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Monday, July 12, 2004

Disney Family Values. Have you seen the promos for the ABC show "Wife Swap"? From the casting call:
Wife Swap is an exciting new series that invites you behind the walls of America's homes and lets you experience how families run their lives.
Each episode involves two families and a fun twist: the Moms of each household swap places for ten days!
If you are a family unit (two parents and children) who love an adventure, call now to be a part of this ground-breaking show: 212-905-6059 or email: Make sure to include your contact phone numbers!
Sounds like fun, no? This is the type of stoopid programming that sends me into fits while sitting at the computer, vaguely paying attention to what's on television, causing me to jibber-jabber to my legal counsel who humors me with a "Sure, whatever you say" (paraphrasing, of course, but I go off on rants so often, she can't possibly take them all seriously).
So here is why this show (starting in the fall) is incredibly stoopid:
1) It just is.
2) Because I said so.
3) The show will further perpetuate the concept of wife as property, one of the greater cultural impediments to gender equality. You swap baseball cards. You swap recipes. But unless you're a swinger, you don't swap wives. Disney would like to change your thinking on this one.
4) Another stereotype that this show will further is that of woman as caretaker, existing only in the domestic sphere. My guess is that the women participating in the show probably aren't professionals, but rather are full-time homemakers. And I'm not dissing being a homemaker at all, I'm just sayin....
5) Who's making a mockery of marriage? One of the standard arguments for discriminating against gay marriage is that it would violate the "sanctity" of marriage. But who do we have to thank for all these stupid "reality" shows such as "Who wants to marry a millionaire," "Who wants to marry my dad," "The bachelor/bachelorette," "The ultimate love test," "For love or money," "Joe Millionaire," "The littlest groom"? Heteros, that's who. I can't say for sure, but if given equal rights to marry, the gay community might spare us from more of these ridiculous shows (TV execs might not). And can you imagine the conservative reaction to a swapping show with gay couples? I can.
6) Why only have wife-swapping? Hell, Fox has a show coming out ("Trading Families", I think) where men also do the swapping. So why did Disney just limit it to wives? Because they hate America, that's why.
7) Whatever stupid message they try and wedge into the banality of it all, probably something about appreciating what you've got, isn't justified given the stupidity of it all.
So there you have it. It's amazing what you can glean from only a 30-second promo for a show that hasn't even aired yet.

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