I’ve been a long-time fan of Keira Maguire. The Bachelor star was painted as a bitchy, mean villain on her first reality TV stint, but over time won hearts with her tell it like it is attitude, which often cut through a lot of bullshit on what can be the fakest reality show of them all.
I wasn’t alone in this. Loads of Bachie fans came around to Keira, especially after her appearance on Bachelor In Paradise‘s first season. Paradise has proved time and again that the way we’ve perceived people on The Bachelor/Bachelorette has often been more a caricature of their real self, and Keira on Paradise was still sassy as fuck – but not a straight up demon. Her romance with Jarrod Woodgate felt genuine and lasted well beyond the show.
Keira Maguire made a return last night on the third season of Bachelor In Paradise. I was thrilled that she was returning – in my memory, she brought a bit of spice to what can sometimes be a lot of boring ~friendship rose~ energy, so I was hoping she’d do that in Paradise too.
I love how she knows what she wants and goes for it. I love her no bullshit approach where she’ll call out people being fake or hedging around stuff. But what I could not stomach was her picking a fight with someone who was visibly upset already in last night’s episode.
To recap a little, in case you missed last night’s ep. The gang had a Bula Banquet. Keira was asked an anonymous question about whether she was in Paradise to fuck shit up, or to find love. At that point, someone said Alisha might have something to say about that – Alisha had previously said to some other Paradise folks that Keira “hated her”, after she DMed Keira following a series of posts on Instagram calling out Alisha’s romance with Jules in season two as a copycat of her relationship with Jarrod.
It’s all very Instagram-drama, sure. But that whole issue wasn’t really what was going down last night. I can definitely understand Keira wanting to confront Alisha about what she’d been saying behind her back. I’d probably be pissed, too – you’ve just walked into the place and you learn that people have been talking about you without you there.
The problem was, just after this was brought up, the convo moved on. Jamie was asked about how he felt toward Britt, and in typical Jamie fashion was giving mixed signals – again.
For Alisha, this brought up memories of her experience last year with Jules. To recap THAT, Alisha was in an on/off romance for the entirety of BIP with Jules, who would say similar things Jamie’s been saying to Britt, like “I can’t imagine my time here without you” but never actually being clear about his emotions.
It was clear that Alisha was triggered – properly triggered – by what was happening between Jamie and Britt. The word triggered is thrown around too much these days, but experiences in relationships can definitely be traumatic, especially if they affect your self esteem, your trust, or any other foundational element that dictates how you see yourself beyond that relationship.
A lot of fake shit happens on these shows but it would be hard to argue that Alisha’s reaction was bullshit – she was sobbing quietly at the end of the table, and didn’t actually acknowledge it until someone spotted her visibly upset.
So for Keira to see that happening and to choose that moment to bring up the stupid IG shit from a previous conversation was downright cruelty. That’s not funny Bachelor In Paradise drama. It’s not warranted anger. It’s just plain bullying.
It was really hard to watch Keira sledge Alisha when she was already going through a trigger response. Keira knew what she was doing, too – it was clear she was using the opportunity to kick Alisha while she was down when other people mentioned that it probably wasn’t the best time, and they should chat about it later – but she continued.
I’m not going to pretend I don’t live for the drama. I LOVE THE DRAMA. But there’s drama like people lying and getting caught out for it, people stirring the pot, people getting super drunk and making a fool of themselves – and then there’s actively trying to hurt someone, which for me crosses a line.
I also won’t pretend I haven’t fucked up and said mean shit about people. We all have. And the line is blurry – we all have different ideas of what is and isn’t “bullying”. But this isn’t about being the Nice Police and slamming any sassy comment, it’s specifically about Keira actively choosing a moment where someone else is hurting to intentionally rip them to shreds.
As reality TV fans, it feels like we’re just done with that calculated tearing-down-women shit. For example, we had no time for Cass slut shaming Jess. We had no time for Mary slut shaming Abbie. We don’t find that kind of bullying behaviour funny or sassy anymore, and the comments online proved it.
It’s 2020. And you know what, I feel like we are doing better – it was nice to see loads of Bachie fans calling Keira out for bullying, not laughing along like her behaviour was just part of what the show is about. It was nice seeing people call out Cass and Mary when they were shaming other women. You can’t get around the fact that reality TV is something we consume as a guilty pleasure, but there’s a difference between enjoying human drama and relishing in people being bullied.
Here’s hoping Keira sees it this way eventually, too.