The Death Of Sisterhood: The Reality Show Curse
I don’t watch television anymore. That’s kind of a big deal as I could say that during my childhood I would easily spend several hours a day locked in front of our bulky, television screen. You know, the ones that used to make that weird whirring sound whenever you switched it on or off and then leave that small, glowing circle in the centre of the screen which took at least a good 30 seconds to fade out to a blank screen. I haven’t completely disconnected from the world. I rely on my laptop to keep me locked in via my emails and my social networking sites. For the most part, I’ll look out for new BBC documentaries or watch keep up with my British soaps via the online players, but that’s really about it. BUT – Thanks to my Facebook newsfeed, I have on occasion, fallen victim to the hype. Admittedly, I got hooked on the second series of Love & Hip Hop (New York), and vowed never to watch it again. Seeing women rolling around on the floor, panty-less tryna rip each other’s weave out unsettles me. Even one of the main characters – Chrissy Lampkin quit because she felt she had been manipulated and exploited. That speaks volumes. I’m a gal with a conscience. My conscience told me that I should not watch such trash again and I gave it my word, however… After the first episode of Love & Hip Hop ATL launched, Facebook was abuzz with statues making reference to producer Stevie J and his ‘tranny girlfriend.’ I fought it long and hard, I did… but by Day Two (ok… so maybe not that hard then), I searched for the series online and then began to watch it every week.
Once the series had ended, I was relieved. I knew I’d let myself down and vowed again, to use this time to detox and start over. I was doing well, until I stumbled across an interview on Power105 The Breakfast Club – which featured Draya and Malaysia off a show named Basketball Wives LA. As DJ Envy and Angela Yee grilled the girls about the show and their once private but now very public lives, curiosity got the better of me, so again… I searched online and watched a few episodes (about 3 of them), before then skipping straight to the reunion. I watched in amazement as I saw these beautiful women of colour, point at each other and repeatedly call one another “Bitch” and “Hoe” and just about every other derogatory word you can think of and at the same time, tell the same women they were cursing out, that they loved them like a “Sister.” I know these shows are staged to an extent, but the fake reality show had actually created genuine rifts between these women in real life too. Life imitating art. Then I had a thought…
Does Reality Television signify the end of Sisterhood?
I know people complain about these shows all the time, I’ll try and keep this brief… but really, what values do these shows instil in women? In LHHATL, the favourite characters were a man, who was cheating on his long time partner and mother of his child with a woman who was obviously vulnerable after her rather traumatic childhood filled with neglect. Or perhaps, the ‘past it’ rapper who was cheating on his long time partner and mother of his child with his ‘best friend.’ Or what about the R&B singer who spent the majority of the show flipping out on people and battling with a close ‘friend’ about whether or not her ex really did drag her across the floor and smother her. The women turn on each other whilst the men sit back and smirk rubbing their hands together like a super villain or something. These are SERIOUS issues that we gloss over for the sake of entertainment. Why are we so blinded? At first I used to say “They know what they’re doing. They’re getting a check and it’s all scripted.” But surely to place yourself in a position where you are internationally recognised as being lying, cheating, promiscuous, career/money hungry individuals surely demonstrates a huge vulnerability there.
Where are the shows that promote Sisterhood in its true essence. Images of women working together and getting along and being productive? Where are the images of love, family, TRUE friendship? Why are we allowing the mainstream media to feed us the belief that women cannot get along and wherever we congregate, drama must follow? It’s not just these two reality TV shows that further cement this myth. Bad Girls Club. Girl Fights. Flava Of Love. I Love Miss New York. The Real Housewives (all series) The list goes on…
Sisterhood is deeper than blood. It’s Love. It’s Respect. It’s Trust. Let’s not drink the kool-aid and not let this reality television explosion corrupt the minds of the next generation of young women we are trying to raise, shape and mould. And with running the risk of sounding a little to hippy-like -Let’s get back to loving each other. We are ALL Sisters.