Contradictions and Women
By Diana May-Waldman,WWH/CJE- I saw a brief segment on the Dr. Phil television show a couple of weeks ago. It was about families fighting amongst one another, more about a meddling mother-in-law bullying her daughter-in-law.
Dr. Phil said, “I don’t care who it is, family or not, if someone was disrespecting my wife, all bets would be off. They’d be cut off.”
I thought about that for a minute. But, what if your wife threw a shoe at your mother and hit her in the head? And then your mother said, “Bitch, just threw a shoe at me and hit me in the head?”
Not everything is black and white. And you can’t just throw down a blanket statement and not look at the shades of gray.
I’ve been seeing a lot of contradictions lately and it’s been rubbing me the wrong way. I see a lot of it on television. Not that I really watch that much television, because I don’t, but for the most part, thanks to Facebook, I figure out what is what.
The G.O.P. has been beating women half to death with their threats and sisters keep rising up. But, they keep coming in our back door and we don’t even realize it.
If we look at television programs for instance–let’s take what networks have labeled “strong female characters.”
We have those kick ass female characters who know all the Ninja moves and they have guns or other weapons–and there is nothing like watching the bad guy get his ass kicked, but he is usually getting it kicked because he is trying to violate the female character more often than not. So, the violation of a female character is still there.
We also label strong female characters as women like Murphy Brown or Mary Tyler Moore. Women who had careers. Women who worked. We applauded these shows. Yes, we did, never asking why or what led Murphy Brown to alcoholism in the first place or why she always had that bitter edge about her. For sure it probably had something to do with a man. Doesn’t it always or do they just want us to think that? That men are capable of breaking our spirit and that we will always be recovering.
Then I took a look at other television shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens. Both of the women in these particular shows depict their female characters as strong, independent women. One works for a law firm and the other is a stay at home mom. In King of Queens, the female character is trying to climb the ladder in her law office and can never quite seem to get there. Her character is depicted as loud, bossy and sassy. Evidently this is what they think defines a strong female character. In other words, you’ve got to be a bitch.
In Everybody Loves Raymond the balance the female character with a husband who appears to be a bumbling fool. Even though he is a sports writer, nine times out of ten, he has no idea how to change a diaper and it always ends with his wife calling him an “idiot.”
Now let’s look at reality television. This stuff drives me nuts. One show in particular that drives me right over the edge is anything that has to do with Kardashian’s. I just can’t understand the fascination people have with this show. It’s not reality. This family does NOT represent the average, American family and yeah, they treat Bruce Jenner as if he is the family idiot, as well.
The flip-side to that would be the talked about show, Honey Boo-Boo. This show has some high ratings. It is a show about a little girl who competes in beauty pageants and also encompasses her family life. She has three older sisters, one who is a teen mom, an over weight mother and a tobacco chewing father. People seem riveted to this show.
I’ve watched it myself and came away understanding that this is probably one of the reality shows that hits closer to home for a lot of people, because it addresses poverty. The mother clips coupons and goes to auctions for food. Much of the family is overweight–but then again, they don’t manufacturer coupons for fruits and vegetables. In one particular episode the mother makes spaghetti out of ketchup and butter in order to feed her family of six.
I suppose this show is popular for a lot of reasons, but still has the undertone of teaching Honey Boo-Boo to be a princess and to compete in beauty pageants.
So, all in all after a hard day at work, it seems the norm to sit down in front of the television and escape. And in doing that, we miss all the stupid and subliminal messages that they keep shoving down our throats and attempting to make us believe that we are making progress. That the shit on television is real.