I just read this on PerezHilton.com, and I have to say that it cracks me up and saddens me a bit. The irony is a bit overwhelming.
A little exposition first, though: Apparently Jon Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus Eight fame has been engaging in a little extramarital fling with a 23-year old. Just recently, her brother/roommate confirmed the affair.
Now, why do I find this amusing? Because I get so sick of hearing about this show. So many girls my age just love it. Why? I really can’t put myself in that mindset, being of the opinion that the show is annoying, awful, and cheesy, but I’ll try to make an educated guess. I think that they wish for the same existence that Kate has. To one day marry a guy they love, who lets them boss him around, and then to pop out eight babies and have a TV crew film their “happiness.” To spend their life being nurturers and committed (albeit insane, naggy) wives.
I think that this news serves as a reminder not only of the reality behind “reality television,” but also of the reality of seemingly perfect marriages. I’m so sick of seeing women portrayed as naggy and mean towards each other and their men in the media, and having a real woman (Kate) embody this so fiercely in her tirades against her husband and her snotty comments really made me despise her. Sure, I’m betting that he had a lot to do with it too (obviously it’s a two-sided thing; having an affair isn’t exactly something that will strengthen a marriage). However, a part of me can’t blame him. Yes, there are always alternatives to adultery (like getting a divorce first, or trying counseling), and I’m not condoning it; I’m just saying that I can see why the guy was miserable.
I’m all for equality between men and women, and I think that both husband and wife should take the reins of their marriage and family. However, equality between husband and wife does not give a woman a free pass to constantly nag and berate her husband. I remember seeing a clip from the show on The Soup, where Kate ripped Jon a new one for forgetting a coupon. Honey, pick your battles. A coupon? Honestly. He just acted passive throughout the entire thing, as if he was absolutely sick and tired of it, and was just accustomed to letting her lectures go in one ear and out the other. A coping mechanism, if you will.
Jon and Kate fit that old sitcom “husband-and-wife” standard, seen on shows like King of Queens, where the wife wears the pants in the family and the husband resorts to ignoring her or getting back at her in petty ways. It’s great to see powerful females on film and television, but honestly I don’t find these women powerful. It takes a powerful woman to share the pants wearing duties with her husband. Taking the reins by yourself is easy; learning to balance everything is a difficult puzzle.
I just hope that this is a lesson to all of my female peers who saw this show as the ideal. Marriage is so much more than we see on TV, even if it is on “reality” television. Most of the time, being married and having kids is no fairy tale. Anyone with divorced parents knows this. The fact that they have eight kids is particularly distressing; what will happen to these children as their parents’ marriage shifts and perhaps falls apart? Love, marriage, and children are nothing to play around with; it’s not “house” that they’re playing, it’s life, and there are emotions in the balance, the livelihood of kids who have no say in the situation. It’s important to remember that things aren’t always exactly as they seem on television, and that it’s advisable not to set certain people or relationships or lifestyles up on a pedestal, because expectations and perceptions fall short.