The Sexist

The Morning After: Fully Employed Housewife Edition

* Alyssa Rosenberg articulates my annoyance with the glamorization of "housewife":

This is a show [Real Housewives] where the term that distinguishes the franchise, "housewife," is pretty much stripped of all meaning. You don't have to be married to be a Real Housewife. You don't even have to be dating anyone particularly seriously. And you're almost certainly not simply a stay-at-home wife or mom if you've been found interesting enough to be on the show. You're running a business, or a charity, or at the very least, stirring up a hell of a lot of trouble semi-professionally. Being an American wife doesn't mean anything in particular these days. That definitional void might be scary, but it's also an opportunity to fill it up with something valuable and interesting and varied.

Interesting. I've always seen the show's title as a shallow attempt to redefine successful women solely by their roles as wives and mothers. But perhaps it works the other way, too—housewives can have it all. Even jobs!

* Via the Washington Blade: D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier has launched an investigation into a satirical flier circulated around the force announcing "D.C.’s First Deaf Mute Gay Marriage."

* Not only will watching porn cause you to get raped, it may also kill you!

* Graph! Canada loves gay marriage. And "Kisses to the 3.5 percent of gay-affirming Jamaicans," Rick Rosendall writes at GLAA Forum.

* NOM tour hits Maryland, attempts to prevent all video evidence of the event:

[youtube:v=qe9QNdcRplw]

Photo via The U.S. National Archives

  • Kim Ha

    I bet the show's going to be as abysmal as Real World DC.

  • Blooming Psycho

    "Real Housewives?" More like Real Attention Whores.
    I'm proud to say I've never seen the show. Nonetheless, I know far more about it than I could ever want to. The fact that I know about it at all is more knowledge of that show than I ever wanted to have.

  • Katie

    Hopefully this doesn't come across as a threadjack, but I hate the term "attention whores." It's always shot at women who are, more or less, trying to make a living off of their image. There are arguments to be had over whether or not that's a legitimate way of life, but I think writing them all off as attention whores is easy and also mean. Furthermore, if I were in the position of, say, a Bethenny Frankel: if I had my own culinary brand, if I had some ideas for diet books, if I were funny and smart (and she absolutely is both), and if I were offered a "part" in a reality show where I get paid to live my life (enhanced for drama, natch) and boost my brand? I'd give it some thought. I just think the harping on about women who are famous for being famous gets too much of a pass. The male equivalents (your Brody Jenners, your Spencer Pratts...ok so they're mostly products of The Hills) don't inspire the same bitter rage, and I think it's important to think about why that is.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    @Katie I agree. It's interesting that you mention Frankel: Alyssa recently wrote a post about how Frankel is one of the more compelling reality subjects on TV today. I haven't actually seen her on the show, so I can't say.

    But you bring up another point that irks me about the conversation around these shows---not only are these women dismissed as "housewives," but the fact that they're living their lives (and acting) in front of the camera is also seen as an illegitimate source of income. Why is it not legitimate? Professionals in plenty of fields can increase their success by cultivating an image and branding themselves---even if that branding, as is the case in most of these shows, is edited to maximize personal embarrassment. This branding also requires work---and when it comes to reality TV, it's work I would probably not want to do, because it does look so personally taxing.

  • kza

    @ Katie

    I'm pretty sure Spencer is the most hated person on T.V.. Reality stars are attention whores. And there's nothing wrong with that. 99% of the general population would do the same sure. Anyone who hates T.V. stars they don't know is an idiot in my humble opinion. Good for all the Spencers and Kim Kardasians of the world.

  • Katie

    @Amanda: right. Bethenny is, I think, a great example of a "reality star" who is actually quite business-savvy. Her brand has done QUITE well as a result of the show (though it did well beforehand as well). I see nothing wrong with her (and others on those shows) taking an opportunity presented them to advance their own lives in a way they see fit. They risk a lot in participating on the show (both in the way of embarrassment, as you mentioned, and in unfriendly media exposure). And you know what? A lot of people (myself included) f-ing LOVE those shows. Mindless entertainment can be ok. And yes, I'll agree that Bethenny is definitely a compelling reality character. For the first two seasons she was single and didn't give a shit, she's an entrepreneur, she's hysterical, and she's unapologetically outspoken. I like those things.

    @kza: Spencer Pratt may be hated, but it's (I think) more due to his absolutely outrageous behavior and assholery than his any "whorish" behavior. I agree that they shouldn't be "hated" in the sense that nobody really knows these people, but that doesn't make it ok to call them "whores," especially when, as you said, they're doing what 99% of us would do in the same position.

  • stormy

    Regarding that last link, I would like to point out that police in many jurisdictions are now claiming that their official conduct is private and arresting people for videotaping them and/or photographing them. A heinous claim to be sure, but it hasn't come before a judge yet that I know of, so it hasn't been thoroughly tested yet.

  • squirrely girl

    @ Katie

    Just letting you know I plan to usurp the word "assholery" for my own amusement and everyday use :)

  • Katie

    @squirrely girl: it's all yours.

...