Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Not-So-Real Housewives

Over Thai food, I confessed my guilty secret – I can’t help it, I watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the Real Housewives of New York. I expected a horrified response from my sweet smart niece, Professor Little Diamond, but she just laughed.

“Oh we all watch them,” she reassured me, “It’s like watching a train wreck, you are appalled, but you can’t look away.”

What makes me really, really nervous about these ‘real’ housewives is that I think that the Bravo station is carried in Qatar and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. While the more educated have travelled, and know that these ‘real’ housewives are not the norm, there may be many who think that this is the life of the American female.

I remember when I shocked my Qatari friends as I told them I was going home to take care of my Dad while my Mom had a knee replacement and spent a few weeks in rehab. They didn’t know we take care of our parents; they thought we just put them in grim warehouse like nursing homes. How did they know? From television, of course.

So you can understand I have a major concern that these women are representing us normal people in the homes of our friends in the Middle East. These women spend a lot of money on scanty clothing, these women have people who come in and do their make-up before a dinner party, these people have nannies taking care of their children (many of whom are really bratty) and they all seem to be designing handbags or creating make-up lines or (oh-no!) cutting records to try to get a singing career started.

Ask yourself this – who do you know in your own circles who would agree to have camera crews follow them around in their lives, filming their most intimate conversations? Who do you know in your circle who creates drama and conflict? Who do you know who needs the affirmation of an audience to believe her life is worth living? Who in your circle is addicted to plastic surgery or throws charity events to get attention? Those are the women they are filming.

You never see these women go to church. You rarely see them cooking up a normal dinner for their family. You don’t see any of them heading off to an 8 – 5 job. You don’t see them doing all the normal things we normal American housewives do (a lot like our sisters do in every country of the world) like laundry, running the kids to school, doctors appointments, soccer matches, paying the bills, scrubbing the floor, making appointments at the veterinarian, getting the car serviced, buying groceries, going to PTA, or doing their volunteer work. You don’t see them running over to their children’s house to babysit, or going to their exercise classes.

But then again, if they were doing all these things that us REAL housewives do, who would watch, LLLLOOOOOLLLLLLL! I understand there may be some sister Real wives series coming up from foreign countries. It will be interesting to see how their lives look.

September 29, 2011 - Posted by | Beauty, Character, Community, Cultural, Entertainment, Interconnected, Lies, Living Conditions, Middle East, Random Musings, Rants, Women's Issues


  1. I remember the first time I lived overseas and the local friends we made all thought we lived like they did in the show “Dallas”. They thought we all had big houses, lots of land and wore cowboy hats. Almost as appalling as the real housewives. Part of the reason I don’t watch any “reality” shows. They are staged to bring out and glorify the worst in poeple. Not to be confused with documentary shows, tho.

    Comment by momcat | September 29, 2011 | Reply

  2. Agree, Momcat, and still . . . I watch. I find myself feeling so sorry for the people who WANT to be on TV so badly that they would humiliate themselves like that. I think many of them are fragile and vulnerable and don’t understand how they are being exploited. But worse worse worse is, as you said, the Dallas effect, our friends overseas thinking that the housewives are typical of American life.

    There are others I cannot watch. The shows about the hoarders, to me it is just so awful, the people are not-quite-right and I think it exploits them to put their lives on TV, like zoo creatures. On the other hand, I love HGTV and all the people looking at houses and fixing up rental spaces, etc. They are closer to real reality TV for me. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 29, 2011 | Reply

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