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We need to talk about the glaring problem with the 'homewrecker' narrative on MAFS.

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On Wednesday night’s episode of Married At First SightHayley and Michael’s long-rumoured cheating scandal finally came to fruition.

After discovering that Hayley had been “making out” with fellow contestant Michael on a night out, Hayley’s husband, David, attended the dinner party alone.

But as the dinner party kicked off, things soon went awry.

MAFS Experts: UNCUT. Exactly what goes down behind the scenes. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Hoping to dispel some rumours among the contestants about his “affair” with Hayley, Michael stood up and addressed the room.

“On that night, I made a foolish mistake in going out after I promised Stacey I wouldn’t,” Michael admitted.

“I went into the room of Chris and Vanessa. In that room, we were drinking and getting carried away – we were very drunk – I was dancing on Hayley and acting very immature,” he continued.

“But during that night, I did not kiss Hayley.”

Michael apologised to both Stacey and David for his actions. But before long, Hayley disputed Michael’s claims.

“We did kiss and we did hook up,” Hayley responded.

“Did we party pash? We did. I would not come out and say something for no particular reason.”

Michael, however, continued to deny the allegations, adding: “I cannot apologise for something that I have no recollection of happening”.

Clare and Jessie Stephens recap the latest week on Married At First Sight on Mamamia Recaps. Post continues below.

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Although both Michael and Hayley were ultimately complicit in their drunken hook-up, the tables soon turned on Hayley.

In fact, somehow, Michael entirely escaped Stacey’s anger.

While Michael was seemingly let off the hook, Stacey’s frustration was wholly directed at Hayley.

“No one here is ever going to trust their husband around you. You betrayed me. You betrayed every woman in this room,” Stacey told Hayley.

“Why were you even out with my husband alone? I was home with my children in bed. You’ve just ruined a relationship,” she continued.

“Yes, he’s a dickhead. Yes, he parties. But you’ve taken advantage of that. You were encouraging vulnerable Michael.”

It wasn’t Michael’s fault for cheating. It was Hayley’s fault for seducing “vulnerable Michael”.

Likewise, when Michael apologised to David for kissing his wife, David didn’t fight back. Instead, David thanked Michael.

“I shake your hand for showing everyone the type of woman that Hayley really is,” David told him.

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Stacey on Married At First Sight. Image: Channel Nine.

And just like that, Hayley became 'the homewrecker'.

The 'homewrecker' narrative is a tale as old as time. Put simply – a man cheats, and it's the "other woman" who gets the blame.

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Last night, the homewrecker narrative was a conversation that came up among the contestants, the experts and viewers alike.

As contestant Connie put it: "It wasn't Hayley that cheated on Stacey. It was Michael who cheated on Stacey".

Two people were involved. Two people shared a kiss. And yet there was only one person who bore the brunt of the blame.

"In the real world, if this had happened, Michael would be getting 50 per cent of the blame," Hayley told Mamamia before the episode aired.

"The thing you've got to understand is that at this point, I was kind of an outer. I had always spoken the truth and sometimes the truth doesn't resonate with other people."

No matter the context – in everyday life, on reality TV or even in the world of pop culture – the 'other woman' is constantly blamed for the man's indiscretions in an affair.

In fact, just like in Hayley and Michael's case, it's almost as if the man has entirely no control over his own actions in the situation. Instead, it was the other woman – the homewrecker – who seduced him. It was the other woman who stole him away. It was the other woman who tore a relationship apart.

It's an ongoing narrative that men can't control themselves and aren't to blame for their actions. After all, if the other woman "hadn't seduced him", he wouldn't have cheated.

When a man cheats on his partner, however, it's not because he's been forced to or because he's been "seduced". Instead, a man cheats on his wife or partner because he has decided to do so. He has made that choice.

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Micheal on Married At First Sight. Image: Channel 9.
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In the world of celebrity, we've seen the homewrecker narrative time and time again.

In perhaps the most famous tale of the 'other woman' of all time, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt's second wife, is still known by many as the 'homewrecker' who stole the actor away from his seemingly perfect marriage to Jennifer Aniston.

While Pitt moved from his marriage to Aniston to his new relationship with Jolie with limited repercussions, both Jolie and Aniston were plagued by their new labels for years afterwards.

At the time, the two women were plastered on magazine covers worldwide, and 'Team Aniston' and 'Team Jolie' t-shirts were sold.

Even now, 15 years later, the media continues to refer to Aniston as 'Sad Jen', while Jolie remains the 'bad girl' who seduced Aniston's husband and stole him away.

And yet somehow, Brad Pitt was not to blame. Just like in the case of Hayley and Michael, the blame was entirely based on the so-called homewrecker, Angelina Jolie.

brad pitt jennifer aniston
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston at the SAG Awards. Image: Getty.

Similarly, Kim Kardashian was called a "homewrecker" for years after she began dating her now-husband Kanye West.

Amber Rose, who was previously in a relationship with West for two years, famously told Star Magazine in 2012"Kim is one of the main reasons why me and Kanye are not together. She's a home-wrecker".

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Rose didn't blame the man that she was dating. Instead, she blamed the 'other woman'.

Kardashian later cleared up the allegations in 2019, sharing on Keeping Up With The Kardashians that she actually didn't begin dating West until years after his split from Rose.

In the years prior to responding to the claims, Kardashian continued to wear that homewrecker label. West, on the other hand, remained relatively unscathed.

From celebrity relationships to real life relationships, the homewrecker narrative doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Perhaps it's time to acknowledge that men are just as accountable for their actions as women are.

It takes two to tango, right?

Feature Image: Channel Nine.

For more on this topic:

Married At First Sight airs Sunday to Wednesday on Channel Nine at 7.30pm.


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