guys, if you are a professional thing-maker and you make a thing, and you put it out for people to watch, they get to watch it however they want to. you are not the boss of it anymore. you don’t get to say no, analyze it this way, or yes, enjoy it that way. when people criticize or make fun of your thing, you have to remember that that is their right.
things belong to the people who watch them.
and you do not get to wade into their small discussion spaces— THEIR spaces, THEIR communities, THEIR homes— with your shit-kicking boots and make them feel uncomfortable and apologetic and uncertain about their opinions and feelings. you are a guest here, and you have a lot of power, and you do not get to use it abusively. i know you worked hard on your thing, and you love your thing, but you do not get to follow your thing around around yelling at everyone who engages with it because you don’t like what they’re saying.
you do not get to tell people that their reactions to your thing are wrong.
things should stand on their own.
- #lydia bennet
- #mary kate wiles
- #the lizzie bennet diaries
- #this was probably the worst part of the entire episode
- #she's really screaming out for help at this point i mean really?
- #i mean she's just so fucking broken i really don't think she understands the consequences of any of her actions
- #i just have a lot of feelings?
Sexual Mores, Sex Tapes, Love and Life
What I really like about this arch of the LBD story is how well it parallels the arch of P&P. Within the context of the Regency Era living in sin with a man who had no intentions of marrying you was a life crisis. It ruined your future romantic prospects and would leave you with few options beyond prostitution or hoping a man would take pity on you and marry you - but the only man who would do such a thing would probably be poor and abusive. You’re looking at a life of misery. Lydia had no clue that’s what she signed up for when she ran off with Wickham in the books. She thought that he loved her as she loved him, and was planning on marrying him. Meanwhile, he was using her for his own gratification and possibly financial gain should Lydia’s family offer to pay him to follow through with the marriage.
Those were the sexual mores of the time. Premarital sex (while frowned upon in some North American circles to this day) would mean you were doomed to being forced out of polite company and the support of your family. This is what the Bennets were concerned would happen to Lydia. This is why they were so frantic to find her and save her. I won’t deny that they were also concerned about the shadow it would cast upon the family, and how it would impact the rest of their daughters chances. That was a concern, and it’s not just being embarrassed in polite company. Lydia would have ruined her sisters chances at a good marriage, which was the only way to assure they’d be financially safe once their father passed on. But when they’re thinking of Lydia and the impact it will have on her life, it’s not a concern that when she matures she will be embarrassed.
Had Lydia merely eloped with Wickham, it would have been embarrassing immature, and poorly thought out. It would have been something her sisters could rightly scold her for because people would gossip and it would, for a time, make their lives more awkward in polite company. Here is where one could argue their self interest is placed above Lydia’s happiness, only under the conditions that Wickham and Lydia have run off to be married. I would disagree that they weren’t concerned for Lydia, because the kind of man who leaves lots of debt (which they were made aware of when the two ran off together), and who would elope with a gentleman’s daughter is not the kind of man you’d wish to see that daughter married too. I would argue there was some concern for the elopement’s impact on Lydia as well - that the concerns were not entirely selfish. We only know from Lizzy’s point of view, though, so I cannot say for sure what her parents and sister would have thought.
It is the later concern that she’s been tricked into premarital sex with no guarantee of marriage to follow when Lydia’s well being becomes the main concern. The family is worried Lydia has, blinded by love, walked into a life of misery and poverty. In the early 1800s, the sexual mores were much more strict and had a much larger impact on a young woman’s well being, a well being that was measured in large part by her financial status.
In the modern age, while a sex tape or sex scandal can hurt future romantic prospects, it isn’t the same kind of financial ruin. We still worry about financial security, but due to the nature of women’s place in the workforce, a middle class family is less concerned about Lydia’s financial future than they would be in the book.
The first situation, the one Lizzie first assumes happened, is that Wickham talked Lydia into releasing a sex tape. This is the part that is comparable to the assumption that Lydia is going to elope with Wickham. It is the embarrassing and thoughtless. It causes those who know and love her concern. They’re worried about it’s future impact on her reputation first, followed by her wellbeing.
Lizzy in the books blames Lydia’s stupidity and thoughtlessness. Lizzie in the LBD blames Wickham for taking advantage of Lydia. She thinks he’s manipulated or tricked or bullied her into thinking this was a good idea. This concept of consent, even under false circumstances, is the elopement of the vlogs.
Agreeing to put a sex tape up is not the same situation at all as having your boyfriend put it up without permission. Running away to get married isn’t the same as running away to think you’ll be married, only to live in sin and find your reputation ruined.
Lydia isn’t necessarily going to end up a homeless prostitute because she sold a tape of her having sex with her boyfriend online. A sex tape might have hurt that financial security (being refused certain jobs in the future), but it wouldn’t leave her impoverished. Lydia might later be embarrassed by her sex tapes, or regret them, but it isn’t the worst that could have happened. Like the marriage it’s a poor decision which will impact her future and her standing in society. But it isn’t the end of the world for Lydia. It will effect her future in a permanent way, but it doesn’t ruin her.
Wickham leaving her a ruined woman, unmarried with no prospects would have both broken Lydia’s heart, and left her in a state of poverty and despair The LBD removes the poverty part, and makes Lydia aware of Wickham’s intentions. The LBD Lydia comes to learn of Wickham’s true nature because in the modern era you can hurt women in way worse ways than poverty. Financial ruin and doomed to prostitution both is unrealistic to a modern audience, but poverty isn’t enough. It isn’t the worst end, as it was in P&P.
The impact of the worst case scenario here is what that tape could do to Lydia’s mental state, and to her relationships with her family. What are the consequences if Lizzie were as judgmental as Lydia argued she was early on in their fight (and as Wickham might believe - my personal suspicion is he thinks Lizzie hasn’t learned about the hazards of being judgmental). Lizzie would reject Lydia completely. She would distance herself further from a sister who had just experienced a traumatic exploitation by a man she thought loved her. Lydia would be in a very scary place emotionally and mentally. Wickham was hoping to drive Lizzie away long enough that Lydia’s ruin becomes unfixable. There are some hurts we never fully recover from, and if Lizzie abandoned Lydia in her time of need, that relationship would be ruined forever and would cause a lot of pain to both sisters, as would a failure to elope the book would have done.
But Lizzie isn’t that judgmental She comes home thinking she’s dealing with situation 1 and wants to fix it before Lydia can be hurt by the consequences of her actions. The sexual mores of our time, whether you agree with them or not, hold that sex tapes are a bad thing for young women. It’s something an older sister can be justified in worrying about, it’s something she can leave an excellent internship and potential boyfriend to come home and try and talk you out of it and not be the bad guy. Because she’s acting within the realm of our sexual mores, and she feels badly for having judged Lydia poorly. But those judgements stick because Lydia encouraged them before vegas, and in her early videos with Wickham. The Gigi situation doesn’t give Lizzie the depth of Wickham’s malice, so she assumes Wickham must have gotten Lydia to agree and done it by manipulating Lydia’s anger towards Lizzie and Lizzie’s judgements. But at the end of the day, the best case scenario still has Lydia agreeing, and it is a scenario that is realistic.
Even those who watch Lydia, her last video was ambiguous. She says she would do anything for Wickham, and leaves her next video as a huge question mark. If Wickham had enough power over her, she might have agreed to posting the sex tape. There were a few fans who though she’d agreed having seen all the videos. There is no guarantee that had Lizzie seen all the vlogs that she would have thought Lydia hadn’t agreed.
But a sex tape put up against your consent? That’s even worse, but not for its moral implications It’s worse because of the hurt it causes. It’s letting your most intimate moments being sold for the consumption of others, it’s letting other men get off on watching you naked when you never agreed to any such thing.
Even if Lizzie accepts her and doesn’t judge her badly for the sex tape, Lydia has a huge crisis on her hands. She’s already admitted to having emotional hurts over lies about her reputation. She’s already admitted to having guys lie and hurt her, and we can see how that affected her. It could take her years to be able to trust another guy well enough to fall in love again. It might never happen. And while the sex tape is big internet news, she’s going to have to deal with a constant reminder that tons of people are seeing her have sex, and thinking she’s a slut for it. This is all a product of Wickham’s abuse and manipulation. He gained her trust, made her dependent on him, removed her from her sisters and then did something that could break her.
It is the abuse, the breaking of trust and the manipulation that causes Lydia’s crisis. Lydia isn’t a shamed woman for having sex. The sex tape plays second fiddle to the impact of the sex tape on Lydia. She is an abuse survivor who has only just realized the gravity of her situation and the depth of Wickham’s malice. This pain is our modern equivalent to a life in poverty and shame.
Wickham, instead of ruining Lydia’s reputation as an act of revenge on Lizzie, is doing his best to break her spirit. The breach in trust and the broken heart might heal in time. The constant reminder that she is no better than what the gossips say, the knowledge any man who pleases can see her at her most vulnerable, and knowing these two things will follow her forever, that’s the crisis. The sex tape brings about these things, and only under circumstances that Lydia didn’t know better.
Lydia doesn’t have a truly happy ending in the books. She marries the man she wants, and her parents learn to be happy about it, but the book makes it clear the two of them fall out of love. They live in debt and move often to avoid creditors. She can only see Lizzie when Wickahm’s out of town, and and Jane and Bingly often have to limit how often they see Wickham and Lydia because they find the latter’s behavior grating. Her sisters do make the effort to see her, and help her out with her finances despite her actions. I wouldn’t call that a happy ending, though it’s not as bad as what would have been had she not married Wickham.
In the LBD I don’t know what they’re going to do. Since they have revealed Wickham’s intentions towards Lydia, I think she’ll get a better ending than the book. She will be hurt by him, and maybe need to seek out treatment to deal with anxieties resulting from his actions. I think the LBD has placed a greater importance on the sister’s relationship, and that is going to be her happy ending. She’s going to have her sisters around to support her through her emotional crisis. But this is all speculation, and I’m excited to see what the creators do.
K so I don’t do this often but I have some LBD thoughts. Nothing particularly original or thoughtful here, mostly just rambling but what the heck here ya go
Did ep 73 make me almost cry because Lydia was just so hurt? You betcha.
Is Lydia a precious lovable angel? Nope.
(Is Mary Kate? Yes.)
Does Lizzie mean well? Sure.
Is she doing everything wrong? Hell yes she is.
Did Lizzie have today’s treatment from Lydia coming? Probably. Did Lydia still go too far? Probably.
Here’s the dealio. It’s really hard to take sides here because both sisters are in the wrong and it’s possible to sympathize with both (which is great writing btw because newsflash this is what real life is often like). Lizzie has good intentions and does really love her sister. Problem is, she’s been paying such minimal attention to Lydia for so long that she doesn’t know how to get her message across without hurting Lydia’s feelings. So she does it in her usual straightforward way and when Lydia responds negatively she is surprised and tries to justify herself and basically digs herself into a hole. For one thing, if she cared enough to actually get to know her sister beyond the “energetic” party girl, she wouldn’t be surprised at Lydia displaying signs of sensitivity to others’ opinions. She should have been conscious of all the crap Lydia’s been taking lately, including the things Darcy and Caroline said which we realize in this ep clearly affected Lydia, although she hasn’t really shown this up until now. Not to mention the way Lizzie herself usually treats Lydia. Basically, the whole thing was just completely tactless and thoughtless on Lizzie’s part.
Now, Lydia. Yes, I feel really bad for her that this happened the way it did and that her eyes were opened so painfully. It had to happen eventually though because you know what? She is immature and she does need to start growing up. She’s already on her way, she’s been taking school more seriously and has been trying to form more meaningful relationships with people (and both of these things are mostly thanks to Mary which is interesting because it shows how in order to begin growing up and have better relationships she had to go outside of her immediate family and start something new). But she needs to realize that party!Lydia and grownup!Lydia can’t live parallel to each other. Growing up doesn’t mean she has to let go of her exuberant personality and it doesn’t mean she can’t still have fun sometimes; now that I think about it, really what Lydia needs to learn is “all things in moderation”. Pretty simple, I’d say. She also needs to realize that to be loved doesn’t mean to be constantly shown attention. Plus I think Lydia has this issue where she desperately wants to be loved but she’s been belittled and treated badly so long by her family (mainly Lizzie) that she’s stuck in this mindset of “Well if no one thinks I’m worthy why would they love me anyways, and what if I really am all they say I am and I’ll only disappoint whoever loves me”
or maybe I’m just projecting my own personal insecurities onto Lydia who knows so as someone else said recently (can’t remember who sorry) she’s surprised when she hurts people because you have to matter to someone to truly hurt them and it surprises her that she matters.
I just had to answer a phone call from my dad and I completely lost my train of thought….
Alright well I’ll just move on to today’s video real quick. Yeah, it was harsh. Yes, I agree that Lizzie has superiority issues (which is kind of as canon as it gets guys, let’s remember the title of the book here, the whole point is that both Lizzie and Darcy have both vices). But Lydia is definitely the pot calling kettle black on the hobby thing. Note to Lydia: at least Lizzie’s few occupations are fairly constructive.
OK well I know I had more to say but as I said, I lost my train of thought so maybe I’ll pick it up in another post but this is all for now. Thoughts and comments etc more than welcome.