One of the aims of what I would call a sub-pop culture is to copy the mainstream and create a niche version, whether it’s books, movies, music or TV. There’s nothing wrong with doing that in my opinion and often it eventually leads to originality. Christian music has done it numerous times with bands that sounded like such and such secular band until talent emerged that couldn’t easily be compared to anyone. Now with Christian TV programming emerging–and I’m not referring to TBN praise and preaching yawns–there will be knock-offs. CNN’s Belief Blog has a story on The Real Housewives of the Bible which of course was inspired by Bravo’s Real Housewives series about bitchy women with too much time and money on their hands. This Christian version doesn’t appear to be a reality series though, each woman is supposed to represent a woman from The Bible.
It’s being produced by Ty Adams (Ty is a female name per the article) who is described as a “web based evangelist” (I guess she exclusively preaches online?). Here is her quote on why she wants to make a more gentler, Christian version of female reality shows:
“I was frustrated with what I was seeing,” she said. “A lot of society is looking towards programming to educate them on relationships and these shows haven’t effectively done that.”
And thus she misses the point. Bravo’s Real Housewives series is not about educating anyone–it’s pure entertainment. My wife watches it for fun. I can’t stand it, but I know enough not to compare it to education of any sort. I don’t think most women are that stupid. If Ty’s aim is to create a wholesome version of its secular counterpart then it will bomb. Sure Christian women will say they enjoyed it because it’s the right thing to say, then later that night they will secretly flip over to Bravo.
Remember when Oxygen, the supposedly uplifting all-women channel first came out? Again, I do because my wife was watching it. They had positive shows…until they found they were in a ratings game. Then the nails came out. Now they boast Bad Girls Club as one of their featured shows. Much like guys who like a good fistfight, women want to see other women at each other’s throats. I’m not judging, it’s human nature. Entertainment often fills a need to be bad without actually engaging in that behavior; we live vicariously through someone else. Or we treat it like an event similar to lions and gladiators in the Roman Colosseum.
Think I’m way off base? If it weren’t for the fact that my wife likes these shows as well as her friends I would say this is stereotyping, but I’m not. I’m well aware of the movies on Lifetime about cheating, murder and lies and Snapped on Oxygen celebrating female killers. Women like vicious shows the same as men, the formatting and storylines are simply rearranged towards their tastes (men would require breasts shots on all Lifetime movies). That’s why these shows have succeeded. Wholesome, uplifting female-oriented shows don’t do as well because they don’t have the same entertainment value. Women aren’t always looking to be educated by TV on their relationships, are they?
It does appear that Ty Adams will be using sex or the allure of sexual relationship. She is the author of Single, Saved and Having Sex. What? Is this for real or is this just a book title teaser where abstinence is inserted once you start reading. Yes, I believe that is the case after reading the reviews on Amazon.com (correct me if I’m wrong). It’s more about dealing with sexual temptation than sex itself. If Ty can work that into the reality show maybe there’s a hook as Christians do not shy away from using the word “sex” as much as they did in the past. And it gives permission to Christians who feel guilty about secular shows depicting sexual relationships to watch a “holier” version.
Honestly, I think if Ty wanted to provide some quality programming she should ditch the reference to “housewives.” Whenever I want to poke fun at my wife I call her a “housewife.” It’s not a flattering term these days. It brings up images of subservient, perfect little women who knew their place back in the day. In the article you’ll notice more references by Ty to “good housewives.” I find it all kind of disturbing.
SIDENOTE: I get the term “stay-at-home mom” but that’s not the same as a housewife. If some woman has the financial freedom not to work and wants to take care of the kids, great. I just think if we’re going to create wholesome, positive programming for women then why should it be about housewives at all? It’s hard work I guess, but aren’t there better accomplishments to explore? How about “Young Female Scientists”? They’ve got body and brains and they drive men wild while discovering the mysteries of the universe. I’m turned on already.