I thought VH1 was going to attempt to make a real effort to portray women in a more positive light, but maybe they only meant in just one show or maybe they just meant in a different light – not necessarily positive. Why do I say this?
We watched as the last season of Basketball Wives: LA was a lot less violent, and a lot more censored. Violence was insinuated, as Brooke Bailey and Jackie Christie went head-to-head over who was bigger and badder, and then after a commercial break, resumed arguing with Jackie’s weave in a tangled mess and Brooke untouched. So, we know Ms. Jackie got beat up pretty bad, but at least it wasn’t shown.
That was a small effort on Vh1’s part after Evelyn Lozada’s crusade of violence, in the home and on the small screen, influenced an outcry of anger against reality TV’s continuous demeaning portrayal of women. Especially ethnic women. Even the ladies on Basketball Wives and Love & Hip-Hop have complained about the network only showing negativity, when they also tape plenty of hours with their loving families and pursue complex and fulfilling careers. It became a problem that Vh1, who has the monopoly on reality TV right now, had such an interest in showing women in such an animalistic light, and again I stress, mostly Black and Hispanic women.
It seemed like they heard us. Especially when they saw that the REALITY is violence doesn’t begin or end on REALITY TV… it starts in the home, on the street, in the schools and it ends with bloodshed. So, they scaled back… a lot… because the fact of the matter is, liquoring these women up, purposely putting them in compromising situations, and then glorifying the fighting is not a good thing for any part of society. What business wants to be held responsible for making violence more acceptable?
Vh1 lessened the violence, but has a new trend setting in. Now, both Love & Hip-Hop and it’s ATL’ian spinoff have this underlying ‘pimp’ theme going on. We have Stevie J playing Mimi Faust like a dog with his mistress Joseline Hernandez. Joseline (who knew about Mimi all along?) has been riding Stevie’s coat tail to fame and admits she doesn’t care about the rest of it. It’s been so unreal to watch as they exalt Stevie on TV as the prototype of men in hip-hop.
Though it isn’t THAT crazy in the New York season, the network has also managed to create the same kind of controversy around Joe Budden. There’s his girlfriend that we hardly see. The producers also scouted Tahiry (Joe’s ex), and Raqi, the woman rumored to have had a relationship with Joe. Don’t be naive and think this wasn’t done on purpose.
Why are all of these shows making money off making women look like trash? Vh1 isn’t the only network with these negative interests and that’s simply because people tune in when this is what’s shown. Shows like Bad Girls Club get high ratings, and like it or not, Oxygen and Shawty Lo’s All My Baby Mamas would have had sky high ratings too had it not been yanked from the lineup before it aired.
It all seems like a desperate attempt to “entertain” — and I only spoke on a few shows, and one or two relationships within those shows, out of many. There is so much more to be discussed.
At what point is it the network’s responsibility to take control and make more responsible decisions where storylines are concerned?
Photo Credit: Prince Williams/ATL.net
Women, Violence & VH1: The Obsession With Portraying Women As Sexual & Animalistic was originally published on globalgrind.com