On Sunday nights, I indulge myself in bad reality programming. Most of my TV watching, when I do get a moment, is all about the election. Up until tonight, I was content to sit here and enjoy the problems of other people.
And then it wasn’t okay anymore.
Because it hit too close to home: the petty bickering, the insignificant slights and finding all the ways we can to hurt one another. I should add “women” in there. All the ways we, as women, try to hurt one another.
It’s sickening. Real Housewives is tame compared to the lowest common denominator broads on VH1. I do not watch that shit, ever. I don’t care for B-Ball Wives and Mafiosos; thrown punches and pulled-out weaves, red bottoms and four-letter words. Even though, obviously, I use them.
Near Philadelphia last week, a bunch of girls beat the hell out of a homeless woman, captured it on video, posted it to Facebook and now they are being charged as adults in the assault. Most of them are 16.
I am not implicating reality TV – causation is harder to prove than correlation – but women empowering their communities, working 500 hours at their law firm or being Secretary of State is D.O.A in any entertainment showcase.
This is not news, we all know this. And judging by the consistency of new women- hating-on-women-shows, no one cares.
Last week, while watching Real Housewives nonetheless, I flipped to Oprah’s network and there she was with Iyanla having a frank discussion about why women hurt other women. Viewers were Skyping in, an audience member broke down in tears and I swear I saw a few vaginas sprout wings and fly across the studio.
While listening for a total of five minutes, I came to a WHO CARES moment. All of this yammering about feelings and defining “gossip” and laying the psycho-babble on thick that women are not victims except, yeah, we kinda are because we – as women – do not immediately deconstruct the intentions of others. It was the complete opposite of Real Housewives, but just as unhelpful.
I am a woman that doesn’t want to get along with every woman I meet. I’m a mother that – at this point – doesn’t want to identify myself as one.
You know why?
Because all of the crazies have kind-of ruined it for me.
I don’t give a shit about breastfeeding or attachment parenting or organic food or if you work or don’t or what constitutes “work.” I do not care if your child was potty trained 30 seconds out of the womb or if you live in a house or an apartment or a ditch. If you’re fat or thin, if you had breast implants or eat your feelings or don’t eat at all. I don’t care what is paid or earned media or if you’re getting 500 emails a day that you don’t want. I don’t care if a magazine asks if I’m “mom enough?”
These things do not define us. Do not wear them as a badge of courage that you did [insert incredibly long list of natural/assisted parenting here or things you have or do not have].
Don’t list being a woman or a mother as a baseball stats guide.
I am just as passionate about not caring as other women are about ”caring:” to set the record straight, to clear their name, to point out the trials and tribulations of others, to “win” the battle and fight the war that never ends. Are you woman enough?
Maybe my portion of the Internet is too Estrogenet and I need to branch out, but the things that get passed around as problems are anything but.
This weekend I sat next to an accomplished lawyer in her 30′s who felt an intense amount of pressure to have children from her peers. She was married, yes, but she really loved her cat. She wanted to have a go at finding out who she was and work – an intense amount of it – was calling. She was just getting to a place where she could be proud.
And there it was.
Are you woman enough?
Normal doesn’t really exist, but are we living a life of extremes? No longer can you fly under the radar about anything. You have to declare yourself at every moment. You have to live your life with comment.
It was painful to watch Real Housewives tonight. It was a representation of everything that’s wrong with being a woman today.
But they sure did look pretty.