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Why ‘Basketball Wives’ Makes Us Sad For Women Everywhere

This week, I watched VH1’s top-rated reality series “Basketball Wives” and wanted to punch my TV and then myself for falling victim. Despite the title, the show features only one wife, Jennifer Williams, who’s married to retired baller Eric Williams. The rest of the cast includes one fiancèe, Gloria, engaged to Orlando Magic’s Matt Barnes, two ex-fiancèes, Evelyn and Suzie, a dancer Royce and Shaunie O’Neal, ex-wife of Shaquille O’Neal.

This the show’s first mistake.

Don’t promote a show about married women when only one has a ring and I desperately wish desperately she didn’t — for her sake. We’ll get to her husband and his overbite in a minute but, honestly, the show just frustrated me. Watching these women spout maturity while fighting over who’s “fake” and throwing drinks at one another was infuriating, because what does “Basketball Wives” say about minority women and our idea of making it.

A career is not everyone’s idea of success, that’s fine. My beef is with women who claim not to seek a lifestyle with certain financial benchmarks, but endure unimaginable hoops proving otherwise.

“You’re not even a wife,” says an actual wife of a basketballer to Evelyn who’s accused her of online stalking.

Evelyn just ended her relationship with Antoine Walker, but stayed for ten years without a wedding. If you’ve discussed sidestepping marriage for political or religious reasons, fine, but barring that, why stay with an unfaithful man that isn’t marriage material if matrimony is your goal? Suzie, formerly with Michael Olowokandi for ten years, mirrors Evelyn’s predicament and compliments Jennifer’s, whose unfaithful husband doesn’t want her around his “clients” nor as the mother to his children. “Love & Basketball” anyone? Remember how he always had “meeting with clients” even though he was retired? Ain’t that many endorsements in the world.

Then there’s Royce, the free spirit and mother of Dwight Howard’s son. She isn’t pretending to be anything other than herself, whether popping at Ludacris’ pool party or dancing on a pole, at least she’s honest. Jennifer owns Flirty Girl Fitness — a gym who’s mantra is ‘dance like a stripper to lose weight!’ — but she’s appalled by Royce’s behavior?

Jennifer is the most frustrating because she spends the show arguing with women who’ve probably slept with her husband and quipping, ‘Well, I have the ring.’ My grandfather says ‘If more than one person tells you the same thing and they don’t know each other, maybe you should listen’ and Mrs. Williams is a prime candidate. Eric, himself, called cheating ‘a man thing. I’m on the road and you’re not there … I was just trying to satisfy a need.’

What?

I seriously think Jennifer is terrified of a life without her husband’s status and that makes me sad because no woman should ever allow herself to be defined by a man.

Ultimately, if I was a little minority girl, between “Basketball Wives,” “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and Ocho Cinco’s upcoming dating show, I’d think that I should use my sexuality to get ahead in life. Why strive for a career when I can wait out a relationship with an athlete or an artist? He might mistreat me but at least I can get a new pair of Louboutin’s.

ps. who’s the chick third from the left?

Last 5 posts by Hillary aka Steely D