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Michele Willens Headshot

FACE IT: 'Watching Women Age' Goes Prime Time?

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So here is my nightmare: (Soon to be a Tarantino film near you) I am crouched in a corner of a bunker, hiding from them. Wait, I hear footsteps. Have they found me? Do they have a camera? Who, you ask? The folks who run the networks! I just know they are getting closer, looking for me, one of the last holdouts.

You see, my theory is that the country won't be free from terrorism until every single American has been on at least one reality show. Why else would this hideous trend continue ceaselessly? A restaurant can't be a restaurant unless it's been created over thirteen weeks of programming. A chef can't just be very good, he or she must be tops. (Remember the days of personal best?) A boss can't just go up or down, he must go undercover. Married couples can't have spats unless Jerry Seinfeld is there to ref. A kiss may just be a kiss but rehab isn't just rehab and intervention isn't just intervention unless it's on their tube or yours.

But can't I be patriotic without being narcissistic? In my recurring nightmare (in black and white, much like these times) I steadfastly cling to the last shreds of integrity. Then the torture begins: I am forced to watch at least some of those "housewives of somewhere" until I agree to become one. No! Okay, then I must be willing to race, be subjected to cruel criticism, become one of Hefner's girlfriends, or get weighed on national television. No, I say!

Suddenly, everything changes from black and white to bright colors. I am now the star of my own reality show entitled, "Surviving The Amazing Aging Process." Every Monday night, viewers tune in to see how I am handling this unsettling inevitability. Will I make the phone call to the plastic surgeon? Will my hormones rage again? They gaze hungrily as I undress and prepare for a bath, and discover that under this seemingly fit frame is, in fact, loose and dimpled skin. Next week, tune in to watch me droop! Don't laugh because should we be renewed, who knows which Boomer-sized babe is next? (Hey, Rush Limbaugh said the idea of watching a woman
age in the White House was reason enough not to vote for Hillary. That was real reality.)

I wake up. Sort of. The torture tactics continue and they can be seen about ten times a night, all variations on the video validation theme. If it hasn't been cried, said or done on the airwaves, it must not be true. I am reminded that while the video victims may give up any semblance of privacy and be humiliated on national television, they also tend to get book deals, record deals, spots on other reality shows, Broadway roles. Hmmmm. But no, I am strong enough to resist. I was told I'd be forever young and it pisses me off that I am dealing with that, but is it really worth a series? Of course not and I don't need my every move to be cheered, booed or voted on. Then again, if I don't do it, will the terrorists win?

Get me to the nearest bunker. Quick.

What do YOU think of Reality Shows? Michele Willens, co author of FACE IT: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change, wants to know.
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