At the nominations on episode 9 of Spies, Lies and Allies, we see Cory pitted against Ashley. Now that the veterans need to turn on each other, people are finding any excuse to save their own asses. As a result, Ashley and Amber have acquired targets for being Challenge champions.
While defending himself, Cory discussed Ashley’s Final Reckoning win. He tried to call her shady because she stole Hunter’s money. Meanwhile, Nany sent Amber into elimination as part of The Agency. At one point, she credited Amber as a strong competitor for winning Double Agents. Admittedly, Nany did lose in the final to Amber. At least she has valid reason to be afraid of Amber.
Meanwhile, CT is flying under the radar. He has won four seasons, but the veterans aren’t targeting him. He played an active role in choosing between Cory or Ashley as the house vote.
Due to the fact that the women have targets but CT does not, Rachel noted the fact that women are held to different standards than the men on The Challenge.
It’s easy to point the finger at Cory for trying to get Ashley thrown into The Lair as the house vote, but he really isn’t the only bad guy here. Cory was also in jeopardy, so he was trying to deflect his target and throw it onto Ashley. His strategy only had merit because Ashley was already considered for elimination. Cory (and best friend Nelson) was just trying to save his own ass and preserve number in his alliance by any means necessary. This doesn’t make him a bad person.
Earlier in the episode, we saw Devin stating that he wanted a veteran to win this season. However, he put preference on non-champion veterans winning. He specifically said he didn’t want to run against Ashley, Amber or CT in the final. Later in the episode, we see a group of people gather outside. Devin is weighing the pros and cons of sending Cory or Ashley into elimination. This is really where the sexism comes into play. Why is Ashley an immediate target but not CT?
Earlier in the episode, we also see Nelson and Cory talking. They’ve identified “Devin’s crew” as an all-male alliance including: Devin, Kyle, CT, and Ed. This is akin to all-male alliances that have historically dominated The Challenge, something Rachel has personally dealt with on The Island or Battle of the Exes. This crew has the power to get Ashley sent into elimination, and it was considered to preserve numbers, but Ashley has a great track record. She can win finals, and she’d be an asset to many of the males.
Truthfully, this episode didn’t come across as exceptionally sexist from my perspective, but this does not mean Rachel is wrong. The things we see are a result of dozens of seasons run by the men. The episode also saw a female as part of The Agency. Nany isn’t going to vote CT into The Lair because he’s a good competitor. She can win with CT, but if she runs against Amber or Ashely she’s unlikely to win.
I’m also more forgiving of Amber’s treatment. We know the Big Brother Alliance has always treated her unfairly, and this was apparent on Double Agents. Plus, she is the least-seasoned veteran on The Challenge right now. She’s a champion, but she’s only on her second season.
As the season progresses, we will see if Devin sticks true to his word. If CT sees the final without seeing elimination, Rachel’s statements will be supported by more evidence. If Devin tries to target CT later, he’s probably just trying to play a smarter game right now. CT is a good ally to Devin, but he’ll also prevent him from winning if they’re both in the final.