In last night’s episode of Catfish, Aaliyah thinks she has found her one true love in Alicia and enlists Max and Nev’s help to turn her online connection into a real life one. But is Alicia who she says she is?
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Did they just assume Alicia was lying about being a lesbian once they began to uncover her relationships with men? Did it even occur to them that perhaps Alicia had constructed these relationships with men in order to project a straight identity? Maybe Alicia was a straight women conning Aaliyah, maybe she was bisexual and truly had feelings for Aaliyah even though she was using her. Or maybe Alicia was a closeted lesbian or bisexual woman trying to figure herself out while living with a homophobic family member. We’ll likely never know because outing Alicia to her sister at the top of the episode really painted her into a corner. Was it any surprise that she immediately tried to distance herself from Aaliyah and any true feelings for her?
Max and Nev seemed surprised that Alicia might prefer to be seen publicly as a heartless con artist rather than a lesbian. But that’s the reality for many closeted people, even if Max and Nev can’t conceive of a world in which homophobia (internalized or otherwise) still exists and determines people’s life choices. Or course, if it was all a lie, then Max and Nev didn’t out anyone, they just exposed a cruel user and stopped her from further exploiting a homeless teen.
Do you believe that Alicia really was lying to Aaliyah about her romantic feelings in order to take advantage of her financially? Did Max and Nev go too far when they told Alicia’s sister about the relationship? Did exposing Alicia’s lies to Aaliyah justify their actions?