Real Housewives not innocent Junk TV.
I am a Feminist, a lesbian, a liberal with many friends that fit at least two of those same labels. You may be surprised that many of us are also the watchers of some very unPC TV like Real Housewives of wherever, the Bachelor/ette franchise and random junk TV that would not stand up to the scrutiny of our feminist principles. We could justify our Real Housewives habit in several ways.
- Real Housewives are grown women making their own choices to be on these shows.
- The Real Housewives was created by gay icon Andy Cohen. A gay man who loves the cattiness and drama of these women and allows us to feel we are in on the joke.
- These are the popular girls from High School who we surpassed. They are still concerned about getting invited to the party and we realized our own interests, communities and families hold much more value. We feel better about ourselves watching their loveless marriages, their need for approval, their bankruptcies and superficial friendships.
Now watching Real Housewives did hold some shame. My wife and my mother claimed that such shows turn your brain to mush and darken your soul. My friends defended my choice in junk TV and I figured we all have our guilty pleasures as I watched hair pulling, name calling, alcohol and pill dependency unfold on Real Housewives shows and ate up the behind the scenes gossip available on People.com and other salacious sources.
Something changed over the last few years though that has caused me to stop my own following of these shows and now to speak out. The children of these women have become young women and you can see the negative impact that these shows have had on their lives. These young women have watched their mothers become famous and valued for their looks, their marriages, their wealth and ability to navigate treacherous friendships. For ex.
- RHONJ daughter Lauren Manzo had weight loss surgery and received praise for her new slim look.
- RHOA daughter Brielle has admitted to lip fillers at 18 because it had been a long time insecurity and may have had more plastic surgery done.
- RHONJ daughter Christine’s mother was slut shamed on her two seasons of RHONJ and Christine now speaks out about how this followed her daughters and damaged their lives.
- RHOC alum Lynne Curtin’s daughters have both had plastic surgery (22 & 24 yrs old) and one recently admitted to doing porn movies to pay for plastic surgery and recently charged with drug possession.
The women of the Real Housewives shows are not getting our attention because of their achievements, their impact on the world and community, their intelligence or their values. They get our attention because of their bad behavior, their looks (and all it entails to stay young looking) and their misfortunes. We as a society have told their daughters that this is how we value women. Yes I am now sorry that I added my voice to that opinion by watching those shows and doing my small part to make them popular.
I still believe that a little guilty ‘junk’ TV is fine but not when it leads to hurting or devaluing women. It’s just not worth it.