Psychology, Reality TV, Vanderpump Rules

#PumpRules: Preconceived Notions, Premature Judgements…or Prejudice?

Season 7 of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules premieres next month and fans have expressed some opinions on one of the cast mates, who is slated to become more of a central character this time around. The show’s first transgender personality, Billie Lee, had minimal, yet significant story-lines during Season 6. She fascinated and inspired viewers with her candor about her courageous journey with a triumphant outcome, albeit one still filled with challenges.

During the off season while the show was not airing (but filming), some drama transpired in the complicated world of social media. Billie Lee claimed to have been excluded from a party thrown by a cast mate, while the others chimed in to say she had been invited. Others contradicted that by saying the party was for a specific set of restaurant workers. Billie used her platform and past experience to communicate that this current conundrum reflected the type of cliqueness and exclusion she had and still experienced as a trans women. Cast mates chimed in on Instagram to say she was overreacting and viewers came to the defense of the somewhat snobbish Vanderpump Rules queen bee Stassi Schroeder, who deemed Billie Lee to be an overreactive drama queen.

A lot of venom was spewed in that vortex known as the “interwebs.” Facebook groups, Twitter pages and Instagram posts began to pop up that were less than pro Billie Lee. They praised her journey and the fact that she was a trans spokeswoman but, without actually seeing the footage from season 7, deemed her to be a diva with personality issues.

Whether Billie Lee was discriminated against or not is something viewers will have to determine individually when the season airs. But one thing that we should all keep in mind is that she has an understandable reason to be extra sensitive. Stassi Schroeder makes for great television and has learned a lot during her time on the show, but she has made the news in the past and rubbed cast mates the wrong way for criticizing aspects of the #MeToo movement. She also impulsively made quips that were the opposite of “woke.” To her credit however, Stassi has acknowledged that she wants to do better. She has admitted to her faults and to the fact that she is constantly learning and evolving. We have come to see her as continually taking two steps forward, then two steps back and then a step forward again.

Given this context and the fact that Billie Lee has been through a trying ordeal – living most of her life feeling she was in the wrong body and having faced backlash and bias – we have extra information to truly consider once the season airs. Maybe fans will understand Billie Lee, and perhaps others will hate her due to her personality…with it having nothing to do with anything other than personality. Still, I think we need to try to abolish the memories of the social media drama between seasons. We (you and me, all of us) should keep in mind that Billie Lee had been through one hell of a ride before she was cast on the show. She didn’t get to the highs without incurring the unimaginable lows.

Before beginning Season 7 on Monday December 3rd (at 9PM), it might be insightful to read more about Billie Lee’s past, the ordeals she has been through, the trials and tribulations she faces daily and generally, what it is like for her to live as a trans woman in 2018: Billie Lee’s Website.

(Pictured: Lisa Vanderpump with Billie Lee, Photo Credit: Bustle.com)

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#PumpRules: Is Billie Lee Trying to Make Fetch Happen?

(Photo source: ItsMeBillieLee.com) Billie Lee may have made the inevitable move of Vanderpump Rules cast mates past initiation, stirring the pot to make something into something much bigger. Or, she may have made a legitimate point about insensitive cast mates. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until the drama (currently being filmed) unfolds next season to find out and decide for ourselves.

In the interim, fans of the show took to social media to call out the newest cast addition for creating drama where perhaps there needn’t have been any… ? I deliberately put that question mark there since I personally don’t know what to make of this most recent Vanderpump brouhaha.

Billie Lee’s recent tweets seem to indicate she wasn’t invited to a girls’ night with coworkers, and she suggests it’s because she is transgender. However, viewers saw Billie Lee embraced wholeheartedly by all her costars this past season.

Fans are now speculating online that this most recent debacle might have something to do with Billie Lee’s character…or the cast’s general cliquish ways, and nothing at all to do with being transgender.

Vanderpump Rules cast member Tom Schwartz suggests Billie Lee is making a mountain out of a mole hill

Others pointed to an Instagram post where Billie Lee is “tagged” about the upcoming girls’ night and even responds positively, citing that exchange as the “invitation”.

It is impossible to determine at this point what is truly going on behind the scenes. Billie Lee may have some legit gripes about her cast mates, and this very likely will feed in to a greater storyline when Vanderpump Rules returns.

Her tweets about not being invited remind me of Dorinda Medley yelling at Sonja Morganon Real Housewives of New York about using her ex’s family crest for her shoe line (#ItsNotAboutTheCrest):

I suspect there’s a lot more to this argument than meets the eye.

We’ll have to wait until next season of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules to find out.

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Bravo TV, Uncategorized

Vanderpump Rules’ Billie Lee: “It’s an Inspiring Story, But It’s Still My Truth”

This season on Vanderpump Rules, we were introduced to a woman who brings a charming candor about her private life and personal journey to a national audience. With matriarch Lisa Vanderpump as a known LGBTQ proponent, it is notable that the newest cast member Billie Lee is Vanderpump Rules’ first transgender cast member. In an interview with Danny Pellegrino for his podcast Everything Iconic, Billie Lee disclosed that viewers will get to see much more about her life and the anxieties she grapples with. She also spoke about how difficult it has been to open up about her journey and how she is adjusting to suddenly finding herself in the spotlight. To read more about Billie Lee’s interview with Danny Pellegrino, see my article on the website All About The Real Housewives (AllAboutTRH.com): http://www.allabouttrh.com/2018/02/21/vanderpump-rules-billie-lee-inspiring-story-still-truth/.

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