Entertainment And News

How Tom Sandoval Weaponized The Body Insecurity Of Women Everywhere To Shame Ariana Madix On National Television

Photo: arianamadix, raquelleviss / Instagram, Joe Seer / Shutterstock
tom sandoval with red tape over mouth, ariana madix and raquel leviss behind him

Imagine you're the villain in a nationally televised cheating scandal in which your wrongdoing is devoid of any moral gray area. You're a pariah, a laughingstock, and even your mustache and nail polish have become national news

Now imagine you have to go on television and discuss your wrongdoing. Would you be contrite, or would you sit there and make vile, misogynistic, intentionally cruel remarks mocking the person you hurt?

Most of us would choose the former — or at least be quiet entirely — but if you're "Vanderpump Rules" star Tom Sandoval, you choose the latter.

Tom Sandoval mocked his ex Ariana Madix for being insecure about her body, making a disgusting comment during the 'Vanderpump Rules' reunion.



RELATED: Tom Sandoval Allegedly Has A New Girlfriend & Fans Have Found Out Who She Is

Sandoval's comments on the third part of the "Vanderpump Rules" reunion to his now ex-girlfriend Ariana Madix reveal his lack of even the most basic common decency, but they also reveal something deeper: the depths of his narcissism.

Nearly everyone who's ever dated has had the misfortune of crossing paths with a someone like Sandoval at one time or another — someone totally devoid of empathy and so thoroughly convinced of his own perfection that he can't even compute the cruelty of his actions, let alone that others won't high-five him for committing them.

Sandoval made fun of Madix for wearing a t-shirt during sex while he was cheating on her with her best friend Raquel Leviss.

There were tons of bombshells in the "Vanderpump Rules" reunion's final installment, but none of them had quite the impact of Sandoval's one-sentence comment about a t-shirt. The comment came during a discussion of whether Sandoval had been intimate with anyone else during his affair with co-star Raquel Leviss, the best friend of his now ex-girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Madix. 

When Madix pointed out that Sandoval was, in fact, sleeping with someone else in addition to Leviss — Madix herself — Sandoval viciously mocked her.

"Yeah, she kept her t-shirt on, it was really hot," Sandoval said, blowing the minds of everyone onstage beside him, even the cast mates who were once his allies.

Sandoval's t-shirt insult to Ariana is more than just unkind. It's vicious in a way that just about every woman—and a lot of men— has experienced at one time or another.

Having sex with someone is inherently vulnerable — that's part of what makes it exciting in the first place. But sex also feeds into insecurities that are nearly universal—almost all of us, at one time or another, have felt insecure about our bodies.

RELATED: Man Shares The Email He Sent His Boss To Get Off Work For The 'Vanderpump Rules' Finale

Few of us have bodies that are acceptable by the "standards" of our culture. For the vast majority of us, the kind of physical perfection idealized in everything from media to people's dating profiles is unattainable, even for TV stars like Ariana Madix whose appearance adheres to generally accepted beauty standards.

Because that's the thing about beauty standards, isn't it? No matter how good you look, there's always someone who looks better, who's considered more perfect and more acceptable. Nobody evades this situation, but given the ways women's bodies and sexualities are commodified in our society, culture, and media, this nightmare is on a whole other level for women.

So it's not at all surprising that even someone like Madix would feel vulnerable enough in her own skin from time to time that she'd want to have sex with a shirt on. Nor is it surprising that women all over the internet have expressed similar experiences, and have been outraged and revolted by Sandoval's comments on her behalf.



RELATED: All The 'Proof' The Scandoval Affair May Have Been Staged To Boost 'Vanderpump Rules' Ratings

Tom Sandoval's t-shirt insult made the backlash against him worse, and reveals who he really is.

There are few of us who have never, at one time or another, found ourselves in an intimate situation feeling nervous about how we look. To mock someone for this near-universal experience is cruel on its face, and you don't need to be a woman to understand that — you just need to be a human being with a functioning brain and heart.

But to do so in the context of having cheated on your partner with her best friend is vicious on a whole other level.

Is it really surprising that Madix wouldn't feel comfortable bearing all to Sandoval given the total disregard he has shown for her dignity and feelings? If anything, her reluctance to be naked in front of a man she's been with for nine years reveals how little she trusted him — an instinct we now know was absolutely correct.

And yet, Sandoval's takeaway from this is that she should feel shame for having sex with her shirt on. His response is to go on national television and imply that she's so boring, she drove him to cheat on her with her best friend after nine years?

Forgive me, but there is simply no way to get to the point without dispensing with professionalism entirely: What an a-hole.

Sandoval seemed to be caught by surprise that the entire rest of the cast was nauseated and infuriated by his comments instead of cheering him. And it shows the depths of his narcissism and how little he grasps the concepts of compassion.

Maybe that's part of why, even after all the drama she was willing to endure to be with him, Raquel Leviss, who has been receiving mental health treatment at an inpatient facility, has allegedly broken up with Sandoval in recent weeks. It may have just been the smartest decision Leviss has made since the "Scandoval" affair started. 



As for Ariana Madix, she is capitalizing on the repulsive comment with new merch: A $34.99 t-shirt of her own sold in her and co-star Katie Maloney's Something About Her Shop featuring an illustrated version of herself ripping apart a grilled cheese sandwich. The words on the shirt say "F--- Me in This Shirt." 

RELATED: The Timeline Of Raquel Leviss & Tom Sandoval's Affair — Everything Fans Of 'Vanderpump Rules' Didn't See

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.