Friday, October 17, 2008

Just What Is A Real Housewife?

This blog originally appeared on

For the few of you, like me, who rely on bunny ears for your television programming, you may not have heard of Bravo's reality show "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." Following in the steps of The Real Housewives of Orange County and The Real Housewives of New York City, RHO of the ATL spotlights five women - none of whom live ITP, mind you - who have various roles as wife, mother, single mother, businesswoman, socialite and philanthropist, among others. Watch the first episode here.

One of the wives, DeShawn Snow - a resident of Alpharetta, wife, and mother to three boys - was recently featured in Atlanta Woman 's Up & Comers section for her work "helping young women to understand the importance of self-esteem and having goals" through the DeShawn Snow Foundation.

I wasn't really aware of the program until I heard about it on The Bert Show one morning - making my thrice-weekly trek from preschool drop off to the office. Listeners were calling in with their opinions of the show - most indignant because none of the ladies actually lives in Atlanta, and because none of them live the typical life of a housewife. Meaning, of course, that Bravo chose not to profile the typical stay at home suburban mom whose days are filled with play dates, laundry, dishes, dinner, etc.

These calls got me thinking. Just what exactly is a real housewife today? Most of the women on the show have jobs, making them working mothers rather than true housewives. But, isn't the term working mother redundant? I certainly think so. Should we just throw these terms out with the bathwater?

To me, mother is a pretty powerful word in itself - one that I always put before terms like professional or full time. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. What defines the term housewife to you? Is there even a generic description that can be cobbled together?

There are certainly a lot of websites devoted to housewives:
(I imagine this is the one Bree Van DeCamp visits the most.) even offers these helpful tips in its "How To Be A Good Housewife" section. (Seriously, I am not making this up. Please note I write this with a tinge of sarcasm.)
* Be aware of what your man needs when he comes home.
* Maintaining your appearance, while not essential in being a housewife, does certainly help remind your husband (and yourself) that you are still a woman and not simply a housekeeper.
* Keep the house tidy and pleasant. There is no excuse for your man to come home to a mess, so make friends with your vacuum and feather duster.

It's comments like these that make me feel the need for a new definition of housewife is long overdue!

Please, someone go in and edit these pages!

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