Last night's Elimination Challenge on Top Chef: Las Vegas seemed simple enough: Cater a bachelor and bachelorette party with food that will compliment the couple's favorite liquor shots. Go ahead and reread that - it says 'liquor shots'. The contestants were divided into two teams, women vs. men, with the women catering the bachelor party and the men catering the bachelorette party. Are you having flashbacks to 2nd grade gender norms yet?
Ashley [Televisionary Favorite!] made it clear, through some very questionable voice over editing, that she had some personal feelings about this challenge due to the fact that she's gay and therefore UNRECOGNIZED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS SOMEONE WHO CAN MARRY THE PERSON SHE LOVES. She goes on to say, "I find it beyond comprehension. Making us go do, effectively a wedding challenge, when at least three of us on the challenge aren't allowed in that institution." Preeti says she agrees with Ashley, but feels lame for not being more upset, since she's been with her partner for 13 years.
Even though "reality" shows are edited to bits in an effort to elicit drama and Bravo is basically synonymous with gay -- so the poor girl was preaching to the choir -- I'm glad Ashley said what she did. Having to cater a marriage-based event, when you can't legally get married, is a bit like cooking for a restaurant that you can't eat in -- it may be your job, but that doesn't make it any less demeaning. Ashley is echoing the same frustration we all feel. Well, almost all of us?
"The poor girl was preaching to the choir."
"I understand why she's pissed off, but it's just the world we live in today." - Preeti Mistry
I guess Preeti has a point. This heteronormative world is the one we live in today. And it'll still be the one we live in tomorrow unless enough of us get fed up and decide to make a difference.
It's important to note that even five years ago it was still unheard of for a gay contestant on a reality show to say as much, so we've come that far, which is something I love/hate to say because far will never be far enough until everyone is equal. And ten years ago there was no such thing as reality television, which, when coupled with the previous statement beautifully illustrates the decay/evolution of our society, I think. Fifteen years ago there was no such thing as iPhones, civilian-owned Hummers, Trader Joe's Everything Pretzel Slims, President George W. Bush, Lady Gaga or Autostraddle! I rest my case.
Update! Read Tom Colicchio's response to Ashley's reaction on BravoTV.com.