This doesn’t really belong on this blog, but as this is my only platform where I can freely speak out, I will make it belong here. As an avid CBB fan, I make sure I watch every single season, but this year’s CBB really stood out as the ‘wokest’ season yet.
The first series of Celebrity Big Brother 2018 touches on transsexuality and addresses some of the differences associated between drag queens and transsexuals. It addresses the importance of women being treated equally. But most importantly, it addresses something fans acknowledge, but the Celebrity Big Brother team never does.
Relationships and showmance are a huge part of a curated CBB storyline and they’re hated by the majority. They’re obviously forced and more than often, the showmance storyline plays a mental game – not only with the housemates, but also with the viewers.
Trigger warnings are a standard part of any Celebrity Big Brother episode. We get them for sexual language, nudity and offensive language. But one thing that’s never shown as a trigger warning are the emotionally manipulative games these curated relationships knowingly or unknowingly play on each other.
It all started with Season 20 of Celebrity Big Brother, where fans got an interesting insight into the life and personality of Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding and Chad Johnson. The two didn’t seem to bother with each other for the first half of the season, but after Chad’s narrative with housemate Amelia Lily didn’t work out, all attention fell on Sarah and Chad, who quickly became a thing. Along with cuddles and risky touchy-feely movements under the cover, the two often fought and these emotions came out of nowhere. Over some time, the fans have accused the Girls Aloud popstar of a manipulative relationship after noticing abusive patterns they have encountered in their own relationships. Sarah became verbally abusive out of nowhere, while demanding an apology from her significant other for making her lash out.
And although CBB21 has been praised as a ‘woke’ show that touches on subjects no other reality television channel would, many critics fail to mention that the show lacks a discussion on one of the most triggering topics for anyone who’s ever been in a mentally abusive relationship: gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the abuser tries to bend their victim’s reality to act in the abuser’s favor. In Sarah Harding’s case, she made Chad feel like he was in the wrong for her abusive behaviour.
But fans have yet again been outraged when rapper Ginuwine pointed to Ashley James’ lower middle section and said “It’s happening tonight.” Ashley became completely disoriented and confused, and later confessed to her gal-pals what was said and done. For the next few days, Ginuwine ignored her and as a result, made her wonder what she did to make him act like that. After the two discussed the situation, Ginuwine refused to apologize for his actions, but Ashley felt relieved. The episode ended with the two sharing a bed for a cuddle for the first time in the house. When Ashley left, Ginuwine, as if the previous few days never happened, mentioned that “it could happen tomorrow.” It’s very clear what’s on his mind and judging by Ashley’s reaction, it’s also clear that she’s far from wanting this action to happen. This decision should have been respected and Big Brother should have intervened the first time around.
While Celebrity Big Brother touches on some of the most controversial subjects ever, manipulation into having sex in the house because of bonus promises and contracts should never be an okay thing. The show has yet to put trigger warnings on any kind of mental abuse shown in the house that could potentially remind their viewers of an abusive relationship or any other events they have faced in their life. These acts of manipulative behaviour have been noted multiple times by fans and there’s an important mental health line not even a reality show should cross.