The Jordyn Woods scandal and what it says about media’s representation of women

The only celebrity gossip that has been on anyone’s lips has been the Khloe Kardashian, Tristan Thompson, Jordyn Woods cheating scandal. Jordyn sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith to give her tale of what happened between her and Tristan and since then, the scandal has turned from a story about the celebrity betrayal of the year to a lesson about the persecution of women of colour in the media.

Rumours surfacing of Tristan Thompson cheating on his girlfriend Khloe Kardashian at an LA party was not particularly surprising.  Tristan has been caught multiple times on camera with various women in the past, with some videos surfacing just weeks before Khloe was about to give birth. So why was this story, with no video or photographic support suddenly such big news? Because he was reported to have been cheating with Jordyn Woods, the live-in best friend of Khloe’s sister, Kylie Jenner. 

Immediate reactions from both the public and the people involved were brutal, judgemental and bizarre. Kim Kardashian was the first to confirm Khloe and Tristan’s split, when she tweeted in defence of her sister going out to an event the day after the news broke, saying: ‘a single mom has to work too boo!’. Straight away, the public labelled Jordyn as a ‘snake’ and a ‘homewrecker,’ with very little focus put onto the part played by Tristan. The general defence for this on social media seemed to be that it was expected behaviour from him, but that Jordyn’s involvement was a ‘betrayal’ to the Kardashian family that was somehow worse than Tristan cheating on the mother of his child. 

Jordyn finally broke her week-long silence when she appeared on Friday’s episode of ‘Red Table Talk,’ with Jada Pinkett Smith. In an emotional interview, she gradually described the party, making it clear that there was “no lap dance,” and that she didn’t go there with any intention of pursuing Tristan. In Jordyn’s version of the story, she categorically denies sleeping with Tristan, but does admit that she was “sat on the arm of his chair,” and that in the morning, as she left the party, he unexpectedly kissed her on the lips. After being questioned, she hinted at deeper problems within Khloe and Tristan’s relationship as she said: “I know I am not the reason that Tristan and Khloe are not together.” After claiming that she has been faced with harassment and numerous death threats, she admitted that she “made a mistake,” but “not a mistake worth public crucifixion.” Jada, a long time family friend of Jordyn, asked viewers to have ‘compassion’ for her, and referenced past media injustices when she said, “Well, you know what they say: Black women can be the most disregarded and disrespected creatures on Earth.” 

Because of her closeness to the Kardashian-Jenner clan, the media can have the excuse of the sense of family betrayal to justify their harsh and unwavering criticism of Jordyn. However, it is clear that she has faced more media abuse for an undocumented kiss than all of the white women that Tristan has cheated with on-camera combined. This scandal is the latest target in the media tradition of holding a microscope over the actions of women of colour, and disregarding the actions of others who are more responsible. 

As far as the Kardashians go, there is little hope for reconciliation with Jordyn. One thing that is for certain, however, is that the previously declining Keeping up with the Kardashians has now been guaranteed at least another season.

Image: frenchieinportland via Wikimedia Commons 

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