I am an avid TV addict, and unfortunately cannot turn off my critical race theory lens even when watching inanity-laden shows like the Hills or the Bachelor.
Women of color are often absent from the ‘ good clean fun’ depictions in reality tv, they are not the next ‘bachelorettes’ or the title characters in lifestyle shows. They are portrayed as;the angry women of color, the person with an addiction-be it drugs alcohol or sex, or ‘the exotic’. More recently in my quest to justify my trash-tv addiction by attaching some level of social commentary, I stumbled upon one of my perennial favorite dating reality shows ‘the Millionaire Matchmaker’- while the premise of the show is problematic on it’s own, and Patty the Matchmaker is full on offensive and patently misogynistic and racist.
I still persist in watching , mainly because of all the crazies. The show consists of matching millionaires up with women who’d like to date them. In one way or another, the majority of these men are socially dysfunctional and due to the priviledge of masculinity and their wealth, this of course comes off as quirky or charming.Patty, the matchmaker , aside from ‘reading energies’, and her matching responsibilities, is also a social cartographer of sorts.
What really set my blood afire is her typology of women, apparently there can be only four: the girl next door, the sexpot, the intellectual or the exotic. White women can easily bounce from one category to the next, inhabiting multiple spaces at once. But women of color are invariably relegated to ‘the exotic’, apparently we are neither ‘the girl next door’, nor ‘the sexpot’, or ‘the intellectual’. This is yet another example of the structural oppression that seeks to reduce, restrict, and immobilize women of color into a sexually objectified, silenced other.I AM the trekkie girl next door who reads Balzac and is obsessed with shoes, listens to Wu Tang Clan and can exude whatever sexuality she chooses. I am global, local, everywhere, and my norm for beauty is not defined by blond hair and blue eyes. I am myself and all the wonderful womyn around me; Aung Saan Suu Kyi, Miriam Makeba, Angela Davis,Wangari Mathai- and I refuse to be defined, reduced or compromised.