In Friday's WSJ, Nancy deWolf Smith offers the best explantion yet of the impact of and possible motivation behind Bravo's Real Housewives reality series:
What's next? Nobody has hooked up with a serial killer yet. But there's always more raunch possible, as with the Miami housewives who recently were depicted at a fashion show ogling male body parts in tight bathing suits with a gusto that would not seem out of place in a gay bar. Yet when all is said and done, true sensual sexiness is in short supply on these shows. Beneath their Swarovski crystals and spangled dresses, a lot of the ladies are looking as tired as saloon girls on the late shift.
Maybe that was always the goal, though. The glamour vibe, like so much else on the shows, is mostly an illusion. Is the franchise's premise of having good fun celebrating female foibles and empowerment a pretense, too? The cast members may be outfitted and painted like a drag queen's cheerful dream of womanhood. But an odor of misogyny is in the air. As if watching these shows has made us complicit in someone else's contempt for the female of the species.
UPDATE: I've cracked wise in the past that if you really want to know why the likes of Al Qaeada really hate us, all you'd have to do is watch five minutes of "The Real Housewives of NYC." Now, I'm thinking that the entire series is secretly sponsored by radical Islamists who seek to impose Sharia law on the United States. Because if the option is between freedom and democracy as demonstrated on the "Real Housewives" shows and Sharia, I think a lot of folks would have to give the latter option a good hard look.