I have yet another reality TV confession for you -- out of all the Real Housewives of New York City, I think I like Alex McCord the best. The vaguely superior-acting social climbery one with the crazy clingy husband (in the red pants in that picture)? With the nude photos? [NSFW] Yeah, her! I know, I can't believe it myself! But you know, I think I like her brand of Real Housewives feminism the best.
I sort of think of the Real Housewives franchise as an exploration of the various ways certain types of women exercise power in modern-day America -- or, in other words, feminism. Whether it's Gretchen the gold digger from Orange County, or OC Tamra the overbearing mother, or NYC Bethenny the dieting media mogul, every woman on the show has a distinctly gender-based strategy to get what she wants.
Plus, just watching the women with each other is a study in the wide range of stereotypically female interactions: you've got coffee klatsches, frenemy undermining, best girlfriend supportiveness, yenta-style mentoring, frantic man-seeking, social climbing, and all-out catfights, just to name a few -- what works and what doesn't? How can a modern woman find happiness? It's an interesting feminist question (and you know I love a soap!).
So yes, back to Alex. Yes, she's a little delusional (I didn't get the high fashion feedbag dress this season either, or the constant invocation of "St. Baaaaaaaaaarts") -- but hey, here's a full-time working mother of two in a two-income family, who met her husband online for sex, ended up falling in love and getting married, and kept her name and her job (until getting laid off). She seems proud of her sexuality, proud of her family, and genuinely happy with her inflatable pool in the backyard of her fixer-upper Brooklyn brownstone. She's a good listener, never backstabs anyone, never judges anyone else's decisions, and does all the things a good friend should. I can get behind those lifestyle choices, even if I wouldn't necessarily have made them all for myself.
It's kind of nice to have someone on the RHONY reunion show that I can think, well, I can at least understand her decisions, as Luann complains about needing to keep her Countess title in her Elizabeth Edwards style confessional of her billionaire husband's affair, or they ask Bethenny about dating A-Rod, or Jill and Ramona start shrieking at each other over for absolutely no reason. Those lifestyles I do not understand at all.