Vanderpump Rules
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Why Pump Rules Season 11 Should Have Been the Women’s Season

I had high hopes for Season 11 of Vanderpump Rules. I thought this was the year. The year the women would band together and put those ridiculous toddler men in their place. When Scandoval broke in March 2022, fans were infuriated that somehow Tom Sandoval dared to sneak around behind Ariana Madix’s back. For years, we watched as the boy’s club covered up for one another’s infidelity. And collectively, we said, “no more!” Yet Season 11 is still showing just how badly these men are behaving. And what’s worse is the ladies are just letting the bad attitudes slide. 

The narrative needs to change

I can’t help thinking that this should and could have been the women’s season. All four women Katie Maloney, Ariana, Lala Kent, and Scheana Shay stick together. Rallying behind Ariana after Scandoval and focused on female friendship’s power. They could and should have stood up to the men who have gaslit them. And, sadly, the season isn’t just that. I’m haunted by a quote from 2012. It came from The Newsroom, a fictional series about a cable network. It goes, “No one has ever gone broke in America serving up a woman who makes other women feel superior.”

The quote had my mind turning as I compared these words to how the ladies of Vanderpump Rules play into the series’ negative portrayals. For ten years, Katie, Ariana, Lala, and Scheana have all continued to prop up the mediocre men around them, like Tom Schwartz, Sandy, and Jax Taylor. It also hasn’t gone amiss that the women frequently get the most hate each season. And it seems to be in a vicious cycle.  

Is production skewed?

Could it be that Bravo producers were also aware of this quote and felt they could frame the women in such a narrative? Were the women viewers supposed to turn on Ariana, too, being forced to think, “Well, I’m more understanding than Ariana.” Was the whole goal to feel empathy for Tom? Yes, he has apologized, but the bad behavior has yet to change.  

I’ve always related to the women on Vanderpump Rules. Whether it be watching them deal with loyalties, bridezillas, losing yourself in a relationship, or black-out nights. I saw a lot of my own life within them. But Season 11 is all focused on Sandoval instead of the true spirit of sisterhood. Showing snarky confessionals like Scheana being upset about not getting the call about Dancing with the Stars is absurd. I am over the idea of women hating on women. As Scheana once said, “I have never had a good season,” and I doubt that Season 11 will be any different. 

Tides are turning

I also don’t understand Lala and Scheana’s stance. They both seem to be coming for Ariana. More than once we have watched as both have made Ariana break down and cry. At some point, as friends, Lala and Scheana should have known better than to be puppets for production and stood for what was right. Ariana does not want to talk to Sandy or talk about him, which makes sense. The affair happened only a few months prior. What stopped the circle of girlfriends from banning around one another? 

It feels like the girls were scared for their jobs. It was as if they knew they had to make waves for the show to keep its spot in the ratings. If their reaction is just for more airtime, every early feminist is currently rolling over in their graves. 

Ariana isn’t wrong

It honestly boggles my mind that Ariana is being hung out to dry by the women, except her ride-or-die, Katie. Tom didn’t just cheat on his girlfriend. He weaponized Ariana’s mental health to use as an excuse; he ridiculed her sexuality and refused to sell their shared home. So forgive me if I don’t think it is wrong for Ariana not to want to communicate with him. It is honestly wild that she is being painted as unreasonable for this by anyone, let alone her close friends.   

I wanted Season 11 to be about the power of women because all four of these stars could make it happen. Instead, I am watching Ariana lose her sh*t at the beach while the others play devil’s advocate. To them, I say, do better. Be the friend you would want by your side.