I chose to blog about this show , because recently in my Women, Girls and the Media Course we read a chapter in the book entitled, The Rise of Enlightened Sexism by Susan Douglas called, Reality Bites. This chapter gives us the opinion of the author regarding reality TV. She makes some valid points in regards to the representation of African-American and women of color on reality TV. Most of the times African-American women are casted to portray the bitch ” on the show. Or their dismissed earlier in competitive reality shows eg: Survivor, because their strength and confidence is seen as a threat to other cast members. Is this an accurate portrayal of the Black woman? Reality TV producers wants you to think it is. The images of black women on tv wants the viewing audience to believe that all black women have attitudes, are loud, bitchy, have chips on their shoulders, and aren’t marriage material.
However, when I watch the RHOA , this group of women all fit the negatives images that are portrayed on Reality TV. Did the show start off with so much drama and distaste? or do these women who are on this show feel that they have to play the part of the bitch, home wrecker, and constantly be loud to be heard to get the ratings for the network? In fact, Atlanta is not only the highest rated show of the The Real Housewives franchise, it was the highest rated reality series on the Bravo network.
Some of the ladies on this show that really stand out on this show this season thus far has been , NeNe Leaks , who is the loudest one in the group- she is forever telling people: “I don’t keep up with the Joneses, I am the Joneses” or “I have arrived, and the spotlight is on me honey.” NeNe was a stripper in her prior life and has no qualms in letting people know of past employment as seen in the last episode this past week. However, her confidence, loud, boisterous self has landed her other roles in show like; Celebrity Apprentice and the New Normal.
Kandi Burruss, is the self-proclaimed actress/musician in the group. Her motto:”I may be small, but my empire keeps on growing.” She is well-known in the music industry, ,clothing store owner, and has a production company. She is portrayed as the “instigator” of the group. She says one thing to some of the ladies, hear what they have to say , then goes and tell the opposing ladies. She’s the single mother in the group and you always see her daughter hanging around her listening to adult conversation (which bothers me, because I was always taught to stay out of grown folks business).
The newest cast member this season is Kenya Moore. She won the Miss USA competition in 1993 and has appeared on various movies. She is the surprise to me this season. I guess because she won Miss USA you would belive that she would be tasteful, respectful, and cordial. But she is totally opposite., “I won Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality,”is what she makes known about her personality and she’s right. She’s the flirty one on the show and has no problem being flirtatious with other men in front of her current boyfriend, Even flirting with another cast member husband, who she says is “fine”.
Bottom line; the way women of color are represented in our culture is so very flawed that we really must consider the ways social class plays into these harmful stereotypes in order to thoroughly unpack the racism at the core(Sisson, 2012). Without counterpoints, misrepresentations like these feed the narrative that black people “don’t deserve” or “can’t handle” money(Sisson, 2012).
Sisson, G(2012). The 99%: Why the Real Housewives of Atlanta Aren’t “Our Kind of People”. Retrieved from:http://bitchmagazine.org/post/the-99-real-housewives-of-atlanta-aren%E2%80%99t-our-kind-of-people-feminism-class-television