The Block Handbook: Why I love Dee and so should you.

Deanne Jolly - The Block

I have been struggling with the ability to be assertive on my build site but I know a lady who has assertiveness in spades.

Deanne Jolly is part of the Double D duo to return to The Block Triple Threat. Like me, Dea is a Scorpio.  But that’s where the similarities end.

I build, she designs so we are otherwise polar opposites in our vocations and passions.  Given how much she is copping in social media at the moment, one would assume I was ok with our figuartive and literal distance.  Truthfully, I would love to have some of what she is having (and I don’t just mean that scrumptious gentleman Darren).

In case you missed it: Dea and Darren failed to achieve any real result at auction the last time they were on The Block Glasshouse in 2014.  In 2015 they have returned for another crack as the ‘Triple Threat’ contestants taking on renovation newbies.  All of the other contestants are first time “Blockheads” while Dea and Darren are matchfit.

Cutting through all the crap that The Block has been rigged to provide them this opportunity and even putting aside more recent, troubling news of Darren’s health concerns, I disagree strongly with people’s opinions about Dea.


Dea stands up for herself, she fights for what she wants or what the best outcome for her team is, confronts people on their half-truths and asserts her opinion, asked for or not.

Even during last night’s episode she called bullshit on the wall papering tradies who were arguing that the controversial sea grass wall paper didn’t ‘bend’ well enough for a seamless installation around a corner of a room.

Dea called it as she saw it, it is easier for the tradie to end the install at the corner intersection, so they were making an excuse up so the client, in this case Dea, wouldn’t insist on them installing it through the corner.

A corner install like that is harder, more fiddly and takes longer for them to do and it requires of them a greater degree of technical skill and diligence.  They just didn’t want to do it because it was hard – but she insisted.

As it was they ran out of wall paper but you get the point.

So why is this sort of assertiveness so pathologically objected to by men and women collectively and why is she assigned the label of *bitch* for doing it?

Many people justify their opinion of Dee by linking it to the ‘way’ she does it, suggesting she is mean or aggressive in her assertiveness.

I call bull shit.

Firstly, she is ten years Darren’s senior.  In my mind this often leads people to wonder how she ‘snared’ or ‘captured’ a star afl footy player with an extra ten years on her side. Criticisms of ‘cougars’ spring to mind.

Secondly, and as a consequence of  her association with Darren, Dee also has the already troubling label of WAG, with its own C grade celebrity status.

By her own admission she has shunned the lime light as a WAG but I do wonder if it isn’t the assumption that she is already some kind of a celebrity, who is coming in to compete with the ‘ordinary’ people that has further tarnished people’s perception of her assertiveness.

It’s as though they are questioning her right or entitlement to the position she finds herself in.

Of course, editing and scripting is certainly a primary contributing factor but none of it hides the fact she doesn’t shrink from asserting her interests and rights.

Could it be just that she’s got maturity on her side and that when I am 42 I will have the life experiences to confidently assert myself in situations otherwise dominated by men.

Or maybe I will just care less if it causes people to question their opinion of me…

I’ll be watching The Block closely this year as a lesson in asserting my rights and promoting my interests – specifically in my build and reno projects  – and I’ll be looking to Dee as my role model.


Your turn:

How do you stay assertive?

Has anyone ever misinterpreted your assertiveness for aggression?

How did you deal with that?



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About Suzanne Commerford

Suzanne has stepped out from behind the desk of Australia's largest home inspection business to build the skills, confidence and independence of women to tackle maintenance and home improvement projects around the home.

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