African American and Latina women, most of whom are living in extremely vulnerable circumstances have become pawns in the game of reality television that is being played (preyed) upon the viewing public. The media has long over-portrayed African American women in particular, as angry, tempestuous characters who are nothing more than sexual objects that are incapable of meaningful dialogue and productive activity.
The Basketball Wives franchises, Bravo’s Atlanta Housewives, and more recently Mona Scott-Young’s Love and Hip Hop all fit the current mold for making successful television about black women. The recipe is simple; make them superficial, angry, self-absorbed, overly consumed with sex and money and you have a hit. It is the only image with which it appears the mainstream media seems to be comfortable.
Still, at least some of the women of the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip Hop have some legitimate, productive professional platform from which to try to represent a positive image of themselves other than celebrity-for-nothing. With each passing season, this show has deteriorated into nothing more than a dark, now extremely violent representation of the worse side of everyone involved. For that reason, it needs to go.
If it were a work of fiction, and not supposed to be a true representation of these women's actual lives, it could be ignored as nothing more than frivolous drama. However, that is not the case. These are real people who have real followings. Two million people watched a crazed assistant slap another woman senseless on television last week. Two million. Young girls were watching, teen-age women to-be were watching, impressionable people were watching. If they were not impressionable, the show would have run without commercials, but alas it did not.
There is a subtle distinction in the stories of young white women in the world of “reality”. Their storyline is often one of the young, carefree party girl who one day decides to grow up and become a responsible mother, wife and business woman, i.e. Bethenny Frankel (RHNY) and Kim Bierman (RHOA). Those who don’t have a more well-rounded picture to spin are soon spun right out of the storyline, no matter how much drama they create.
We would hope that those who find themselves in positions to use their resources and influence as corporate media presidents and also African American executive producers would remain ever-mindful of our responsibility to leave a proud legacy for posterity in addition to lining their pockets at the expense of future generations of wives and mothers. Sadly that is not the case.
It is long past time for African American and Latina women to send a message to VH1 and others that says we're tired of being represented as angry, air-headed sex kittens who only know how to fight and behave shamelessly. It is not who we are, not who we want our daughters to be. Cancel Basketball Wives completely. It has run its course.