Dear women of the world,
What is going on?!
Whether we care to admit it or not, TV permeates our lives, our habits, and our language. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air brought us a lot of cheesy Carlton dancing that we faithfully recreated, and baseball caps worn sideways and of course the intro song we’ll never forget. The Cosby Show brought us 8 years of love and laughter and Rudy’s sassy Uh-uh’s, and showed us black families are normal. What about Martin? We’ll never forget the sarcasm, the bond between friends, Martin’s love- hate relationship with Pam and Shanaynay’s overuse of Oh no, you di-int!!
TV distorts the way we perceive ourselves. Remember in the 80s when we all had shoulder pads? I know, I want to forget it too. How about those neon colors? You could be spotted from a mile away! And in the 90s we were star struck by the Wayans brothers? Doc Martens and flannel, parachute pants and LA Lights, or oversized sweaters and eyeliner anyone? The good, the bad and the ugly, we do get influenced by TV.
Aggressive reality shows inhabit the “ugly” category. What have they added to our lives? A whole lot of women-on-women cruelty, overly sexual girls, distortion of body image and poor role models.
Take Bad Girls Club, for example. It can be summarized like this, a bunch of girls living together and being paid to fight each other. There’s little reality behind Reality TV, just to clarify. The meaner the girls are to each other, the more likely it’ll be that they will be hired for another season, so if you’ve ever watched the show you already know there will be a bunch of hair pulling and throwing of punches for no reason at all. Does this empower you much?
The show is so – fortunately – bleeped, that half of the heartfelt yelled exchanges can’t be heard. But they’re easily guessed. The myriad of “biatch” that girls throw around is the least of our worries, because, surprise, that’s how girls are calling each other when they’re not even being rude.
Another show that has caught our attention – for all the wrong reasons – is Basketball Wives. Though Nicki Minaj is a fan of the show she isn’t a fan of bullying. Apparently, Miss Minaj feels that yelling and slapping isn’t the way to face any problem.
The summary of the show is, a group of women who are married, engaged, have been married or engaged, or are having affairs with basketball players, for some obscure reason, followed in their everyday pre-scripted lives. Backstabbing ensues.
Oh, they’re consenting adults all right, so they should know about consequences. But how about their audiences?The women in both shows get their hair and make-up done by professionals, step into the limelight and make it glamorous to bully, to criticize, to be backstabbing and confrontational. With their skimpy little dresses they go around having intercourse with random partners and making promiscuity look cool. What about STDs and unwanted pregnancy? When do we get to see the consequences of reckless behavior?
The icing on the cake is that most girls from this Bad Girls Club are black women. The demeaning stereotype of bullying, loud and coarse black women. A stereotype that we can’t so easily debunk, but TV is insisting on fostering.
According to recent research, black women are ranked by the National census statistics as the most educated group by race and gender. So why are we still allowing Bad Girls Club into our homes, and into our minds?
You know what real feminism looks like? Not like this. African American women didn’t come this far to fall back. It seems today women are finding more value in their bodies, by how little she weights, how much she shops, how many people she sleeps with, how loud she yells and how good she looks. These shows are the most un-feminist approach to femininity.
Women are meant to be appreciated as wholesome, wonderful and beautiful beings. Women today can use their platforms to inspire change in the world and be a positive influence on the younger generations. But why don’t we see more of this positive change?
Kim Kardashian becoming famous just because she’s been strutting her stuff isn’t quite the role model after all, is she?
Some people argue that her life is inspirational, because she leaped to stardom out of the blue. Kim, misrepresented as a “model” and an “actress” became known after a sex tape got leaked to Vivid entertainment, who distributed the film as “Kim K Superstar”. Looks like an easy way to achieve notoriety, doesn’t it? Maybe. But since Kimmy cannot act, cannot sing and has no evident talents, the only way to stay in the limelight is by showing her assets everywhere. I wouldn’t be able to look my mother in the eye if that was me.
So you know who Kim Kardashian is. Do you know Ursula Burns? Rosalind Brewer? They’re two of the most powerful African American women. You’ll see them from time to time in the news, making it big as CEO’s of Xerox and SAM’s club. True, they probably won’t be in a show every Tuesday night, and for sure they won’t be giving any butt-whooping, but that’s because they’ll be doing something worthy of their time, like leading an international company.
Or how about Oprah Winfrey? She’s one of the most influential women in the United States, and you won’t catch Oprah being anything less than appropriate, because she has devoted her life to become an inspiration to all generations. You see, there are role models out there, but maybe it’s time to change the channel and let’s get to know them.
Just like The Cosby Show was a great portrayal of African American families, promoted values and had a huge dose of healthy humor, we have some modern shows to choose from that don’t base their ratings in cursing and name-calling. Tune in to OWN, Oprah’s TV network, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.
If you like to watch glamour, then the reality show Mom’s Got Game is for you. There’s no need to be throwing around curse words and pulling people’s hair, because that doesn’t even happen in real life!
Want a bit more drama? Then have your tissue ready for Iyanla: Fix My Life. And maybe there will some butt-whooping there, but it’s metaphorical and it’s the kind of whooping you’d get if you needed a reality check.
We’re not asking you to embark in a crusade against reality shows and entertainment. But we do want you to stop validating shows that are fed by your ratings and in return give you nothing of worth. Nothing at all.