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That Moment On 'Grace And Frankie' That Nearly Broke Me, Or Just Stay Out Of A Bitch's Way

By Emily Cutler | TV | March 23, 2018 |

By Emily Cutler | TV | March 23, 2018 |


Wait, did you guys all remember that Netflix is still airing Grace and Frankie? And better yet, that the recently-ish released fourth season is significantly better than the show was when it first came out? And that, maybe with the help of a left-leaning, pop-culture website, the show has, in fact, decided to focus as much on the family members as the title characters? Which brings me to the moment that broke me. Actually, that brings me to one in a series of moments that broke me (Frankie quietly confessing that she doesn’t want to cry or rage because she’s too heartbroken, Robert apologizing to Grace for not loving her the way she deserved to be), but this one broke me for a different reason.

See, in the most recent season, June Diane Raphael’s Brianna (who is funnier on this show than she has any right to be) has to acknowledge that a few of her recent decisions haven’t played out the way she wanted, and her business is in serious financial trouble. Meaning she has to admit to her mom (who is also the founder of the company) and her boyfriend Barry that she’s a failure. This is the moment that broke me, and not in a good way.

Here’s how the scene went down: Barry asks why Brianna didn’t tell him about the trouble the company is in. Briana said she was afraid that Barry wouldn’t love her anymore because she’d failed at her business, was no longer as fabulously wealthy as she’d been before (although that’s a maybe. It depends a lot on what kind of business Say Grace is, although I’m guessing that HBIC Grace Hanson wouldn’t allow for any sole proprietor bullshit), and that Barry won’t be attracted to her now that she doesn’t seem to be as wildly competent as she’d presented herself to be. And he responded, “Oh, actually I love trashcan Brianna.” And proceeds to explain that he wasn’t at all interested in her until he saw her accidentally bump into a garbage can one time, be embarrassed by that, and then he was all over her nuts.

And the thing is, what the fuck, Barry?

That’s a horrible thing to say. Horrible for a bunch of reasons, but most importantly because:

It Assumes Women Don’t Want To Be Bitches, Even When We Very Clearly Do
Imagine this situation had gone down slightly differently. What if instead of Brianna worrying that Barry wouldn’t be attracted to her if she wasn’t a tough as nails bitch, it was Barry worried that Brianna wouldn’t love him because he’d lost his job, and couldn’t be the breadwinner. Or if Brianna’s fuck up at work was producing a face cream that caused her, along with thousands of other women, to break out in a rash, and Brianna was worried Barry wouldn’t love her because he wasn’t attracted to her. And in both instances, the reassurance was, “I didn’t think you were successful/pretty in the first place.”

It makes sense why that’s fucked up, right? Being successful and attractive is important to people, so the response from a partner should usually be, “I still think you are that.” Being a bitch isn’t seen as a good thing, so Barry went ahead and diminished that even though Brianna likes being seen as a big, scary, tough bitch.

Again, what the fuck, Barry?

Basically, she said she was worried she isn’t the person she wants to be, and he said, “Don’t worry, honey. I didn’t care about that shit to begin with.” Which is bullshit because …

It Assumes Men Aren’t Attracted To Strong, Powerful, Successful, Bitchy Women
So my question is, fucking why? Why, Barry, would you not be attracted to a woman who was smart, capable and hardworking enough to run a successful business? And, yes, Brianna had a foot in the door because she knew the founder pretty well, but Grace isn’t handing over her baby to anyone who isn’t wildly qualified even when it’s one of her other babies.

Brianna is smart and funny and brash and doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Are we really going to pretend that that isn’t attractive, but bumping into something is? Or is it actually the embarrassment? Because I get why seeing a side of someone that no one else has seen would be endearing. What I don’t get is the idea that because a woman is embarrassed at one point because of one thing would nullify all of her other personality traits. Although that’s exactly what this scene does because …

It Assumes Women Can Be One Thing, And Only That Thing All The Time
It would be one thing if Barry had implied that seeing additional aspects of Brianna’s personality is what made him finally decide to ask her out. He doesn’t. What he says is that he was unequivocally unattracted to her before the trashcan incident, and overwhelmingly attracted to her after it. Because the trashcan incident made him realize that she’s not really a bitch. Even though she self-identifies as a bitch, has worked super hard at it, and is proud of that aspect of her personality. And Barry was attracted to her only when he thought that wasn’t who she really is.

Best case scenario, what he’s saying is, “This element of your personality and role in your life, both of which are extremely important and of which you are justifiably proud, I find to be a minor annoyance I need to overlook in order to get to the ‘real’ you.”

What. The. Fuck. Barry.

Not that any of this means that everyone needs to rush out and start dating a bitch (although you should. We’re awesome). This is to say, if you don’t like bitches, don’t date one. I know plenty of very desirable non-bitches. But don’t start dating a bitch under the pretense of “That’s not really who she is.” It is who she really is, and she likes it that way. It’s fine if you don’t, but then stay the fuck out of her way.

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