Gabrielle Ebsworth has revealed why racism is at play when it comes to Abbie Chatfield overshadowing Brooke Blurton‘s history-making Bachelorette season.
The reality TV stratosphere has been dominated by discourse surrounding Abbie’s decision to debut her relationship with Konrad Bien-Stephens on the eve of The Bachelorette 2021 finale.
The conversation was then amplified by a damning statement from the 26-year-old Bachie, in which she called Abbie out for displaying “narcissism” and “white privilege”.
Now, Gabrielle, a proud Wangkumara Barkindji First Nations woman and Brooke’s best friend, a proud Noongar-Yamatji woman, has shed light on why the dramatic saga has set a poor precedent for underrepresented communities in the media landscape.
In episode 132 of the So Dramatic! podcast, Gabrielle, otherwise known as Gab, chatted to host Megan Pustetto about why the ratings don’t matter and the “overdone narrative” of white women being victimised.
Why Representation On The Bachelorette Is More Important Than Good Ratings
Despite The Bachelorette 2021 having the lowest ratings in franchise history, Gab doesn’t think the numbers are the be-all or end-all of the history-making season.
“For the Aboriginal women who are seeing themselves on TV for the first time, the ratings didn’t matter,” she admitted. “What mattered was seeing this wholesome love story, because so often, Aboriginal people, we don’t get wholesome love stories.”
Gab is talking about the stigma and stereotypes that plague First Nations communities, where individuals are “villainised or… depicted to be always in violent relationships or alcoholic.”
She also said seeing Brooke walk down the red carpet in “a $6,000 dress” was a “dream” that all Indigenous women deserve.
“That’s what the media should have been focusing on. Not the relationship, or the drama or the ratings. It’s about Aboriginal women being able to be princesses without the white woman coming into ruin it.”
Gab said the “overdone narrative” of a white woman being victimised is prevalent in the midst of the Brooke/Abbie saga. As a result, it’s reduced the actions of a woman of colour to “never [being] enough”.
“It all comes back to this representation and that no matter what an Aboriginal woman, a First Nations woman, and a bisexual woman does, it’s just never enough,” Gab said candidly.
Why Dramatising The Bachelorette Would Have Detracted From The Meaning Behind Brooke Blurton’s Season
She also believes had Brooke’s season been dramatised, the meaning and representation behind the series would have been disguised.
“I think the show was really respectful… That’s probably why it had not many viewers because people want to see the tea, they want to see the drama.
“I think if they dramatised Brooke’s season it would have detracted from the amazingness of having a First Nations bi woman as the Bachelorette.
“I think it was more respectful that they didn’t do the big drama and the big angry villain storyline because that’s not what a First Nations woman deserves.”
She added that a First Nations woman “deserves” to find her person “without being overshadowed by the classic white couple”.
Gabrielle Ebsworth On White Privilege
After Brooke released her statement in response to Abbie’s actions, some people struggled to understand why race and privilege were being mentioned when Brooke found love at the end of the day.
In a Bachelorette fan group on Facebook, one follower said that they felt that Brooke “adding in the loss of a loved one mixed with adding white privilege [in her statement] is reaching”.
However, Gab begged to differ, noting that people who don’t understand the underlying societal issues often haven’t been affected by them.
“It’s definitely not reaching. People that say stuff like that… they don’t get that it’s about race, or gender or sexuality, because it luckily doesn’t affect them,” she confessed.
“They’ve never had to think about how they’re portrayed… in front of the media because they’re never going to get the villain edit.”
She added that many people aren’t aware that “race underpins a lot of our society” because the media is constantly “favour[ing] white women over Aboriginal women”.
“Once again, we’ve seen how…people just can’t accept anyone else in the spotlight, especially when it is a strong, proud Aboriginal woman and a strong, proud, bisexual, pansexual woman,” she said
“There’s never a space for them in reality TV or space for them in the media.
“We live in a world that is built for white people. Sometimes it’s thinking about what structures are just built for us, and how can we dismantle them to work for everybody?”
Why Brooke Blurton Would Have Been The Villain If She Had Stolen Abbie Chatfield’s Spotlight
What would have happened if the shoe was on the other foot? Gab thinks that Brooke would have been the bad guy had she stolen Abbie’s spotlight.
“I can safely say that if Brooke had done this to others, she would have been villainised,” Gab told So Dramatic!.
“Whenever the narrative is flipped, and whenever a dark-skinned woman does something wrong, and it’s immediately villainised,” she said.
“You can bet… they’re probably going to be the one that starts the drama and gets the villain edit, because the media just loves to make a villain out of a strong black woman.”
Why Brooke Being Overshadowed Could Discourage Other Emerging Black Women
With Brooke at the helm of The Bachelorette, she represented the Indigenous and LGBTQIA+ communities across the media landscape.
Viewers were also met with a number of First Nations traditions, including a Welcome to Country smoking ceremony during the premiere. Later in the season, Brooke and Holly Langford took part in traditional Indigenous weaving while on a single date.
“That’s why it was so powerful for Brooke to just be unapologetically black,” Gab said. “To be able to have a Welcome to Country… and a weaver come on [the show] and just be like, you know, ‘I’m not going to try and stifle or make my culture more palatable to you’.”
This was reason that the finale episode was “so important”, given it was a conversation never had on TV before. Now, the season will be remembered for “a white couple starting drama”.
“It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” Gab confessed. “It’s also scary for Aboriginal women who’d want to follow in those footsteps.
“They going to think, ‘God, you know, I could have my powerful, amazing love story on TV, and it’s still going to be overshadowed. Yeah, like, why would I do it?'”
According to the Indigenous rights advocate, Brooke and her culture “should have been protected and marveled at how special it was”.
However, Gab thinks the power behind the history-making season has been watered down.
“It was just another way that we’ve let the strong, amazing black woman down.”
What Does Gabrielle Ebsworth Hope To See Come Out Of This Bachelorette Conversation
Gab told So Dramatic! that she hopes a greater awareness will be had for people of colour and the Aboriginal community when it comes to representation in the media.
“It’s so important to have representation… that isn’t focused on deficits or problems,” she said. “It’s focused on black excellence and black success and the love stories that Aboriginal women deserve.”
With aspirations that we’ll see more Bachelors and Bachelorettes in the future, Gab hopes that will come with even more “unmitigated Black pride and joy on our TVs more often”.
Want even more goss? Listen to episode 132 of the So Dramatic! podcast with Megan Pustetto below!
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