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For the Record: My Twitter War with Steve Ward of Tough Love

Dude. I just got into my first twitter war! And it was so fun!

Here’s the backstory: sometimes, in moments of weakness, I tend to indulge in a VH1 show called Tough Love. This show has several iterations, including Tough Love Couples and Tough Love: New Orleans, but the basic premise for all of them is the same:  a man, Steve Ward, doles out — wait for it — tough love to women who are terribly, perhaps irredeemably lost, misguided, and — worst of all — SINGLE.

Ward, whose credentials as a “relationship expert” are murky (he appears to be single and is often accompanied on the show by his mother), operates from the basic premise that all single women are broken and need to be fixed.  By him. He heaps abuse on the women who participate in the show, giving them reductive labels (“Miss Gold Digger” for a woman who wants a man with money, “Miss Ticking Clock” for a woman — gasp! — in her ’40s, etc.) and then berates them, endlessly, for their looks and behavior (e.g., one woman, who maybe got a little trigger-happy with the Botox, is told that she looks like she is wearing a mask).

To be fair, the women who come on this show are some of the trainwreckiest of trainwrecks (example: Melissa, a 25 year old virgin who is an odd combination of awkward and haughty and who brags about being able to stick her whole fist in her mouth), so Ward has ample material to work with in tearing them down.  But watching the show is a deeply uncomfortable experience.  Unlike other shows that celebrate the trashy, the bad, and the pitiful, Tough Love actually makes me feel icky when I watch it.  After all, the entire point of the show seems to be to highlight how pathetic and ridiculous women are, and to drive home the point that only by accepting Ward’s criticism can they be fixed.  Ward’s condescending daddy routine, in which he sternly lectures the women about their interactions with men (before retreating to his mother’s basement, presumably) is gross.  So gross, in fact, that I felt moved to post the following tweet:

Stephanie Early ‏ @eteffi another thing about tough love: new orleans. WOW this show makes me angry as a woman. could @stevenbward be more of a creepy misogynist?

To my surprise, about a second later, Ward replied.

Steve Ward ‏ @stevenbward Get her tweeps! RT @eteffi #toughlove. WOW this show makes me angry as a woman. could @stevenbward be more of a creepy misogynist?

Ruh roh. Here is just the merest taste of the absurdist Twitter fight that ensued:

Stephanie Early ‏ @eteffi @stevenbward dude. c’mon. the whole show is about finding pathetic women and calling them out for being pathetic. how is that helpful?
 Steve Ward ‏ @stevenbward.@eteffi Actually sweetheart, the show is about making examples of women who represent a lot of people you know. Probably like yourself.
Stephanie Early ‏ @eteffi @stevenbward I guess I object to your tone and delivery. Calling me ‘sweetheart,’ for example. Rubs me the wrong way.
 Steve Ward @eteffi Yep, I called you “sweetheart” purely to antagonize you. I’m far from a misogynist but I’ll call you, Miss Could-Use-A-Dictionary.

Steve Ward ‏ @stevenbward I love dishin’ out #toughlove on Twitter. Y’just don’t see it often bc this chick @eteffi is the 1st person 2 eva call me a misogynist haha.

Stephanie Early ‏ @eteffi @stevenbward I call ’em like I see ’em, buddy. I get the sense that you don’t have a ton of respect for women.

Steve Ward ‏ @stevenbward .@eteffi Do u not understand english? Do u not realize these girls are there to redeem themselves? They’re portraying themselves, Einstein.

Stephanie Early ‏ @eteffi @stevenbward It took me a long time to type in English without understanding it, but I’m getting there! I’m like Abba, lip-reading thru life

Steve Ward ‏ @stevenbward The more I read this girl @eteffi ‘s tweets about me the more sorry I feel for her and how confused and misguided she is.#doneengagingher

Stephanie Early ‏ @eteffi @stevenbward I’m already engaged, hon. (*BURN.*)

I think that last line was my best zinger, don’t you? Ha!

I love how the assumption on Ward’s part here seems to be that I am: a) single, b) dumb, and c) “misguided.” Whereas, I’d argue that I am pretty firmly the opposite of those things.  But hey, Steve’s the expert.

And here are just a few of my favorite posts from his followers, ALL OF WHOM APPEAR TO BE FEMALE, which blows my mind:

Vicki Graham ‏ @vicki_graham @stevenbward @eteffi also if he was a misogynist he would not be helping women. He has made me realize there is more to a guy than height.

(That one might be my favorite tweet of all time, bless her).

Kathy Pierre ‏ @KueenKat RT Im actually a fan of @stevenbward– can’t help but laugh at this ‘Tweetwar’. He would not engage @eteffi if he didnt find her pretty.

(To which Steve replied: Steve Ward ‏ @stevenbward @KueenKat Incorrect. No offense 2 @eteffi, but I’m not attracted 2 her. I respond 2 criticism here bc well, I don’t usually get much of it.)

Ashley Sunshine ‏ @ABryghterDay @stevenbward @eteffi lol You could tell shes watchn on the LOW…hmm… must be single ay? #BITTER

Arian Smith ‏ @ArianBlair @stevenbward @eteffi is ignorant &probably single herself and could use some tough love; all these haters kill me-ur an expect @ what u do😉

I also got a lot of people tweeting me support. All of which leads me to the conclusion that I may have a serious future in internet trolling if this whole attorney/writer thing doesn’t work out.   Also, I’m concluding that I’m done watching Tough Love. I can’t support any show that lines the pockets of such an outrageous douche. And I encourage you all to skip it, as well.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Sexism and trolling | Stephanie Early Green pingbacked on 8 years ago


  1. * Miss Perfection says:

    You. Are. Great! It’s too bad Stevie tried to engage in a war of wit unarmed.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago

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