Showing posts with label Real Housewives of NJ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Real Housewives of NJ. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Degrees of Being Italian American.

I had to write tonight based on the whole idea of being Italian American. I ran into a few people this week where we talked about being Italian American and the generational gaps. Every time I talk to a person about being Italian it really becomes an educational lesson for me. Sometimes I suffer from thinking that everyone is or thinks like I do when it comes to being Italian American. Not that I feel any superiority to any one's level of cultural upbringing but I often find myself comparing my life and upbringing to theirs and how we evolve from our close generations to thinking or just recognizing a few traits of your heritage. This is definitely one of the factors that I always speak of and how losing your cultural identity is such an easy thing because really we all socialize into our "American" societal mannerisms and your cultural upbringing becomes secondary or unspoken.

How can in a nation built on immigrants are we so clueless and lost to who we really are..? Yes, we are American, but knowing where, what and how you got here is the key to understanding your cultural identity. So, turn off the TV, forget about the stereotypes and start thinking, researching and educating yourselves on the true history behind your culture. My interactions this week, kind of set me off, after engaging in a water cooler conversation about "The Real Housewives of NJ" and how the fact that there was violence at the finale show was because they all have "Italian tempers." That pissed me off beyond pissed me off. (Oh yeah, that's my Italian temper talking!)

If all that came out of that show were accusations and the fact that Italians have tempers then that is a waste of airtime and a perfect example of how we are manipulated by mass media. I really had to control my conversational responses this week, because I easily could have said a lot that could have sparked some negative vibes, for sure. But I only added what I know to be true, the facts about what being Italian American is all about for me. Again, I don't speak for everyone, this is my opinion but I feel strongly about the whole degree or levels of being Italian American and knowing who you really are and not what a TV show tells you its all about. Anyone care to share your thoughts on this one?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Real Housewives of NJ- Bravo's Top Series Sparks Major Talk About Negative Portrayals of Italian Americans in the Media.

Who watched the Real Housewives of NJ last night? Well apparently a lot of people did, it was one of the highest rated 'Real Housewives' ever! So, what sparked the interest of so many to watch? Hmmmm. I admit, I watched. I watch the series for the other cities too and will admit its a bit of a guilty pleasure. I was concerned about this particular series in NJ, because of course a lot of talk emerged about the individual women and their Italian American backgrounds and immediate stereotype to a Soprano-esque style show. Now, I don't think these ladies live any differently than other affluent women who like to spend, gossip and hangout, as we've seen on the other "Real Housewives" cities. What Italian Americans should be concerned about is the fact that a network is capitalizing on not particularly saying Italian American, but attaching a stigma to New Jersey Italian Americans, of which some of these women happen to be. OK, so what if someone has a shady background and they decide to do a reality show, do you have to promote show as if it were the Sopranos? Of course they do, the stigma sells.

Let's discuss for a second-- the Sopranos was a drama, fictional series. Tony Soprano is not real. OK, now that we have that out of the way, I have to say...putting a negative stereotype or insinuating negative connections sells that network viewers and big bucks in advertising. The cast mates and the viewers are going to be taken for a ride while network execs laugh all the way to the bank on the Italian American's expense. These women from New Jersey are just being themselves, but the work of creative producers/writers, editors and network executives creates the larger negative stereotyping picture that the masses get sucked into. Its a formula.

Again, remember this is my opinion, but its something to think about.