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Jim Joseph Headshot

Are the 'Real Housewives' Sexist?

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I grew up in the '70s when Farrah Fawcett and Charlie's other Angels made "jiggle tv" not only popular but infamous. As a culture, we've long been fascinated with watching groups of women interact with each other. Just take a look at The Facts of Life.

But there's been an interesting development that I've noticed lately that makes me kind of uncomfortable.

I've been a fan of The Real Housewives franchise since day one, when it first debuted in Ocean County as a response to the popularity of Desperate Housewives.

As the franchise has grown from city to city, so too have the issues that the women have confronted, and I've been glued.

But it never occurred to me until just recently that there's been an underlying issue brewing, at least in my view -- one that I really don't like. Not that I've been crazy about some of the other ones either, to tell you the truth.

Sexism.

Sure there is a lot of labeling going on, much to Carlton's (from LA) dismay. There's also a lot of stereotyping too (thank you, Adriana in Miami). And, of course, a lot of accusations -- note the recent exchange between Carole and Aviva in NY.

I suppose all of that is fodder for a compelling plot, along with all the apologies that fly soon after. I guess that's why we tune in to watch these groups of women.

But it's the sexism that is really starting to bother me. Accordingly to these women, it's okay for women to gossip, accuse, fight, meddle and hold grudges, but not the men.

This is women's business, according to NeNe in Atlanta. Not for the men to get involved, or you just might get labeled with the "b" word.

Now granted, these are not actions that I would necessarily want to entertain for myself, but I just think it's odd to separate the men from the women so distinctly.

To me, these are raw human emotions and actions that are not necessarily relegated to one sex or the other. So to say that your life partner shouldn't be involved in your "doings" is just wrong in my book. Saying that the men should stay with the men and the women with the women harkens back to a day way before the '70s.

So while the accusations are flying, I guess I'm not comfortable with the one that says the men should stay out. Of course, unless you are gay, then that's a whole other matter and yet again another stereotype played out with these women.

It's old school gender and sexuality lines that just are not relevant anymore. They are certainly not relevant to me, and to many in my own group (men and women, gay and straight).

Now granted these women are entitled to their opinions and they are paid to air them on television, that's for sure. But I'm also entitled to being annoyed by them and to speak my mind, just like they do... even if I'm a man, regardless if I'm gay or not.