Two weeks ago, feminist Camille Paglia did an interview with Salon.com in which she came out as the world’s biggest fan of The Real Housewives franchise, calling it “a revelation of the deep truth about female sexuality.” She added:
It’s like the Discovery Channel—sending a camera to the African savannah to watch the cheetahs stalking the gazelles! What you’re seeing is the primal battles going on among women. Men are marginalized on these shows—they’re eye candy, to use Obama’s phrase, on the borderlines of the ferocity of female sexuality.
“So this woman … she a feminist psychologist?” Ms. Drescher asked, not having heard the news about the endorsement. We said maybe more like a contrarian feminist theorist.
“I think even looking at the title of the show–it’s a celebration of housewives,” Ms. Drescher said. “And it’s not the ’50s version of a housewife either. It’s all about the differences in women to whom we apply this blanket term. And yet it is still of tremendous importance to the stereotypical ‘housewife.’”
So even the name of the show might be Bravo’s attempt at a subversive feminist critique? After all, Ms. Drescher is one of the three married “housewives” among them (besides Ramona Singer and Heather Thompson). Caroline Radziwill started the season in an open relationship, Sonja Morgan is divorced, and LuAnn de Lesseps might technically still be in a relationship with boyfriend Jacques Azoulay after she was accused of cheating on him during the reunion.
“Out of all the women, I’m the only actual ‘housewife,’” Ms. Drescher said. “But just the fact that this a show where six women who are employed, who are being paid to be themselves on television, is empowering by it’s nature.”
“In terms of the ferocity of sexuality, you get the whole gamut,” she continued, adding, “I’m the one who’s more conservative, the mom with four kids who isn’t really that interested in going on a girls’ Vegas-type trip.”
“Bravo’s really celebrating women’s differences,” she said. “And when it’s comes to differences, nobody wins.”
“Well, except in the fact that everyone watching the show can find someone to relate to,” she explained. “That’s what we’re celebrating.”
And Bravo’s ratings, of course.