won’t try to tackle Bethenny and talk to her before she leaves the room, but I think Sonja is reading the situation correctly.  It’s way too soon.

Ramona reminds me yet again why I hate her by telling Luann that Sonja just acted dumb and didn’t know what she was supposed to talk to Bethenny about.  Um, no that’s most definitely NOT what she said.  All Sonja said was that since Bethenny was leaving, (and considering the last time they spoke, Bethenny told her she wanted nothing to do with her) that maybe an ambush right before Bethenny is walking out the door might not be the best time or place to have that conversation.  Fucking HELL, Ramona is infuriating.  (For the record, though, if someone had screamed “SLUT!” in her face, I’d be just as angry.)

sonja confrontation

Ramona and Luann gang up on Sonja, yelling at her for not confronting Bethenny.  Ya know what would have been nice?  If Carole had said “I think Sonja made the right call here.  Bethenny didn’t want to talk to her” because that’s the truth.  Luann and Ramona seem to have been under the impression that Sonja was going to tell Bethenny that she planned to drop the Tipsy Girl brand.  Sonja feels like she made no such promise, and while she would like to talk to Bethenny eventually, now is not the right time.  AGREED.

Sonja is still upset about being excluded from Dorinda’s Berkshires trip and feels like she would have gotten real time with Bethenny if she had been able to go.  Dorinda feels strongly that she made the right decision, but slips up when she says that if she had invited Sonja, not everyone (i.e.: Bethenny) would have come, which is of course the real reason why Dorinda didn’t invite Sonja.  Sonja feels, and I’m inclined to agree with her, that you should invited everyone and if someone chooses to stay home, that’s on them.  But by singling Sonja out and asking her to stay home, Dorinda was making a choice between Bethenny and Sonja.  Both Dorinda and Sonja get visibly upset; Dorinda says her decision came from a place of love, and Sonja declares “this party sucks” before storming towards the exit.  Luann rushes out after her, begging her to stay to no avail.

Lastly, Carole talking heads that she thinks Sonja is a decent person, who saw an opportunity to make some money and didn’t really think about Bethenny in the process.  I think this is the fairest assessment of the situation I’ve heard yet.  I like Carole so much when she isn’t playing Bethenny’s mean-girl lackey.

And that’s it for this week.  I’m really tired of the show and find myself yearning for OC and Jersey who will take over in a few weeks.  I need Milania Guidice in my life, stat.

Recap (and rant) written by Liz

10thoughtblog@gmail.com

@10thoughtsblog

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