Thought Catalog

The Celebrated Misogyny of Jersey Shore

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It’s interesting to see what viewers will turn a blind eye towards in order to enjoy some fist pumping, GTL, and drunken antics. Since entering its third season, Jersey Shore has remained as popular as ever with sky high ratings and plans to shoot next season in Italy already underway. But am I the only one getting tired of the bullshit? Sammi and Ronnie’s insufferable relationship aside, the boys’ misogynistic behavior has reached new {Seaside} heights this season.

When The Situation, Pauly D, Vinny and Ronnie first coined the term “grenade” to describe an unattractive female, I was pretty disgusted but like many others, I shoved it in the back of my mind so I could enjoy the mindless entertainment. Things crossed the line, however, when MTV began to use the phrase in advertisements for the show, celebrating the boys’ sexist behavior. In recent episodes, it appears that the boys are more interested in humiliating women than actually getting laid. They’ll bring women home and behave as if they don’t even want them there, saying things like,  “Oh my god, she’s a grenade. How do I get rid of her?” This comes off as more of an opportunity for the boys to be funny and get airtime than anything else. They’ve seen how “grenade” has taken off with the general public, and they want to give the audience what they want. On last night’s episode for example, Pauly D and Vinny brought girls home from a club that was, according to them, crawling with grenades. At one point, Pauly D screamed “Help!” when an overweight older woman tried to dance with him. When they returned home, Pauly D decided he didn’t want to sleep with this girl he had met at the club and told her to leave. She responded with, “You’re a dick!” which caused the whole house to rally with Pauly D and remove her from the house.

Disturbingly, JWoww, Deena, Sammi and Snooki seem to delight in the humiliation of the girls they bring home. When Pauly D kicked out his “grenade”, Deena explained in an interview that the girl embarrassed herself. How? For coming back to the house and then being harshly dismissed? It’s like the girls enjoy being separate from the boys’ conquests. They live here so they have the men’s respect. Well, most of the time. Sometimes the boys even treat them like shit.

On last week’s episode, it was revealed that Sammi was texting a guy friend while she was at home—a move that seemed harmless considering that a] Ronnie and Sammi were on one of their breaks and b] Ronnie’s cokedick tried to fuck every girl in Miami last season while they were still dating—but Sammi’s harmless interaction actually received a vitriolic response from the entire house. The Situation especially was quick to slut-shame Sammi and paint her as a two-timing slut. Meanwhile, everyone gathered around poor suffering Ronnie even though he had done much worse to her in the past. What’s perhaps the saddest part of the whole thing is that the girls didn’t even rush to Sammi’s defense. In the past, Jersey Shore has done a good job with presenting the strong bonds between women. JWoww and Snooki, in particular, introduced the world to a beautiful sex-positive friendship. They aren’t competitive with each other when it comes to guys, they talk openly about sex, and cherish their time together. When they failed to recognize the double standard with Sammi and Ronnie and come to her aid, I was surprised. After all, they were the girls who wrote Sammi a note detailing Ronnie’s infidelities. Why couldn’t they recognize that the men were being sexist and unfair?

Life’s a fun-filled, wasted, silly, beach for the cast of Jersey Shore. I doubt they even realize the harmful ideas they’re perpetuating about gender. If they did, maybe millions of viewers wouldn’t tune in to the show each week. Their success is largely dependent upon their ignorance. They don’t have to take responsibility for their actions because they were just bein’ The Situation. If that works as a valid excuse for misogyny then maybe it’s time to break up with the gang for good and return to a place where  calling women “grenades” is a big bummer and a girl isn’t made to feel like a dirty whore for something as insignificant as a text message. TC mark

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    • http://tattoosnob.com Julene

      I can't believe anyone watched that show after season 1–the beginning of season 2 made it pretty clear that everyone knew the more drama, the more airtime and thus, more free plastic surgery.

      These one trick ponies need to be put out to pasture, quick.

      • padface

        Someone needs to send these one trick ponies to the glue factory tbh.

        • http://tattoosnob.com Julene

          I didn't buy 99 cent glue in the 90's and I'm not about to start now. Jersey Shore cast members are hardly Elmer's candidates, methinks.

        • MsJezaBitch

          I'll admit it… my cousin came over a couple of weeks ago for a visit, and we decided to watch it. We thought it would be entertaining. Problem was, it was soo unbelievably misogynistic that, in the end, it just put us in a foul mood. I like you, cannot understand why people watch… more than once!

    • tyler77s

      I totally agree with everything you said, Ryan. It was entertaining at first, but now the show's just embarassing. The dudes are ignorant morons addicted to their own machismo and the girls are just plain idiots in life-size Barbie clothes. Gee, can't wait for them to represent all Americans in Italy! Europeans really don't hate us enough already…

    • rick schitiltiz

      i would catch a grenade for you…………….

    • Tim

      Just watching that show is supporting that behaviour. Always has been. How does a culture such as Jersey Shore grow? Simply by being paid attention to. It's absurd to watch these shows and pretend like just because we joke and mock it that it doesn't contribute to this culture. The people who watch it are the ones who make them rich, who get them in magazines and on the red carpet. Being white and middle class and knowledgeable enough to realise what a joke they all are doesn't mean you're supporting it any less than someone who's ignorant enough to not realise this.

      • Grant

        wow, then i guess you shouldn't have commented either, huh? the fact that you took the time to write a whole paragraph completely contradicts your point. nice try at superiority, though.

      • MsJezaBitch

        Still, I'm kinda glad someone knowledgeable IS watching it. This way I know what's happening, so I can have a better understanding of what's happening in our culture… without actually having to waste my time watching it myself :)

    • PERFECTCIRCLES

      The “best” thing to come out of this show was the human nicknamed “The Situation” being invited to appear on the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump. His set, and the increasingly hostile reaction of the audience to him, was painful yet satisfying.

      • MsJezaBitch

        Oh great! Now I have to watch :P

    • eatapeach

      Stop watching it….your only adding to it. The South Park episode making fun of the Jersey Shore put the best light on them, disgusting monsters basically.

    • BRO BRO BRO BRO BRO

      the chick who called vinny or pauly a dick was p cute; she can come be my grenade anytime

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FQBOL3ZHPHDYFGRD53EVFREV4A El puto

      For what it's worth, I quit watching MTV when it stopped being music television. I never have been particularly fond of this new gen MTV, so I've nothing to add to/subtract from the article. On a positive note, I won a 10 dollar bet. The article came up on my friend's facebook feed, and I bet him 10 dollars, based on my judgment of the title alone, that sir Ryan O'Connell was the author. :)

    • Jabulani

      People people people, this is “reality” television (staged and heavily edited). MTV shows us what they know will bring ratings, and that people is DRAMA. The cast (true reality has no cast, just characters) is perfectly aware of what they are doing. All of you that are throwing fits of over their sexiest behavior are no smarter then the rest of the population that thinks this is authentic Seaside Heights lifestyle. MTV tells these “actors” how to behave and they do it.

      • MsJezaBitch

        I wouldn't say Ryan is throwing a “fit.” I think it's important that we talk about these things that are having a heavy impact on our society instead of just shoving it under the rug. I, like most people, don't watch the show, but reality tv has a way of reaching people whether they watch or not. I appreciate Ryan for writing this. Also, if you think Ryan was throwing a “fit” for discussing something he watched and feels passionate about, then why are you blogging? What do you think blogs are for? Certainly not to embrace media?

        “All of you that are throwing fits of over their sexiest behavior are no smarter then the rest of the population that thinks this is authentic Seaside Heights lifestyle.”

        Why? I don't see the connection between people that recognize important societal matters and people that don't know that reality television is scripted… even though that has been the main complaint about it since early 2000. Maybe you can help me out, because you see, I like to throw “fits” over sexist behavior, therefore, must be stupid.

        “MTV tells these “actors” how to behave and they do it. “

        Are you saying that because MTV tells the cast how to behave that it somehow makes everything okay? I don't think Ryan was denying MTV's heavy involvement.

        • Jabulani

          I'll concede “fit” was a wrong choice word. I guess my frustration is that the majority of the readers of this blog (I'm assuming college educaged) knows that the Jersey Shore is misogynistic (I for one am not disputing it). My problem I guess comes down the fact that we (as a society) are spending so much slamming the fake portrayals of actual people that when actual people (cough Charlie Sheen cough) behave like assholes, beat women, and spew racist speech they're “winning.” Thankfully, Rye (can I call you that Ryan?) brought this up a couple weeks ago.

        • MsJezaBitch

          Word :P

    • tonibologna.com

      Ryan!!! I am an avid fan of the JS, and I cannot tell you how much I echo your sentiments. I am a writer as well, and spend my last nights “fit” of insomnia going over in my head the insanity. In fact, I no joke had a dream where I got into a huge fight with The Situation over it. I am not saying that for impact…

      Loved what you had to say, especially you being a man and all…

      Much Respect

    • tonibolobna.com

      Ryan!!! I am an avid fan of the JS, and I cannot tell you how much I echo your sentiments. I am a writer as well, and spent my last nights “fit” of insomnia going over in my head the insanity of what I saw, and how much I wanted to write about it! I found myself obsessing in my head what I would have said if I were Sammi, or any of the girls for that matter. “Ummm do you not remember destroying everything Sammi owned and saying you were glad you cheated on her Ronnie?” In fact, I no joke had a dream where I got into a huge fight with The Situation over it. I am not saying that for impact…

      Loved what you had to say, especially you being a man and all…

      Much Respect

    • Lezlie

      Wait, why is anyone expecting anything of substance at all from a show that prides itself in being utter filth…..?

      • Ttmatthe

        Because people around the world watch this and think this is how Americans are. Seriously. Just because you laugh doesn't mean people don't actively buy into this.

        Not to mention the fact this is misogynistic stereotypical tripe, and anyone associated with this garbage should be ashamed of themselves, viewers too.

        • Alex

          Jersey Shore isn't responsible for the world's negative perception of America. It's a symptom of America's values (or lack there of), as a whole, – a reflection of the truth, however scary and fucked up that might be. The proof is in the pudding. Millions of AMERICANS tune into that shit every week….and who do we have to blame for that?

          I agree with you, viewers SHOULD be ashamed, but as a country we have this adorable way of embracing mindless indulgences unapologetically. We're AMURICA, damnit.

    • Comic Insult

      Ronnie's drunk-dialing mom FTW

    • Meg

      This is so true. What makes it even more true, is that I didn't even realize all they were perpetuating about gender until I read this thought–just goes to show ya they're slippin' it by us.

      It's crazy what insane ideas the media can slyly plant in our minds without us realizing.

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