Cohen with women

Women everywhere vs. Andy Cohen

As you know, Andy Cohen is the face and great reviver of the cable station, Bravo. The slogan for Bravo is, “Watch What Happens,” and it’s that same kind of blasé attitude that Cohen takes with the impressions of women he sends to the world. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching Bravo since B.C. (before Cohen), but within the last few years, it seems as though the network has begun putting out increasingly anti-women content through the strategic exploitation of  female vs. female conflict.

Andy Cohen has had his hands in television ever since his first internship at CBS News, after which he produced The Early Show, 48 Hours, and CBS This Morning (“Wikipedia”). Even though Cohen stepped down as head of development at Bravo in 2013, he remains the Executive Producer of The Real Housewives series, and hosts his cheeky, late night talk show, Watch What Happens Live, nightly during the week.

As is true of anything in entertainment, reality, and politics, this issue isn’t so black & white.  Cohen has been a pioneer and positive representative of the LGBT community, but is falling short when it comes to his representation of women. It has been alleged that The Real Housewives franchise is scripted (see here), as are most “reality” TV shows, nowadays. However, that is not where his fault lies in the case of Andy Cohen vs. Women Everywhere.

Following the conclusion of every Real Housewives season is the rating-grossing, smack down of a reunion, which is usually milked into two or three parts, each lasting at least an hour. During these reunion specials, Andy poses questions regarding hot topics and disagreements that erupted throughout the season between housewives. As you can imagine, this “opening of the wound,” so-to-speak, never ends gracefully, with such infamous reactions as Teresa Giudice’s physical removal of Cohen from her path to Danielle Staub during an earlier reunion with The Real Housewives of New Jersey, or more recently, Porsha Williams assaulting Kenya Moore during The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion. These don’t even begin to include the verbal abuse that is the real star of the show!

gif of reality stars fighting

Instead of intervening and ceasing the back-and-forth between ladies as they respond to controversial questions posed by Cohen, he is often seen sitting back and watching the events unfold. As these reunion specials are the most tuned in to episodes of the season, Andy Cohen essentially bystanders his way to the bank.

What does this mean for women? Stereotype, embarrassment, and bad role-modeling are a few that come to mind. While it is good for business, this probing of conflict by Cohen fuels argument and violence between women, which perpetuates stigma that women are “catty” and “dramatic.”

That being said, Andy Cohen isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so though it may be a major feat to tear our eyes away from the screen as we, “Watch What Happens,” it is imperative to the female cause that we recognize this franchise and this producer for what they represent, and how they devalue the intelligence and  image of women everywhere.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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