Love them or hate them, Bravo TV’s The Real Housewives franchise has been a mainstay on the network since 2006 when the Orange County series first debuted. America has Andy Cohen to thank because he was in charge of original programming at the time, and while some viewers find the series a step back in how women are portrayed on television, he has a much different perspective.
The 54-year-old TV personality mentioned to The New Yorker that it was Meghan Markle who debated him on the reality shows he produces on her podcast, Archetypes, but he’s drawing a hard line here. Cohen views the buzzy series as a “great feminist tableau” and he has other feminist leaders backing him up — except for one notable person. “I view it as a great feminist tableau, and I know that Camille Paglia does, and I know Roxane Gay does,” he explained. “And I know that Gloria Steinem doesn’t, but I think Gloria Steinem doesn’t watch the show.”
Cohen has a reason for committing so hard to the feminist angle because he thinks it bucks some of the ageism stereotypes when it comes to sexuality. “There’s no show that has given a platform for women over fifty in this way, in terms of expressing their sexuality and who they are and starting over in life and figuring things out,” he shared. “And I think that’s brilliant.” While Cohen has leaned heavily on his love of All My Children as the model for the modern soap opera, aka The Real Housewives franchise, he has profited heavily off some of the misfortunes of the cast members.
He sums it up to the fact that “well, it’s life.” Cohen feels that it’s a cast member’s choice to throw it all out there for fans to scrutinize because he’s not forcing anyone to be public figures. “I reconcile it by the fact that these women want to be on television,” he summed up. “And so no one is being coerced. They signed up for it. And, by the way, they can get out. They can leave.”
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