Most of us learned at a young age that the best way to deal with people who do stupid things just to get attention is to ignore them. The geniuses at Bravo not only know this, but count on us to forget this. The first time I saw a Housewives show, I literally could not believe that something so misogynistic, stereotypical and offensive was not just on TV, but popular.
Then, as you watch more, you begin to think, “Oh wait, this is actually kind of fun.” That’s the brilliance of Bravo. They use our moral indignation against us, purposefully creating tactless shows that elicit humor and anger, both powerful emotions that keep us coming back for more.
Like that annoying child desperate for attention, the more you talk about them, the more you show them that you’re affected, the more they continue. So of course “Princesses: Long Island” is misogynistic and ugly. Yes, it pretends feminism never happened. But that’s the point. The people at Bravo know that when bloggers seethe with anger, they get viewers.
That’s also why this argument about whether the show portrays Jews poorly is so flawed. Of course it portrays Jews poorly — that’s what reality television does. And by getting all outraged, we’re just playing along with the farce. I fully understand why people are railing against the idiocy and meanness of these shows. But maybe, instead of taking up arms in boycott, we could do a lot more by just looking the other way and waiting for them to shrivel into obscurity. There’s some really terrific and compelling feminist TV that deserves our attention — shows like “Top of the Lake” and “The Fall” –that we talk about considerably less than that stupid thing Chanel said. We’d do better not to talk about it at all.