I am addicted to Bravo's Real Housewives franchise. Yes, I watch all of The Real Housewives (Atlanta, New York, Orange County, New Jersey) -- and when I say watch, I mean DVR them, which is big for me.
I call it the "Surreal Housewives" franchise because their definition of what passes for high society and wealth is ridiculous. Socialites, for example, don't need major companies to sponsor their non-exclusive parties. Not to mention, their shameful and ridiculous behavior, which would never go off well in "polite" society or among us regular folks. With the exception of Vicki and maybe Gretchen, the ladies on the O.C. edition appear to be gold diggers.
I was recently watching an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and one of the cast members -- Lynne -- received an eviction notice. This was after she just attended a lovely dinner party and after undergoing a mother/daughter plastic surgery session. The woman who spends hours in the gym and actively works on "staying young" got booted from her California condo.
What tripped me out about the entire thing was that Lynne acted as if her husband was some monster because he did not tell her about their dire financial situation. I'm thinking to myself, "Shouldn't you know?" If you're a grown person, then you should know the cost of living of where you reside, especially when it is one of the most expensive areas in the world, let alone the country.
Lynne's husband clearly was afraid to tell his wife and his two monsters, I mean daughters (who are mean and abusive), because of said fallout. Viewers are not privy to everything that goes on in the lives of these folks, but based on the money that Lynne and her spoiled, potty-mouthed daughters blow on a constant basis, I could definitely see how this family stays in financial trouble.
Apparently, they received an eviction notice because he couldn't come up with a $10,000 deposit. I immediately thought to myself, double plastic surgeries, a trip to Florida and the recent soiree easily surpassed $10,000. To add insult to injury, that same week, Lynne heads out on a trip to San Francisco with her fellow housewives and drops $1,800 on a leather jacket in the first store that they visit.
Therein lies the problem with them and society. Women need to take responsibility for their finances and help contribute to their household finances even when their husbands are supposed to be providers.
I know a lot of people believe that men should provide and protect as stated in the Bible. But where does it say in the Bible that women can't help their families or themselves? Where does it say that grown men have to be financially responsible for grown women who constantly make poor financial decisions?
I often joke that malls were created to keep women in debt. All you see are women and teenagers walking around spending money on "sale" items that most of them won't even wear. Is it worth being late on your rent or mortgage because you had to have a fabulous pair of shoes that you may or may not wear? I don't think so, which is why I stay out of malls if at all possible. Too many trappings -- with a direct line to poverty -- for me.
Not to mention the fact that we're in a recession, which impacts everyone. Common sense would tell you that there are only two real options -- cut back or get a job. Like many of us in society, the ladies of this show clearly need jobs outside of the home if they expect to continue to live the way that they do.
Lynne actually had a line of jewelry, specifically cuffs, that were being sold in a couple of O.C. boutiques. She was also working on national distribution through a major department store. Her high-end cuffs started at $275, so why they are short on money is a mystery to me. Actually, no it isn't, as I haven't seen her work at all this entire season -- just drink alcohol, take pain meds and clearly something else.
What's even most disconcerting is how these women toss their husbands away when they hit hard financial times. Why do we measure men by their wallets? Why do they allow women to do so?
Men are not banks and should not be treated as such.
Families should work as teams. Consequently, as a wife, if there is something that you can do, then you should.
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Communication and Media Studies at Goucher College and writes the blog Tune N (http://nsengaburton.wordpress.com), which examines popular culture through the lens of race, class, gender and sexuality.