Last December, I sat in my friend’s living room, glued to her television as we watched one of the last episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I was completely hooked on The Real Housewives series. I loved the characters and their loud, crazy, dramatic interactions with each other. I loved taking sides by celebrating some of the “housewives,” and vilifying others.
I would share the latest gossip with my friends on Twitter and Facebook: “Did you see how “crazy” Ramona was when she confronted Kelly on The Real Housewives of New York? Why is Camille Grammer (star of the Beverly Hills series) so evil and desperate?”
I saw The Real Housewives series, and other shows like it, as fun, accessible entertainment—escapism.
I was wrong.
Even though that Real Housewives viewing party happened just seven months ago, my days of celebrating and promoting the show are long gone. I can no longer stand to watch a program that—while brilliantly produced and written with respect to entertainment value—perpetuates a horrible stereotype about women: that they are hysterical, unhinged, and conniving.
I have realized that I can’t see reality shows like The Real Housewives as mindless, fun escapism anymore. These kinds of shows put women right into the gutter of a society where bias and discrimination against women are still strongly prevalent.