Love and Television
I was going to write about unwanted touching, or the missing Nigerian girls. Then I started thinking about the educational inequality in our country. But quite honestly, it’s the end of the school year, I’m working three jobs, and my brain feels like it’s melting sometimes. Sometimes I like mindless entertainment, although as a feminist I always look at pop culture through my critical lens. I just can’t turn it off, even when I’m watching TV.
Full disclosure, I really got sucked into Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (LHHA) last season. There is something so compelling about watching the emotional train wreck that is marketed as reality TV. These are (I’m assuming) tax-paying, functional members of society. Business owners, parents, and spouses alike are swayed by emotions and seemingly compelled to act like they have no home-training on television. They are paid for this, and made more famous for these antics. The fighting makes me cringe and say a silent prayer for my brothers and sisters, but believe it or not, the reason I watch is because of the first word in the show…love.
I was trying to figure out why I enjoyed LHHA but find all the Real Housewives shows repulsive. My best hypothesis is the theoretical basis of the shows. What I’ve gathered from the little I’ve seen of Real Housewives is that the show focuses on these women’s relationships with each other. However I’ve never thrown a drink in my friends face. That doesn’t look like friendship to me. There seems to be a lack of real emotions (yes I see the irony).
LHHA focuses on the romantic relationships of the show’s stars. Even though most of the relationships seem to be a hot mess, I think that these people really care for each other. And as dysfunctional as the relationships are, these women and men keep trying. Despite the messiness, couples forgive each other again and again, hoping for a better outcome the next time. To me, even though I know the show is at least partly scripted, there seems to be genuine emotional issues explored.
I think that there is something reassuring about seeing people that still believe in love. Still hope that their cheating boyfriend will finally be faithful. Sure, I like the drama. But what I really tune in to see is a picture of black love. These are not necessarily the healthiest relationships on TV, but people that still are willing to dust themselves off and love again. There is something heartwarming about this in my opinion.