reality tv

"These two also deserve it." The MasterChef moment we desperately needed to see on reality TV.

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Unfortunately we live in a world where the words cat fight, bitchy and gossip have female connotations.

A world that expects women to descend into jealous backstabbing when they’re pitted against each other, and where comments like “sometimes having a man in the group just helps dilute the snarkiness” are commonplace.

But what we saw last night on MasterChef Australia was anything but.

It was women supporting women in the most wholesome, uplifting and supportive example of sisterhood we’ve seen on reality TV in years.

WATCH: Amina’s speech after winning last night’s immunity challenge. Post continues after video. 

Video by Channel Ten

When we are little, we’re socialised into a world that already has certain viewpoints.

We grow up hearing women being described as “emotional” and “bitchy” but those words are rarely used when we describe men, instead they get things like “direct” and “confident”.

We can’t help it, but we too take those connotations on and incorporate them into our vocabulary. It’s the way society has always been.

In 2020, however, we’re closer than ever to leaving those gender-based descriptors and ideologies in the dirt, and MasterChef’s all-women immunity challenge last night was further proof that we don’t need women hating on women to make good TV.

The pressure was palpable, but the women doubled down and gave each other nothing but support. Image: Ten.
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The things that shows like The Bachelor and movies like Mean Girls rely on to get viewers hooked, were completely abandoned as we watched Amina ask Emelia to please taste her beef for her because it wasn't halal.

Or when Emelia wiped Tracy's dishes off for her before they were sent out for service, because she'd already finished hers.

Or when Tracy asked Amina to sing while they all worked feverishly against impossible deadlines.

It was touted as the hardest immunity challenge in MasterChef Australia history. They had to serve up 100 plates, each consisting of five different dishes with just two and a half hours to prep, and 15 minutes in between each course.

Just writing that is exhausting.

But the sushi train challenge brought out the absolute best in the three chefs, who all come from different backgrounds, different cuisine abilities, and different life stages.

A 35-year-old author and home cook, a 30-year-old cake designer, and 44-year-old restaurateur.

Amina Elshafei, Emelia Jackson and Tracy Collins were clearly under intense pressure. They were cooking in a tiny kitchen - all on top of each other - and sure, Channel Ten might've chosen to omit any arguments but do we really believe that?

Reality TV lives for arguments to get us to keep watching. They're perfect fodder for those little advert previews we are fed in the days before an episode, to convince a predominately female audience to tune in.

Why? As psychologist Rachel Voysey explained to Mamamia's news podcast The Quicky last year, "Women like to watch the behaviours of other women from the safety of their homes, because unlike men women tend to do things behind your back, rather than in your face".

"There's often this fascination for us to watch other women in conflict, because we feel it helps us to understand what we have experienced in our past," she continued.

It's not good for us to watch this every night on the TV however, as it normalises the "attacking" of other women and so the cycle continues in real life, fuelled by the entertainment we're devouring.

LISTEN: Inside The Cat Fight Culture Of Reality TV.

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When Amina was told by the judges that she'd won the mammoth challenge, the first thing to come out of her mouth was this:

"That was tough challenge. And these two worked like troopers with me. We supported each other, we motivated each other, and as happy as I am to have immunity I think these two also deserve it.

"I know it's a hard ask. But these two deserve it just as much as I do," she appealed to the judges.

She was given a swift no, but the sentiment remains.

It was such a refreshing episode of reality TV to watch, in fact we walked away feeling fuzzy and buzzed. Not the slightly drained but addicted feeling we get after inevitably watching a "villain" created before our eyes on any other reality TV show currently airing in Australia.

The more we watch behaviour like this, the more we'll start to emulate it ourselves.

Hopefully, like us, the big wigs who make these types of shows were also following along on Twitter.

If they did, they would have realised that it's not just drama and hostility that sells. You can have tension and suspense-filled viewing, without pitting women against women.

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Feature image: Channel Ten.

READ: You're either a Poh or a Reynold: The MasterChef theory that's weirdly accurate.

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