Tonight's Bachelor cocktail party drama, and the flow-on effects the next day, were difficult to follow, because it was hard to work out whether people's animosity with one another was based on something that actually happened or a vague sense of mistrust.
Let's try to unpack it: two rival blocks formed, one with Roxi and seemingly most of the other women in it, and another of Juliette, Areeba, Kristina and Kaitlyn. The first group thought the other was plotting against them, something they didn't appear to do.
The situation escalated to the point that Roxi was in tears, afraid that Juliette told Bachelor Locky Gilbert a lie that would make him think less of her. And Locky noticed Roxi crying, so he left a chat with Areeba to comfort her.
Roxi's sheer emotional distress seemed sincere — but we never saw what Juliette said to or about her, and thus don't know if her anxieties about the situation were justified or not.
Instead of offering reassurance, when Laura tried to confront the situation dead-on and asked Juliette if there was some "plot", Roxi's feelings were dismissed as the ravings of a so-called "crazy" woman and the onus was placed back on the rival group for starting drama. Laura pushed for an honest answer, and Juliette replied: "What the f*ck's wrong with you? Now go please before I f*cking throw this champagne at you."
'Gaslighting', coined for the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play, is when a person or group deliberately tries to make another person doubt their memory, perception or judgment. It's a kind of psychological abuse, through denial, contradiction and misinformation.
And it sure seemed like the Juliette bloc was gaslighting Roxi, even just for the fact that they constantly called her "crazy". "I don't trust anyone who cries like that," Juliette said. "I feel like she needs a lot of attention." Later, she called her an "insecure, crazy person". It was one of many instances where the group explicitly said she was mentally unwell.
Calling someone 'crazy' is, as we all know, a red flag. When a guy calls his ex-girlfriend 'crazy', it rarely means that she behaved erratically or genuinely suffers from a mental illness. Instead, it's a way to dismiss her and her feelings — feelings that were valid and likely the result of the man's behaviour and/or lack of care. It absolves that man of their wrongdoing, because the other person responded 'inappropriately'.
In that same way, other women sometimes try to delegitimise other women's feelings, calling another woman 'crazy' when she fails to hold her emotions in check in stressful environments — like say feeling that someone has told the guy you like, and are dating at the same time as 18 other women, something untrue about you that might jeopardise your relationship.
That's without even going into what calling others 'crazy' means for people with a mental illness, as though by virtue of their health they're not worthy of being taken seriously, or of another person's time and support. It's part of the social fabric that passes off mental illness as not a real illness and something to be ridiculed.
Whether or not the other women were planning to undermine Roxi, the way she felt about the situation with Locky was still emotionally difficult and largely passed off as silly. Cue the novelty music. Feeling "forgotten" when the person who gave you a rose yesterday doesn't speak to you today isn't 'crazy'.
But it also wasn't unreasonable for Areeba to get upset when her time with Locky was cut short, in favour of Roxi, who already had a rose and was guaranteed another night in the mansion.
When all the women were sitting together the next day, it sure seemed like something happened at the cocktail party the audience wasn't privy to. Roxi explained her behaviour: "[Juliette was] gonna tell these little lies about me and I just felt like I had to watch my back 24/7. And then it all came out at the very end. It was very unfortunate, because Locky's finally met the drunken, raging Roxi, and I literally just want to crawl into a ball and hide."
Juliette denied the accusation from Roxi, leading her to conclude she didn't know what was the truth, encouraged as she was to disbelieve her own interpretation. Classic gaslighting! And as viewers, we don't know what anyone actually said — whether that's because it was edited out, it wasn't caught on camera, or no one said or did anything malicious at all.
All we've actually seen is Juliette, Areeba, Kristina and Kaitlyn talking to each other about how they weren't strategising, but that they're a force to be reckoned with. That certainly spells another clash soon . . .
Even if we don't know exactly what happened tonight, and who said what that lead someone else to believe they were under threat, at the very least, can we stop calling other women 'crazy'?
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