I’ve always had a hedonistic yet iffy relationship with the various iterations of the Real Housewives blueprint.
The women they pick are often beautiful, hilarious, rife with undeniable acumen and a ballsy willingness to leverage the world looking in on the flawless production design apparent in scheduled seasonal train wrecks into dollars and cents in ways that outperform the stock market when they really get going.
I have even always had my favorites. Still do.
I used to laugh off the always pretty yet petty chick on chick violence being televised into otherwise isolated female sanctuaries far and wide, positioning its ringleader Cohen as an elegantly elegaic American Sir David Attenborough in both the editing & the aftershow.
He was simply silently showcasing the wilds of women friendship as his team saw it, right? That entire IP is his artistic ode to his take on “Eve,” and every artist has his or her eye that they live and die by. So it was like “do your thing, playboy~”
But so much of the bespoke bad behavior travels down pathways of very real woman on woman wounding that I just had to stop watching as much, just shy of being re-triggered by the unnecessary cruelties and inanities played to the camera.
Variant after variant , the viewings began to feel like inoculations.
This was not a call against the female archetypes at play. It was against energetic dynamics in the featured aspects of the relationships that I felt sticky with afterwards.
Then the storyline numbers done on Crystal, Erika Jayne and Garcelle [RHOBH, my personal last brand standing] just hit differently last time out..
..and I’d had this satori moment.
“I don’t want to draw those kind of female relationships into my life again energy-wise, so why am I watching this stuff?”
& then it hit me.
& I rode’em out, willing myself to understand.
I was trying to heal unspoken-on, wild-women shit.
Sitting down at the flat screen was me lowering the broken inner aspects of myself in to those “waters,” Bethesda fountain style, blindly hoping for a healing as Angels touched said waters until they troubled. I faced the residuals of friendships gone bad as they frothed and churned around me…and got a better grasp of the dance afoot.
Yeah, it was sick, but safer than the real thing.
& the popularity and side-picking inherently entwined into the experience of watching showed I wasn’t alone in such unspoken sentiments, even as studies and polls suggest we, as both a species and gender, are lonelier than ever.
Watching the takedown attempts I was willfully opening myself to this numb commiseration mode with the wounds from “old women wars” that had never been properly dressed or addressed within me. The shows were scratching knots of scar tissue just under the surface, toughened tissue that was begging to be cut open, cleaned out & properly dressed when it came to my own relationships with other women.
#lovinguniverse, right? Even the fucked up aspects are trying to “right” your “rain.”
Yet watching any of these shows with even a modicum of misplaced, lonely religiosity could only lead to the likelihood of attracting even more bad female relationships.
You draw what you’re soaked to the bone in, right?
And societally speaking, women are using the weird soothing of the shows like sitz baths fulla STDs.
SPIRITUALLY TRANSMITTED DIS-EASEs.
Seeing that, I turned off the shows and started sitting with the shit that was being soothed by the “yeah, that’s how they are~never forget” style reactions. “Remember why you isolate.”
I had to wean off, honestly.
& there were slip-throughs. That sucked.
Because no matter how “fun” the shows seemed, they underscored a worldview That I just didn’t want to be wary of energetically mirroring by default when it came to female relationships anymore, or loudly deflecting… which still used the same synaptic groove.
Don’t feed yourself things that are going to grow fruit in you and your life you no longer desire.
Play with that peaceful wolf instead, you know?
Absently feeding on the shows passively broadcast to the cosmos I was craving bad, flakey female friends behavior in my life again- when my actual desire was the total opposite.
It was fucking exhausting worrying about what I want in friendship as an adult after cleaning house (#sommayallknow) , yet I was feeding my vortex all the don’t want to go through that, or that... orrr thaat~
Every season, a plethora of thats one didn’t Want to go through…laser focused in on, no time given to the heavy lifting of curating what you do want… because you’re drained from vicariously going through the ringers of the don’t wants with your favorites.
My “diet” was ensuring every possible new female friend that entered the fray was parsed on a razor blade of wariness of what happens when you don’t “woman” the way the women around you are programmed to woman. It all felt relentless to truly try to process to a now what?
In that above pause I took it ALL registered as full-blown indoctrination for the first time, way on the far side of the middle school politics the blueprints came from.
We’re raised in this society as women to hang out in gales and gaggles of femininity regardless, even when you can tell those chicks amongst your little clique don’t really like you, even though you technically aren’t “safe.” Those less inclined to tow their portion of the party line are seen as suspect, because, even miserable, the learned collective behavior Of the party line is Comfortable, chock full of promise of communal payoff.
But then it was creepily silent as the true question rose .
Wait-Middle school?! Why are grown assed women being re-indoctrinated in to the nonsense of the hormonal preteen politicized for johnny’s eyes whimmering of yore?
& Who is this “reality” really for? Whose darkly skewered fever dream of femininity IS this? “
Because even with Battle scars front and center, the interactions Of the showcased (caricatured) “female archetypes ” are not a fever dream of the best of Us according To us . At all.
It’s not just the worst- it relishes in nitpicking on the best of us until it is safe to knock those Good archetypes down to prepubescent, handle-able size… to publicly stomp on the floor.
But then…if not for us~then for who is this display of the despicable?
I chewed on this a while, the way only a writer geeked about squeezing light out of twisting, under the rug hiding darkness with her bare hands could.
Postulating the story I was sensing just under the surface of all this pondering could lead to a positive being found in all of this.
…and then Shanquella Robinson was murdered.
She was killed on a trip that mirrored the Real Housewives “let’s get away together even though you should’ve picked up by now half of us despise you” festivities.
People rightly bemoaned what happened to her, screaming for (still unserved) justice.
Many cried out, bewildered: “BUt How could she have put herself in harm’s way like that?! Why would she have traveled out of the country with those obviously fake friends?!”
…But nobody dared speak the answer. On Air.
Even as the reality TV-esque clips of her wandering through the villa and finding her friends commisserating(about her) emerged.
Shanquella Robinson went on vacation with these fake friends…
because the dangerously close-range, away on decadent holiday with demons and assholes”
Trope/ fictionalized format…
has been negligently normalized via seasonal girls trips full of fights for a decade on TV, common even amongst the upper echelons..
It was bound to trickle down to the masses aspiring to be where they are, encouraged by trash behavior already being prevalent where they aimed & aspired to go, according to the thing swaddling them, telling them visions.
Perhaps that broadcast lowkey dehumanizing was the point.
A re-inoculation of savagery beamed into the homes of a citizenry that has gotten more passive, yet oddly civilized thanks to technology,a programming hoping to garner enough attention to quietly reinfect them with things that’d only bloom when the going got tough.
If they need us reactive, their interests lie in priming us to be so, possibly by seeing “the best of us” succumbing to table tossing and chair throwing pseudo narratives cropping up in our lives that ring familiar solely due to popular culture.
I was done.
8 months ago. Heartbroken that she’d been lulled into “it is fine” when it wasn’t. The “know better” of common sense has been unlearned when it comes to friends.
The same know better survivors of soured friendships forgot & got betrayed down in the past. The stakes of not knowing who your real Friends were has always been high.
Now, the caught on camera betrayals are just televised, & the villainy makes for breaking news interruptions and must see TV.
& just like that~ the whole thing cracked open for me.
And then, in spirited rebranding that went down in the aftermath of whatever the fuck went down in nyc [and after attempted carnage out west]… they announced they’d roped Jenna Lyons in.
I hadn’t watched that nyc IP in years but became curious over Jenna Lyons of JCrew tenure fame being positioned out the gate as the new IP MVP.
…It’s even deeper than it seems on the surface.
With all its societal complexities, the elder statesmen genXers needed an Anna Wintour/Grace CODDINGTON/ Andre Leon Talley trinity to shape the clothing geist of the food/shelter/clothing conundrum at the end of the century .
But …Us baby GenXers, Xennials & Millennials casually had two very different entities making butterfly effect clothing carnage moves off in the cut( if you look at the impact globally).
We had Pharrell – who is getting his actually well-warranted menswear (tho confounding to some) flowers now as creative director of Louis Vuitton…and Jenna Lyons overall at JCrew.
Pharrell having fun merchandising the fuck out of whatever fashion brand he cut his teeth on created a provable track record for just the kind of merchandising expansion LVMH is Obviously looking for going forward. It is sheer genius based solely on what dude likes…that hits a broad spectrum of hearts, damn near build a bear style, sidestepping the brunt of nonsense that’d otherwise more likely be in play with any other pick.
But that play may as well been lovingly pilfered from the JENNA LYONS throwing down design wise playbook as that new century figured out its shit.
What I’m talking about is a different kind of designhead on display, as stunningly beautiful as the more ivory tower oriented mad hatters we pray don’t get crushed by the machinery, just cut from a sturdier, all-American stock.
In fact-and I say this with all love, her even doing this show better be as a platform to get the juggernaut luxury brands Who forget about badassed designer chicks allatime in their hunts to fn recognize the designhead BEAST she is, exactly where their bottom lines are faltering.
(Not even sure if she’d be into it, but Fashist fantasy football pick-wise? Jenna Lyons being roped in to do her magic on her terms at Gucci would be the Tom Ford at Gucci 95 -level rumpshaking that the next two fashist decades desperately desires. Bitch is fierce. Full Stop.)
I had to tune back in on principle then.
God is weird with his positioning and plays.
Ya Never know what he’ll use to get the apples of his eye wherever they have on their hearts to go.
She’s low-key to American fashion of the last decade what Missy Elliot has been to music off in the cut, ironically alongside Timbaland…& the multiplicity of Pharrell. Cultural seismic activity-wise, these four kicked doors in, doing their own things. They made standalone vortices of their own design, wielding their own epicenters. Like “The 4th dimensional cultural advancement cube of Geist Geterdoners is complete” level RUFNKIDDINGme-ness.
So yeah… Her inclusion on this roster was was truly unexpected.
It meant they knew a broader spectrum of chicks than just the softlife girls, cut & paste boozy boss babes (slapping their names on bottles of wine between catfights over questionably named charities), the original ladies a’ lunching and those who dream of such maddeningly peaceful (in comparison to their own ) lives divas were tuning in to these rock operas of laidback capitalist excess. and they finally were having the cajones to lean in to it.
[ Gaawd, I do miss zoning out to the Liberace-level madness of it happily cackling into background beige sometimes 😁]
…But in what sense, right?
How is this gonna go~?
I mean, in the best possible realms?
…is there a chance that culty #youcantsitwithus-isms are truly going to die?
That, post cultural shifting Gerwig’s Barbie movie (which said all I’m not saying with tha Gorgeous lowkey take on weird Barbie being the motherfucker that saves all of womankind), the “societal rejection of the mean girls trope (that is all about terrified males causing chaos at its Dna core, divide & conquer style)” Revolution WILL be televised?
Will everyone working through the “what now, bitches?” Malaise together in its aftermath be showcased too?
Or, in the worst case scenarios are we going to have to suffer through more people going fn crazy in the town square because they belligerently bought hook, line, and sinker that all that Real Housewives is…is a masterclass…on what womanhood “is”?
And since they have those facetiously offered, satirical perp walks down pat, and think womanhood is a competition they can “dominate ” like a sport because it’s been framed as such across multiple iterations for 14 seasons…is any damage they do to themselves & others under hypnosis their fault ?
If you’re faltering in answering that, if it feels safe to hem & haw over your hearts true answer to that…let me help you.
Yes. Gird yer loins for more batshit craziness.
& YES. Those motherfuckers are Still responsible for any fucking damage they do under hypnosis they willingly subjected themselves to.
Just like everyone else is supposed to be.
If you wanna talk, it starts there. Fuck the STRAWMAN shit.
But yeah, the entire discussion can…get gnarly real fast.
#DarkFantasy/#socialcommentary ringer-wise, I had to return to the church of “See, that’s why so many of us avoid packs of women~” encapsulated that these properties have become within their personal zeitgeist, even as they are championed in the cultural one.
I watched episodes 1 through 5 of the latest installment of RHONY. Monday.
&When Lyons left the party, I cheered. Laughed, relieved.
When she rightly defined a party making memories with her kids as more important without any crepey need to ask if that was okay, I was so relieved that the business as usual backbiting about her leaving the previous thing at the thing she missed didn’t matter.
…But in the processing of it all, the question of curation and how who is helming it colors it came up again.
Which brought me back to season two of & just like that.
…& the propagandists. Again.
Whose feverish female drama dreams ARE these?
Who profits from them the most?
Who is the maligned, and who benefits the best from that presentation and conscious misinterpretation of the whole female experience?
What’s the real payoff And payout?
The answers may surprise you.
part2 coming soon.