Wednesday night’s episode of The Challenge: Total Madness has sparked conversation online among former cast members and viewers alike. While the conversation had slowly been brewing on social media all season, it was last night’s challenge that really fueled the fire. The remaining players were split into two teams which tackled a traditional sliding puzzle, with cars for pieces. Despite it being a female elimination week, the first team’s strategy was completely run by Rogan O’Connor, and the women were silenced while trying to contribute to the puzzle.
“I’ll never understand why women on this show let men be “ring leaders” on women day eliminations. The women are actually not even encourage to speak or help on the [Challenge]. #itssadtowatch #change #makeithappen,” former Challenger Rachel Robinson tweeted.
Rachel, a seven-time competitor and two-time winner, mirrored sentiments from fans across Twitter who were confused with the gameplay. While the team as a whole agreed to have Rogan be the ring leader and call the shots for the challenge, the way the women were silenced when they tried to speak up was upsetting to some fans. Both Jenny West and Aneesa Ferreira were shut down by Rogan and Johnny Bananas when they added their input.
Despite winning the challenge, Rogan’s team only beat Team 2 by 13-seconds. Nany Gonzalez, a member of Team 1, was the only girl on the team yet to win a Red Skull, giving her a strong reason to run the challenge herself and to put her fate in her own hands, not the hands of her male team members.
A thread has even popped up on Reddit to discuss the sexism on The Challenge. The thread, which has been upvoted over 200 times, addresses Team 1’s approach and how the women were handled when they spoke up.
“It’s about time we have this conversation because the way men have been treating woman [sic] on this show has been horrible and it didn’t just become a ” recent ” issue. Woman [sic] should be held to the same standards when it comes to competing and having a voice,” one Redditor wrote in the 80+ comments.
Some are defending the men, on the other hand, saying the original plan was to have Rogan call out all the moves, and when people interrupted and went against the original plan, it only hurt the team in the long run. Rogan even announced that his teammates should be quiet so he could continue to call out the moves as everyone had agreed upon.
After Dee Nguyen was fired from MTV for racially insensitive comments towards the Black Lives Matter movement, many have been calling for actions against the men on the show who they believe are sexist and misogynistic.