Oct 24, 201209:28 AMIn Her View
Business Insights & Inspiration
Women and “Wives”
What is this obsession with “wives?” First came the Stepford Wives, a bestseller made not once but twice into a popular movie; "Desperate Housewives," which ran for eight successful seasons; and “The Real Housewives of [fill in name of major city here]” franchise courtesy of Bravo TV. Even my own novel, Country Club Wives, addresses this phenomenon.
“I think it’s terrible and demeaning to women,” observes my friend Lisa, a highly intelligent and successful computer software engineer. “Think about it – it sets us back almost 50 years. What the heck was women’s lib for?”
Yeah, but…it’s so much fun to get a glimpse into the lives of the rich and vapid, whose biggest problems seem to be to learn how to cook a chicken without first dousing it with dishwashing liquid ("The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills") or persuading the gals at the country club that you really can afford the ginormous house with the indoor/outdoor pool and tennis court even though you’re single without any visible source of income ("Big Rich Texas," Style TV’s offering in the genre). Discussions of and experimentations with various types of plastic surgery; shopping sprees and séances; trips to exotic places in the Caribbean, Africa, and Middle East can all be experienced by simply flipping on the TV.
Best of all are the fights and drama. Will Teresa from the New Jersey housewives toss another table or her goomba of a husband out the door and how will Phaedra from the Atlanta franchise fare with her funeral parlor undertaking (no pun intended)? Even being kicked off/leaving the show can be parlayed into a new career; just look at Bethenny Frankel’s multi-million dollar “Skinny Girl” franchise and her TV show, although somewhat less so with former archenemies Danielle Staub and Dina Manzo of New Jersey who became a stripper and an HGTV host, respectively. And then there’s arguably the biggest failure/success in Housewives history, when former DC Housewife/Obama gate-crasher Michaele Salahi dumped her bizarre husband Tareq for Journey guitarist Neal Schon. And now they’re engaged. Now that’s entertainment!
OK, so my friend Lisa has a point. These shows hardly depict us women as the highly competent, intelligent, compassionate and productive creatures that we really are. But what about all those reality shows about bad restaurants, fashion disasters, child beauty pageants, over-the-top weddings, even not-so-fine art? There’s something for almost every interest, taste and nationality. No matter what the platform, the same sort of silliness and undercutting goes on there as well. And yes, a lot of it is fast food for the brain and you do wonder what these people are really thinking when they talk into the camera (and whether you would do the same if it would allow you to quit your day job).
But for me, it’s a chance to escape the humdrum of everyday life and reflect on how I would handle it were I that situation (not likely, but still a fun mental exercise). And you never know when an in-depth knowledge of wigs, Kelsey Grammer’s odd personal habits, and designer show/charity event faux pas will come in handy. And if you get tired of one topic there’s always something new, like the November 7 premiere of the Bravo show on folks who give us those crazy Internet LOL cats. Pass the remote, please!
Freelance writer Sandra Gurvis is the author of fifteen books, including COUNTRY CLUB WIVES (Loconeal, 2012), a satire about women, money and homeless animals in “New Albany, oops, Wellington” Ohio, available on Amazon, as an ebook and from bookstores. Her newest project is much more serious and deals with family member’s addiction. For more information and to help, please go to http://www.indiegogo.com/life-during-wartime?a=1022455.