Friday, January 25, 2013

First world problems

I struggle with what is a totally first world problem. And I'm also slightly uncomfortable struggling with this in any sort of public forum because I don't want to offend.

I have trouble with the whole Housewives thing (I assume you know what I'm talking about so I don't have to do a bunch of backstory on this). Here is my backstory with it, really not that interesting but sets the stage, I think.

I can't recall when housewives phenom started in my social circle, but I think it's been relatively recently. Coincided in my personal memory with the advent of the yummy mummy and mommy culture in general. All bullshit, in my opinion, but nonetheless very strong cultural programming that is difficult to ignore. Let me rephrase. Difficult perhaps not for all, but for me to ignore. I place a high value (my choice, my problem) on social relationships, on fitting in, on getting along, on feeling needed and valued and wanted.

And these shows in the beginning were just fluff - wow, do women really live like that? This is window into the lifestyle of the rich and famous, and that in itself is somewhat irresistible. And then as perhaps these things go, as conversations were had behind closed doors about ratings and drama and giving people something to watch, the shows became just that bit more...nasty.

I used to joke about the Housewives as the precursor to the real-life Running Man (Stephen King) and then we got the Hunger Games and I thought hmm. If I were in university there would somehow be a paper on this....

And now I have three of my own little girls, in the midst of growing up and of course as a woman myself, post feminism degree, post working in restaurants post job losing due to mat leave post struggling to find myself and so on and so on, I think a lot (too much?) about how to raise these young girls as lovely, compassionate, kind, intelligent manner. Where they don't turn into little bitches, who lead (or follow) in a pack of mean.

Obviously as their mother I feel a strong sense of do the right thing, of lead by example, of teacher. Given that I struggle with self esteem on some levels (funny, in some ways I have an utterly complete sense of self confidence, but on some it's lacking in a disastrous kind of way) I struggle also to see myself as teacher. But that's pretty much what parenting is. In my opinion, anyways, I get the strong sense that many do not feel that way, but that's a whole other opinion piece.

So the question becomes, can I watch this modern day smackdown? This submitting to knives both real and the knife of innuendo? Can I teach my girls all day long to be kind and then watch women being truly nothing other than cruel?

I have friends who easily move between the two, and are lovely and wonderful people as are their children. So why do I have such a massive issue with this? Why can't I just define it as entertainment and nothing more?

I have no succinct answer, no tie it all together last line. On this one, I will have to likely have Parts II., III, and so on...while I sort this shit out.

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