If the salacious headlines are any indication, it was a bad, BAD week for matrimony. First, former Real Housewife of New York turned talk show host Bethenny Frankel announced that she is separating from her husband of two years, Jason Hoppy. The break-up of any marriage, even one played out on TV, is sad, but it’s what Bethenny said that was the eye-opener.
“Nothing comes easily for me,” she said at the time. “Being successful in business doesn’t come easy for me. Marriage doesn’t come easily for me. You have to fight for everything.”
When I read that sentence I thought, “Well duh! For whom DOES it come easy?” Good God, marriage is freaking hard work, as I close in on nearly two decades with the same guy. Has it come easy for us? Nope, not even close. Have we had to fight for everything? Would nearly everyone who’s been married for any length of time say just about the same thing? I bet they would.
But that’s not what broke my heart into a billion little pieces. THIS was..
There’s actually a new show coming out on Oxygen that follows the life of rapper Shawty Lo and his 11 babies (soon to be 12) by 10 women. I’ll go ahead and let that sink in for a moment.
There is so much wrong with that I honestly didn’t even know where to start. First of all, I’m shocked (though I probably shouldn’t be) that a man with a modicum of talent has a show. Secondly, I’m mortified that not two, not four but ten women allowed themselves to be impregnated by him; you’d think after watching the other mothers, subsequent ones would learn. And has no one heard of safe sex? But the part that just kills me is the fact that there will be an assumption, in at least some people’s minds that this horrifying, careless, wreckless behavior is somehow normal.
Against the backdrop of this mess and madness, I put out a post on my own site looking for families. Now, a little backstory: I have been named host of the newest, original program on The Live Well Network called Sweet Retreats. We’re currently looking for families who want to travel. So my inbox was flooded with beautiful, telegenic, happy, families, many of them people of color. Not all of them were the traditional, nuclear families either; there were some single heads of household, same sex families and others.
It made me wonder why these families, hardworking, loyal, committed to one another could not have a TV show. Why do we always have to see dysfunction on display?
I’ve been in TV a long, LONG time and I know the answer. Because it’s like watching a train wreck, you simply can’t avert your eyes. I also know that TV is a powerful medium that shapes the way we see the world, which is why this Baby Mama show is particularly heartbreaking to me.
So what’s my take? While marriage isn’t easy (especially one played out in front of TV cameras), highlighting promiscuity for the sake of entertainment is so many shades of wrong.
I won’t be watching. Will you?
Yo! Nice to meet you! You can find out more about me on my blog, Good Enough Mother.
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