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Black Women in Reality Television Docusoaps

A New Form of Representation or Depictions as Usual?


Adria Y. Goldman and Damion Waymer

Black Women in Reality Television Docusoaps explores representations of Black women in one of the most powerful, popular forms of reality television – the docusoap. Viewers, critics, and researchers have taken issue with what they consider to be unflattering, one-dimensional representations. This book discusses images of Black women in reality television during the 2011 viewing year, when much criticism arose. These findings provide a context for a more recent examination of reality television portrayals during 2014, following many reality stars’ promises to offer new representations. The authors discuss the types of images shown, potential readings of such portrayals, and the implication of these reality television docusoap presentations. The book will be useful for courses examining topics such as popular culture; mass media and society; women’s studies; race and media; sex and gender; media studies; African American issues in mass communication; and gender, race and representation, as well as other graduate-level classes.
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Chapter 7. She Has Her Own (Money)




“It’s almost like Toya’s worried that somebody’s gonna steal her money man. Boo, I have a job. I make my own money. Don’t want your man.”


Long gone are the days when women are required to stay at home and rely on their husbands’ income. Now, this is not to say that women still may not choose this option; and there is nothing wrong with that decision. But, women do have the option to generate their own income, and the Black women across the docusoaps help illustrate this point. Even though domesticity is a quality historically linked to women, this was not a dominant theme across the docusoaps. There were some examples when the women were shown (or discussing) household chores such as cleaning or cooking. For example, on Married to Medicine, Heavenly, Toya, and Quad explain how it can be sexy to cook for their husbands. Kandi (The Real Housewives of Atlanta) and Brittish (Basketball Wives LA) are also shown cooking for their significant others. In both cases it appeared to be by choice. None of the women was were restricted to these roles and domestic chores were not a recurring theme. The fact that these women were not required to stay in the household and cooked by choice helps communicate the message that Black women are not required to operate only within the home and the domestic realm. ← 87 | 88...

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