CONFESSION: I am a reality TV junkie. This many not be news to all of you, but it's the truth. I'd swear on Rick Perry's hair that there isn't a reality show that I haven't at least watched 30 seconds of in the last few years. But I have to draw the line. The cable networks have gone too far.
When it was about California, I was all, "OOOH! Pretty blondes! Drama! Bad acting! So awful, I can't help but watch it!" I mean, how could you not snicker at these shows?
I could even count that Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey marriage curser, which proved blondes may have more fun but they can't tell tuna from chicken. It's all brain candy. And pretty.
And then, the networks seemed to be all about New Jersey.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious - could they make New Jersey look more orange? Could they show me more fights? Can I really see more fake boobs on the East coast than the West coast? Are those dresses or shirts (PS - that's one of my favorite shopping games)? It almost made me want to take a vacation to New Jersey so I could count the stereotypes I had come to recognize from television.
HA! I thought. That's SO not Texas.
And then they came for us.
Big hair, I get. But these people (who appear to be rich, though we know in Texas there's a chance some of them might be thousandaires while giving the impression that they're millionaires) act just like the casts of the shows in California: bratty, whiny, self-absorbed and, well, any other word you could use to describe the jerks from the other shows.
So, I'd like to clarify a few things:
If Texas ever seceded and became five different states, Dallas-Fort Worth would become its own state. Not since the fictional TV show, Dallas, has the metroplex had such an indulgent image that happens to come with cattle all around.
Speaking of... We don't all own cattle. We don't all ride horses. In fact, a lot of us don't live on ranches. If you come to Texas and want to make people watching a drinking game, you should choose to drink every time you see us in a gas guzzler instead of on a farm animal. You will be hammered before you get to your hotel.
You can really stretch a buck in Texas. If you're impressed by the houses here, know that you'd probably have to add a zero to the end of the price to make it comparable in California or New Jersey. Don't be fooled by that.
We don't all intentionally have big hair. In my neck of Texas, we have humidity. If you are lucky to live in a humidity-free climate, enjoy the good hair days because it makes my hair grow like some creepy horror film character. I'd like my hair to behave, so I fight it's rebellion with a pony tail. It fights back when I sleep. To keep my hair from getting the upper hand, I refuse to take a picture of it. That's how the hair wins.
I will say there is a whole lot of drama in Texas - and a whole lot of curiosity about this great state. I understand why reality show producers are interested in showing that. But I'd like a little disclaimer on this and, to be fair, all reality shows that it does not entirely reflect the state/city - that it's just a glimpse into the lives these people chose to put on camera. After all, they've learned from California and New Jersey that fighting, cattiness and tears bring reality fame.
That, y'all, is not what makes a Texan lovable. But it might make him/her a few bucks to blow on some tacky boots.
I have a bone to pick with the media. You see, I've had enough of the constant lady comparisons and not-so-subtle bashing. When it's used snarkily, I'm not as bothered by the stories, photos, slide shows, etc., that seem to pit lady against lady.
I just cannot believe that in these final months of 2011 women are still being compared, criticized and just plain judged for their appearance. Allow me to state my case.
I saw this on The Daily Beast recently. Clothing is not the only thing repeated in this slideshow. The comment "not enough dresses to wear" is used in almost every comparison.
I suppose it's possible the person(s) behind this catty piece thought that since these people are famous/rich, they shouldn't be caught dead wearing the same thing more than once. I say just the opposite. We mere mortals wear the same item many times (I prefer not to part with clothing/bags/shoes unless they are worn out, torn or stained). And when you see these lovely ladies wearing the same outfit more than once, it doesn't come off as cheap. It shows they have enough style to slightly vary the outfit. It's not like they picked out something they spotted on a mannequin and only wore it that way. Also, these outfits are mostly good. Why would these ladies of means want to throw them out.
Speaking of Tina Brown's projects... I have to say I am disappointed with her Newsweek. Have you seen these covers?
Now, that Sarah Palin cover was done before Ms. Brown took over, but look at the disparity here. I'm not a huge fan of Ms. Palin or Michele Bachmann (and I'm lukewarm on Hillary Clinton), but the extreme closeups on the first two ladies are unforgiving. There's an apparent lack of airbrushing on the ladies who are actually attractive. And that Bachmann cover might as well have said, "Queen of Clueless Crazy Lady" than "Queen of Rage." Totally made me happy I did not renew my subscription here. Jon Stewart had it right: you want to clearly paint the picture of Bachmann, do it like this.
As for the picture of Hillary Clinton... It's not an awful picture, but when you talk about how she's "shattering glass ceilings," but show her from an unflattering angle, it's like we are once again left to talk about her pear shape and aging face. Who wants to talk about what she's doing when this magazine hardly gives an impression that the article is seriously focused on her appearance? They don't give their cover men that kind of treatment (unless they're celebrities posing in character). They shouldn't do the same to women.
If you think this kind of treatment is exclusive to the so-called "liberal" media, you're wrong.
I spotted this on Fox News's website. An entire slide show of famous ladies, their ages and an implied gasp at how well some have aged while others have not.
First of all, let me say it is totally unfair to compare any lady of any age to Christie Brinkley.
Second, I think they could have taken this whole thing a step further by explaining the diet, exercise and skin care regimes (as well as what injectables and surgeries they've had) to give women an accurate idea of what aging can be.
If anyone ever puts a picture of myself next to a famous gal and wants to point out all of our differences (good and bad), they better be prepared for a junk shot.
I understand that my Friday feature might make this whole post seem ironic. However, I try to point out the good in these famous people when I can. If I don't like someone, I make that pretty clear (we don't have to like everyone - really). What I do is point out a bad moment. Besides the oh-so-important page clicks, what good do these slide shows and magazine covers do to women? They're not allowed to be more like us? They're not allowed the privilege of some airbrushing? They're not allowed to age?
I don't get it. I don't like it. Most of all, I'm glad I don't have to be held to the high standards of the people (like me) who get to sit around in their yoga pants and go, "Oh. My. God. (Insert celebrity name) looks awful! Let's make sure everyone sees that!"
Maybe I should reconsider everything I'm doing. Or maybe I'm getting soft in my old age. Or maybe the heat has finally gotten to me. Check back in December.