Oxygen: Television for Morons

I was in the midst of a romantic rendezvous with Across the Universe’s leading man, Jim Sturgess, when uninvited noise and clatter began entering my dream. Suddenly my delusions became dark and ridden with anxiety as I struggled to open my eyes. My make up from the night before had become a sticky glue. As I pealed my eyes open I directed them towards the television screen that lay before me. Sick with hangover and trapped helplessly between the cushions of an old leather sofa I began to comprehend what I was watching. What I saw disturbed and confused me. “What is this?” I muttered into the leg which lay next to my head. “It’s the Bad Girl’s Club. It’s awful but I can’t stop watching.” My friend sat staring off in a morbid trance. Rather than protesting I slid up on the couch and joined her.

If you have never seen Oxygen’s hit show The Bad Girl’s Club I would like you to first take a moment to congratulate yourself on not falling victim to mindless reality television. The series encompasses girl on girl victimization, violence, alcoholism, and overt sexuality. So basically, it’s old fashioned fun for the whole family. For whatever reason nine or so girls are placed in a lavish mansion in Beverly Hills, CA where they are pumped with alcohol and rewarded for their “bad” behavior with cheap fame. There is no lesson to be learned or encouragement to change their ways, only camera crews willing to instigate drunken fist fights and orgies. The Bad Girl’s Club is essentially Girl’s Gone Wild, gone mainstream.

Unfortunately this is most likely why it is Oxygen’s most popular, (possibly only popular) series. In today’s shock hungry society sex and violence sells and women are paying the price. So why then, would a television network who claims to be for women, exploit women? It’s simple really, the Oxygen network is playing into the market allotted for them by popular culture. Creating dramatic reality shows which display “independent” women as shameless, violent, lushes feeds the anti-feministic stereotype which our society has grown to love.

“See dude, bitches are crazy.” I cocked my head to the left to see where the voice was coming from. An unidentified male sat on the couch opposite from me and slurped up the pink milk from his fruity pebbles as he spoke, “Like this is why girls shouldn’t live together, you guys are catty and just plain nuts.” I turned back to the T.V. in time to witness drinks being thrown and hair being pulled. A one hour show had managed to push women’s efforts back to the stone age for my age group. Thank you Oxygen, for making my life as a twenty something feminist that much harder.

One must understand that I’m not basing my entire opinion on the effects of this show on someone who already refers to women as “bitches”, but at the same time isn’t this the reaction it evokes from it’s viewers? This series avidly promotes girl on girl violence as well as competitiveness which is a debilitating issue for women as is. These producers are banking on young women dividing and conquering each other like gamblers who throw down money at a cock fight.

I rolled from the couch and stumbled awkwardly into the nearby kitchen. As I sat down at the table I could still hear muffled screams from the television. I gained the strength to leave when seven girls attacked one girl in an argument on of all things, who was the “baddest bitch” in the house. Our stomachs turn when we see homemade videos of girls mercilessly attacking other girls on CNN, and think what has the world come to? Where did they learn this?  Well, this is where they learned it. Women learn to hate and to hurt at different levels through out their lives and competitiveness is intrinsically integrated into all parts of our culture, but it is here, on a television network targeted toward women where this kind of disgusting behavior is so obviously played out. It’s as if The Bad Girl’s Club is a step by step guide on how to exactly fit the stereotype of the new American woman.

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