The Portrayal Of Black Women In The Media: The Basketball Wives Petition
I Have To Give You Guys The Real Deal, As Usual
While I was busy ensuring that everything goes well for me to walk for my graduation next week, there is a petition to cancel the show, Basketball Wives on VH1. To what started out as a few thousand signatures gradually turned to more than 20,000! I was debating yet again on whether to write on Hubpages, but it has been on my mind and I will tell it like it is while listening to The Miseduation of Lauryn Hill on my iPod.
Do Not Get Me Wrong...
I enjoyed watching Basketball Wives as my guitly pleasure. Sure, there were instances of drama (verbal and physical altercations, gossiping, and all the other behaviors that wasn't so ladylike), but it was something to watch. I got to admit the reason why I watched these shows, apart from the fashion and the drama was due to my own interest in psychological aspects of how women interact within their respective circles. Especially if they were associated (or once associated) with basketball players and lived a lifestyle where these men provided for them financially, but treated them like crap. Wow, what a life.
The Problem With This Show Is:
The portrayal of black women and the stereotypes presented. The constant bullying of cast members to whom one thinks is "weaker" than them (i.e Tami Roman and Evelyn Lozada), the people that enables this type of behavior, and the impression that they leave on younger viewers.
The Portrayal of Black Women and Stereotypes Presented
The stereotypes are the Sapphire, Jezebel and a Gold Digger. The Sapphire stereotype is in essence, an angry, bitter black woman. She belittles anyone who she sees as weaker than her. She gets her point across by verbally and physically abusing others. The Jezebel uses her body to get what she wants from a man. She has little to no standards when it comes to getting what she wants, as long as she gets it. The Gold Digger is essentially the same concept as the Jezebel, but she is more so in the relationship solely for cash without offering anything to a man. It was bad enough as it was prior to Basketball Wives about the portrayal of black women, but now it has been more obvious with this show. Unfortunately in this society, when a small group of black women behave in ways that are not positive, black women in general are labeled as such.
Shaunie O'Neal is the executive producer of the show as well as the creator. She is in charge of how the show is presented, the themes, the cast, and the finances. She is basically their boss. She lets her "friends" on the show act like a fool on national television. She lets these girls bully and get bullied all for the sake of ratings. Don't get me wrong, these women also have a part in this because they wanted to stay relevant and in the blogs because they are willing to sell their souls for fame and fortune. It's not like Shaunie put a gun in their head and forced them to do that. However, it takes a real friend to tell them that their behavior is wrong. Apart from Shaunie, the viewers themselves have a part in enabling this behavior. Some viewers send tweets praising them, while some continuously watch it for the foolery. I know I can be guilty as well on that one, but I am working on it.
Young, African-American Viewers...
A while ago, I wrote a hub entitled Role Model Smole Model: Since When The Media Determines How To Raise Children? The whole premise was that the parents were responsible for raising their children. With some parents raising children on the T.V. set, some being more of their children's friends than parents and not monitoring what they watch, these children think that the women on Basketball Wives' behavior is the norm. And bullying is already a problem in this country enough as it is. The media does have partial influence over children. Teens are capturing their beat-downs and other means to humiliate their victim and posting them on sites like World Star, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter thinking that their actions are justifiable.
While 'reality television" is pretty much in every channel nowadays, it is much easier said than done to avoid them, but it can still be done. When the time comes to watch that show, watch something else. Reason being is because the success of a televison show depends on how many viewers per episode. Don't contribute to the show if you truly do not support their actions.
You also have to realize that if anything, Basketball Wives and other shows is a great example of what NOT TO DO in social and personal situations. I have never once considered them "role models". I control and determine my own actions. I agree that the cast is out of hand and something need to be done. But it all starts with the individual who watches it. The show in itself does not represent black women as a whole because we all come from different backgrounds and situations. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, just like everyone else.