Entertainment

MTV’s New Series ‘Ghosted’ Sparks Discussion About Consent In The Age Of Reality TV

MTV announced a new show called Ghosted: Love Gone Missing, a docuseries much like MTV’s Catfish, where contestants track down the romantic partners who up and ghosted them. If you’re a woman I am sure you’re thinking: this sounds creepy as hell. Yeah, it is. The reaction on social media was nothing short of wary. 

What woman hasn’t darted into a bodega to get away from a man following her? What woman doesn’t know that if she sees another girl in public uncomfortable around a man, that she ought to pretend to know that girl and scoop her away before things take a bad turn? And this isn’t even genuine stalking, it’s just regular street harassment. To be strategically watched and followed at all times by some creep — to be stalked — that’s an entirely new level of harassment.

 None of which should be glamourized or encouraged. However, MTV seems to feel differently.  

So what is “Ghosting”? 

In the digital age of dating apps, ghosting refers to the act of suddenly, and without explanation, cutting off all communication with a romantic partner. This kind of behavior isn’t new or shocking. When everyone you are dating only exists in your phone, you’re bound to be dating multiple people, and you’re bound to lose interest in some of them. 

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time where people didn’t have portable phones. They would go to meet dates at restaurants and hope they didn’t get stood up. There was no way to reliably reach people, so your great grandparents probably got ghosted too. MTV is now broadening the definition beyond romance for their new reality series to family and friends. 

Why is MTV’s Ghosted: Love Gone Missing problematic?

Ghosted: Love Gone Missing is hosted by The Bachelorette veteran Rachel Lindsay and artist Travis Mills. The hosts will help contestants track down and confront the lovers, friends, and family members who abruptly cut off ties. The obvious problem here is that there is no way for the people, who clearly don’t want to be found, to consent to what essentially amounts to stalking. 

Tracking down someone who consciously made the decision to break away from an individual, seems like a huge violation of their privacy and wishes. The show assumes that the ghosted party is by default the victim, when in reality maybe people don’t want to see these folks for a reason. I’ve ghosted many creepy dudes and toxic people in my day. I don’t need them finding me and putting me on blast on television. 

Get the facts on stalking.

Stalking disproportionately affects women. In the United States, while 1 in 6 women (1 in 7 Latinx women) will deal with stalking in in her lifetime, only 1 in 19 men will, according to the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. About two-thirds of women are typically stalked by former or current romantic partners. Stalking is linked to other forms of intimate partner violence against women, with 81 percent experiencing physical assault, and 31% experiencing sexual assault. 

Even if this show is harmless, what if it triggers someone’s past negative experiences? 

People on social media were not happy with the premise.

One social media user equated the premise with stalking, harassment, and intimidation. It’s hard not to see why they feel this way. Unless the show is completely fake, the premise essentially requires a person’s privacy to be violated. 

If you get ghosted, maybe it’s time for you to move on.

Other users felt it is unfair for a person to be forced to engage with someone they clearly want nothing to do with. That totally makes sense. Would you want that toxic person randomly showing up at your house with cameras ready to air out your dirty laundry? Arguably, for someone to be a contestant on the show they would have to share a one-sided version of somebody else’s personal history without their consent. Would you want your toxic ex telling only their version of the story to millions of people? Would you want them tracking your movements to find you? Would you want to talk to them about it on national television? 

Things can easily go bad. 

It goes without saying that the United States has a gun problem, a toxic masculinity problem, and violence against women problem. If the series were to confront the wrong person, it could genuinely put lives in danger. While I am all for not judging art until I see it, I have to agree with these Twitter users: a bad idea is a bad idea. 

Jennifer Lopez’s Words About Not Wearing Hoops While Holding A Baby Is The PSA We’ve Always Needed

Fierce

Jennifer Lopez’s Words About Not Wearing Hoops While Holding A Baby Is The PSA We’ve Always Needed

SNL / NBC

Jennifer Lopez AKA actress, singer, dancer, producer, businesswoman, fashion designer, fashion icon AKA Hoop Queen returned to the SNL stage after a decade. This time, while boasting about her beauty and brains she also hilarious made fun of her life-long obsession with hoops. 

In the most hilarious sketch from the SNL episode, Lopez made jokes about our love for hoops.

SNL / NBC

Starring as Gino’s Girlfriend, Lopez played the owner of a store with Melissa Villaseñor as Her Cousin. In the sketch the pair do an ad for massive gold hoops that are so luxurious they’ll “turn your ears the color of money.”

In the fun sketch, Lopez is dressed like a more played up Bronx version of herself as she sells jewelry that says, “I fight other women.”  According to Lopez, as Gino’s Girlfriend, the hoops (as we all know) can be worn just a bout anywhere including birthday dinners, anniversary trips, an ex-boyfriend’s wedding, interviews about women on the street with subway problems, confront Barbara, accusing Barbara, crawling back to Barbara and Saturday Mass. The skit jokes that you can wear them to. Christening and just about everyone will think you look like a “rapper’s accountant.” 

The sketch even made fun of our propensity for putting words in a hoop. 

SNL / NBC

Jabbing fun at our nameplate earrings and vanity necklaces, the Jennifer Lopez skit hilariously featured earrings with names, descriptions, and places on them. The hilarious descriptions of the lot included “diabetic,” and mistakenly created brands like “Couch” for Coach and “DKNYPD” for DKYN. 

The entire sketch, and J.Lo, proved to be a joke machine with the best nod to J.Lo’s Bronx roots.

Watch the full sketch here.

Our No. 1 Boricua, Jenny from the Block, has been an icon through the ages for winning in the music, movie and fashion industries. Rumors swirled around her insuring her signature booty for a over a million dollars back in the 2000’s, but how have we not acknowledged her incredible locks that deserve a policy of its own.

While she’s known for her long waves, J.Lo has never been afraid of mixing it up over the decades. Get ready for the throwbacks.

1. The Classic J.Lo Look

 @creativehairtools / Instagram

This iconic, tousled wavy, waist-length look wouldn’t be complete without her subtle highlights and the way Lopez makes it look so effortless. I’ve tried to get this look. It is a feat.

2. Big Curls, Little Bob.

 “Voluminous Curls” Digital Image. Allure. 28 May 2018.

J.Lo brought it back to the 1920s by creating a side part, getting in some wide curls and tousling with lots (and lots) of hair spray. How she looks so perfect all the time, we can only guess at.

3. The Sleek Topknot.

 “The Topknot.” Digital Image. Allure. 28 May 2018.

We have all experienced the pain of our mothers combing our hair back into the tightest possible ponytail. According to my mom, it’s a two-fer: a proper hairdo and a way to pull your forehead back and prevent wrinkles. Jennifer keeps it in place with a neat topknot for a sleek, elegant look.

4. The Latina Faux Hawk.

 “The Faux Hawk” Digital Image. Allure. 28 May 2018.

There are faux hawks and then there are Latinx faux hawks. Our faux hawks have more volume and should give you an extra 5-7″ in height. J.Lo does it best.

5. The Loose Slick Back.

 “The Slick Back” Digital Image. Allure. 28 May 2018.

Please note that in order to achieve any of these looks, you will need a good hair gel and a tiny comb. Probably also your own personal hair dresser, if you want to be like J.Lo.

6. The Tight Curl Mid-Part.

 Pinterest

The only way to complete this look is with a chain-neck, metal sheet halter top and butterfly clips to pull back the part. Take me back to the ’90s.

7. The Bandana ‘N Braids Look.

 “[IMG]” Digital Image. The Coli. 28 May 2018.

J.Lo rocked this look at the 2000 MTV Music Awards.

Here’s how to get it: Your hair has to be half-up, half-down, to make your ponytail look longer, and you must be wearing braids to pull this off. A starched headband is also preferable. Also, hoops like J.Lo’s.

8. The Hide Your Hair to Show Off Your Face Look.

 “A Dazzling Headscarf” Digital Image. Allure. 28 May 2018.

When you’re Latina, you can pull this off. When you’re J.Lo, you can get a matching headscarf to go with your sparkly, taupe suit.

9. The Deep Brunette Perm.

 Bewitching Vibe / Pinterest

The early ’90s obsession with deep brown, curly hair was glorious for many Latinas. That baby face rocked it well.

10. Caramel Highlights.

 Untitled. Digital Image. Cosmopolitan. 16 May 2018.

#NeverForget the era of caramel highlights. Our moms did it by squeezing lemon juice in our hair, and the occasional kool-aid for a red tint. J.Lo *might* have used a professional.

11. The 50-Inch Hair Extensions.

 @laurielainehair / Instagram

J.Lo doesn’t usually need to do much to her hair to stun the red carpet, but at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards, her iconic hair went past her iconic butt.

12. It grew when she went on stage to perform “Inches.”

 @kayla_jlover / Instagram

ICYMI, the next Billboard Music Award she attended, she wore a $100 bill on her fingernails.

13. Beach Waves.

 @kayla_jlover / Instagram

When your hair is this long, you can give yourself a beach wave look and lose hardly any length. J.Lo smoky eye and glossy lips really glam this look up from beach-ready, to runway-ready TBH.

14. The Side Part.

 @jlo.xox9 / Instagram

This is a look circa the ’90s.

15. The Updated Side Part.

 @kayla_jlover / Instagram

J.Lo let her tresses down loose and wavy, while slicking back just a single side part to show off her face, and earrings. This look is so uniquely elegantly Latina, we think she should trademark it.

16. The Half-Up, Half-Down Topknot.

 @kayla_jlover / Instagram

Meet my daily look (minus 20″ of hair). It’s a mix of a tight, full-face slick back that gives you an up-do and casual look all in one sweep. No fake hair accessories needed for J.Lo.

17. Bring on the volume.

 @kayla_jlover / Instagram

With a dark lipliner to frame her lips, how can she not frame that face with a deep, hairspray-induced voluminous look that can’t be beat.

18. The High Pony.

 @jlo_elo / Instagram

Iconic. Nobody does it better. The look is nothing without a pair of modern hoops, and a teased pony.

19. The Ultra-High Pony.

 @headkandi / Instagram

With the hair wrapped around the band at the top and wide, loos curls splaying out. I have a feeling this is a half-up, half-down look to add more volume, too.

20. The Short-Term Perm.

 @jlo_elo / Instagram

J.Lo was feelin’ herself with this look, that’s for sure. It’s fun, it’s light and J.Lo is taking it seriously.

21. The Full Slick.

 @fashionstreet_world / Instagram

J.Lo’s Met Gala look this year was a fierce lob. She slicked her hair behind the ear to show off her earrings, and topped it off with a side part. J.Lo

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

Things That Matter

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

Unsplash

A 16-month investigation conducted by Columbia Journalism Investigations found that the Match Group which owns 45 popular dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OK Cupid does not screen for sexual offenders. Match Group does audit users for sex crimes on their namesake property Match.com, but admits that on its free platforms it expects users to police themselves. 

The CJI report found that the policy leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, and multiple victims have reported rapes because of it. Tinder, the company’s most successful app, has 5.2 million subscribers. Altogether Match Group is worth $1.7 billion in revenue. Many feel the publicly-traded company owes its subscribers more protection. 

Susan Deveau says her Plenty of Fish date raped her. 

When 54-year-old Deveau met Mark Papamechail on Plenty of Fish in 2016, she had no way of knowing he was a three-time convicted rapist. In Massachusetts, he was listed as a dangerous registered sex offender. After going on several dates, Deveau reported to the police that Papamechail raped her. She was the second woman to report Papamechail for rape after meeting him on a dating app. 

According to the app’s terms of use subscribers must “promise” they haven’t committed a felony, sex crime, or violent crime by agreeing to it. Thus the only method of screening is an honor system that assumes any user would actually read through the lengthy agreement. The company does not try to verify or screen for whether users are being honest or not. 

There’s a reason why Match.com screens for registered sex offenders.

Before Match Group bought up its competitors and became publicly traded, it agreed to screen for sex crimes on its flagship property Match.com. When the company expanded it didn’t extend this policy to its catalog of 45 apps. Match.com only agreed to check its users against the government’s sex offender registries after a public complaint from Carole Markin in 2011.

Markin says she was raped by a man she met on the platform on their second date. Afterward, she discovered he was convicted of rape six times. Markin was able to make her lawsuit public having been an entertainment executive herself. Under pressure, Match.com’s lawyers revealed they had begun implementing the screening process that utilized the government registries. Eventually, Markin settled.

A Match Group spokesperson told CJI that the free platforms don’t collect enough data to create a uniform screening policy. 

“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” the spokesperson said

CJI found at least 157 incidents of sexual assault across dating apps. 

Most of the assaults happened within the last 5 years. Almost all of the victims were women who met their attackers on a Match Group dating app. 

“In 10% of the incidents, dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once, the analysis found. Only a fraction of these cases involved a registered sex offender,” according to the investigation. 

However, what was most notable was that Match.com, which does have a screening policy, had no assault cases. Match Group’s spokesperson said that tens of millions of people use their platform, therefore 157 cases aren’t enough to warrant an overhaul. 

 “[Match Group] takes the safety, security, and well-being of our users very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “A relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators. We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”

Some employees told CJI they don’t think the company goes far enough to protect users.

According to the investigation, many who worked at Match Group feel the company doesn’t equip or train them to deal with sexual assault complaints. Some said the process also fails to prevent more harm even after an incident has been reported because banned users can easily make new accounts.

“The problem has grown as the popularity of online dating has soared — in 2015, 12% of American adults were on a dating site, compared with 3% in 2008,” according to the report. “In 2016, the UK National Crime Agency reviewed police reports over a five-year period and found online-dating sexual assault had increased as much as 450% — from 33 to 184 cases.” 

CJI surveyed 1,200 women who used a dating app with the last 15 years. A third of the women surveyed said one of their dates sexually assaulted them, half of these women said it was rape. Match Group refused to comment on the questionnaire. 

Only five states have regulations to protect online daters, but those measures largely exist to prevent scams. With little pressure for the industry to change and as more victims come forward the future of online dating remains uncertain.