"You've got girls and you've got women," Jules asserts, clearly frustrated by the unfolding of events. Jess smugly responds, "I beg your pardon", while Martha adds "Yeah I beg your pardon."
"What does that mean? The way you act is better than the way we act," Martha continues.
"No not at all, you've just got a maturity level..." Jules says before Martha interrupts, "Who is to decide which way is better?"
In these storyline's there's an underlying theme that continues to emerge - Jess seems to lack the total understanding of what it means to show respect.
This isn't the first time the series has made me question respect and for that matter the way Jess uses the word. Earlier this month the couple's embarked on their prospective "boys" and "girls" nights, and as Jess and Dan's affair is set to be revealed at any moment viewers sat on the edge of their seats. The respective groups headed to the pub, because obviously, and thus began my deep dive into respect.
"I respect Mick as a person, and I think he's an awesome human being but we're not happy," Jess confidently tells the girls straight up. "It's just done."
From the get-go, Martha and Jess create a clique dynamic that can only be described as the classic 'Mean Girls' trope. Eventually, the duo breaks off from the group to discuss Jess' infidelity with Tamara's current husband Dan, all the while the other girls continue discussing their relationships none the wiser.
"So we went to a bar, I wore the cute little outfit that you told me to wear," Jess tells Martha with a sly smile. "Dan, from the second he walked up, I had goosebumps and I was lost for words," she continues, without realising the other women are not only in eyesight, but earshot. "Dan makes me excited, I think he's amazing and we have nice little dates." Cut to Martha, who succinctly advises: "Do it, babe."
Once the group is brought back together attention turns, once again, to Jess and Dan. As a tactic to divert, Jess blurts: “Ning! Things Mick has brought up about you and Mark…are not nice."
“OK,” Ning drawls, as confused as the viewers.
“You…you know what Mick said about your and Mark’s relationship?” she seemingly screams at Ning. “And…and I’d rather…nahhhh…not bring it up tonight." Her tangent continues, “He lies to you. And Mick and Mark have both said that after this experiment ends they’re gonna go f*ck a whole bunch of bitches!”
That's when it clicks, Jess has been throwing around the word "respect" for the past several weeks, without adding any weight to the word at all. It's empty, every time it's used. And it's that, more so than the 'affair', that has begun to take its toll on me.
At last Sunday's commitment ceremony, Jess sat beside her husband Mick for the third week in a row to talk about how she wanted to end their relationship with "respect."
Mick adamantly said he wants to leave the experiment, with no desire to pursue their relationship. Jess tells him (and the experts), "I just think regardless of if its over or done on your end with the romance there should be some level of respect there for one another," Jess tells him, knowing full well she has no intention of forming a friendship with him.
Throughout the next twenty minutes, Jess continues to use respect as her go-to word. "I want him to respect me", "I want to respect him", "There should be a level of respect."
As a refresher, respect is defined as having due regard for the feelings, wishes and rights of others. None of which Jess has shown over the past several weeks, not to herself and not to anyone.
The reason the actions of a reality star has begun to eat away at me is not the mere fact that this reality TV contestant has continued to loosely use the word throughout the past eight weeks, but that its given me the realisation that most of our current issues on not only an Australian scale but a global scale, comes down to the lack of respect we've somehow forged as a whole.
I was always taught that in life, there would be times where I would participate in conversations which exposed me to thoughts and ideas that may not align with my own. Part of my learning was acknowledging that whilst we might not agree, people still deserved respect and to be heard. While social media is not in any means new, it has created a culture that shows a decrease in decorum - with people using language that might never have been used in generations before. Calling somebody a “c” word because you don’t agree with his or her stance on an issue is not “freedom of speech” or “exercising your democratic right”, it’s just plain disrespect.
Today, on Twitter alone, you can find countless examples of people freely dishing out disrespectful commentary on matters they mostly (I'm assuming) have no knowledge on.
Take the last week in Australia as a small snapshot.
After the devastating news of Christchurch, Australians were instead inundated with the news of "egg boy" vs. Senator Fraser Anning. Australian AFLW star Tayla Harris was met with disgusting, derogatory comments on an image of her kicking a goal. The image was a depiction of a woman at the height of her game, in what should have been taken as a testament to the incredible journey women have gone on to be taken seriously in the sport. But no, the image was taken down thanks to the insistent disrespect of those commenting.
While Jess' antics on Married At First Sight are hardly a catalyst, they do beg the start of a conversation into what we believe respect to be and how we are (or not) dishing it out.