Apparently, being a “wife” is the new black. Wives are hot! And they are everywhere. If you wanted to, on any given night, you could turn on the TV to watch them. Learn about them. Aspire to be them. These are not garden-variety housewives, because let’s face it, who wants to be like them?! No, we are talking rock wives, basketball wives, football wives, sister wives. Oh my! And if those categories don’t tickle your fancy–don’t worry! We’ve got wives from almost every region of the U.S.–Atlanta, Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Orange County–all representin’.
I’ve watched these wives. Not all of them, but certainly my fair share. I find the shows to be fascinating, in a horrifying kind of way. But only for the first season or two. After that, the cast members, and that’s exactly what they are, cast members, become minor celebrities. They start playing to the camera, offering up bigger than life versions of themselves. By season two, or three, they travel with an entourage, have recorded an album, published a cookbook. They may even have their own clothing line–featuring a tee shirt that reads: TEAM (insert their name). And sadly, by this point, there’s also a good chance they are filing for divorce. This is when I tend to lose interest. The women, who certainly have every right to self-promote, are no longer fascinating to me, even in a horrifying way. They’ve become sitcom characters. Overly Botoxed, desperate-for-fame, sitcom characters.
I should be ashamed of myself for watching these shows. The more I watch, the more likely it becomes that Bravo, VH1, TLC, E!, Style, etc., will churn out this crap. I watch, but I don’t aspire. I gasp, giggle, and gag. I am guessing most women my age view these programs the same way. What about younger women though? And teens? Do they get that there is nothing admirable about the behavior of the celebreality wives? Or if there is, it is buried so far under the sensationalized stuff, that it is lost? No, I shouldn’t watch. By doing so, I am not only helping Hollywood reinforce negative stereotypes about women, I am also giving my tacit approval to a vapid, navel-gazing lifestyle.
I know there is a segment of society that resembles these women. I’ve met many of them in real life. But I’ve met many more, very cool, extremely interesting women–wives–who don’t pass their time spending excessive amounts of money, who don’t gossip like catty school girls. Women who are basically fine with the way they look, don’t carve themselves up just because society says they should. Women who get enjoyment from building their peers up, not from tearing them down. Those women might not be made for television, but they are made for friendship. And that is what I want my teenage daughter to aspire to be a part of, a community of women who are made for friendship. Solid, smart, giving, kind, kick-ass women. Heck, that’s what I want for myself. And over the years, thankfully, I have built those types of relationships. Am friends with those types of women.
So 2010 might just be, at least pop culture wise, the year of the wife. But, as is often the case, the spotlight is focused on that which is easily digestible, rather than that which is good for us. And as is always the case, it is up to us (me!) to decide what I will consume. I can think of several women I know who would not only be interesting to watch, but who would also inspire an audience. Oh well, not going to happen. At least not this year. Maybe in 2011…
Do you watch the Real–Football–Basketball–Rock–Sister wives? If so, why?