Unreal Housewives

Thank you, Jose, for mentioning “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” in your recent post. Something about these “real housewives” shows on Bravo has really been bothering me and this is a great forum to get this off my chest. It all starts with that simple word “housewife.” I really think that the producers, in their haste to find a real-life Wisteria Lane, missed the meaning of that word. A housewife is a woman whose main occupation is taking care of a house and children while her husband is the breadwinner—either by being married to her or by providing her with enough alimony and child support to keep her out of the office and at home, in or near the kitchen.

Yeah, like she fries bacon for her man.

Yeah, like Vicki fries up bacon for her man every morning.

I was wondering if anyone has really paid attention to the women that are considered “housewives” on the four “Real Housewives” franchise. Granted, a couple of the women on these shows do stay home, take care of the kids and don’t have careers. But have you checked out the resumes of some of the other women on the four housewife franchises? One’s a chef, several either work in real estate or are real estate entrepreneurs, and more than one have singing careers. Some even own businesses and work somewhere else.

Take a look at these resumes, for example.

Caroline Manzo (New Jersey)
Caroline (Laurita) Manzo, born August 23, 1959, has been married to husband Albert Manzo for 25 years, co-owner of The Brownstone, an event and catering facility in Paterson, New Jersey. The couple have three children: Albert “Albie” Manzo Jr. (born in 1986), Lauren Manzo (born in 1988), and Christopher Manzo (born in 1989). Caroline is the owner of two businesses: Opus Properties, a real estate firm, and a children’s accessories line. In addition, she serves on the board of her sister Dina’s charity foundation, Project Ladybug.

Kandi Burruss (Atlanta)
The Georgia native and former Xscape member is the newest Housewife. Burruss is a Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter who resides in Fayetteville, GA with her six-year-old daughter Riley. Aside from being a Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and record producer, she is also the founder and CEO of Kandi Koated Entertainment, her own independent recording label. Recently, she bought her own boutique, TAGS, in Atlanta, which is located at 4500 West Village Smyrna, Ga. 30080. It is scheduled to be opening in mid-October.

And before she accepted her Grammy, she made all the beds in her house and vacuumed the living room.

And I'm sure that, before she accepted her Grammy, Kandi made all the beds in her house and vacuumed the living room.

Ramona Singer (New York City)
55-year-old Ramona Singer is a businesswoman and an aficionado of fashion. As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Singer started in the business 30 years ago as a buyer for Macy’s, then moved into the wholesale clothing business with French Connection and Calvin Klein. She is now designing jewelry. Her line of pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings are currently sold on the Home Shopping Network (HSN).

Vicki Gunvalson (Orange County)
Vicki Gunvalson (born March 27, 1962), at age 47, Gunvalson’s family includes her second husband Donn and her two children, Michael (who attends the University of Colorado at Boulder) and Briana Wolfsmith (who attends nursing school at Azusa Pacific University located in Azusa, California from her first marriage. Gunvalson is the dominant force in her family and has been described by her family and friends as “controlling” and a “workaholic.” She has worked extremely hard to achieve financial success as an independent insurance agent and expects her family to toe her party line.

I realize that these shows are popular because a significant portion of the American public loves cat fights, salacious details about shady pasts, and just plain, all-around bitchiness. My younger daughter fits in this category and enjoys watching shows like “Bad Girls.” “Charm School with New York,” and that show where the Brett Michaels reject searches for love herself by sleeping with just about all the men who want to be her “true love” and then crying about it later.

I also realize that shows about women behaving badly are huge cash cows. I have my theories about this, one of which being that these shows were designed to make men say, “See? Too much estrogen makes women crazy.” But I digress.

My issue isn’t so much about the subjects of these shows, but about truth in advertising. I think it would be better if these shows were called “The Unreal Women of [insert locale here]” or, even better, “Prominent and Notorious Women of  [insert locale here] Behaving Badly.” The idea that women who are rarely at home because of the demands of their careers are housewives is ridiculous.