Groundbreaking? Reality Show ‘The Week The Women Went’ Watches Men Cope On Their Own
3:00 pm, August 14th | by Amy Tennery
At first glance, Lifetime’s newest reality series, “The Week The Women Went,” appears somewhat intriguing. The series, which premieres tonight, shows what happens when all 100+ women from a single small town leave for a week. The series asks: What will become of the men? How will households adapt?
Upon further inspection, however, this show (which Lifetime has dubiously hyped as “the greatest social experiment”) appears to exploit age-old stereotypes in the service of wacky, stock reality show pratfalls over legitimate social exploration. It’s a bummer.
Consider the newest trailer for “The Week”:
It’s a leap to judge a show from a 30-second preview. And yet one can’t help but feel the foreboding when someone in the trailer actually says “Women: You can’t live with them; you can’t live without them.” Cute. Red-hot comedy, right there.
The show (at least according to its about page) claims to examine “what impact… today’s shift in gender roles in having on the world.” But its insistence that women must be entirely removed from the equation to accomplish this is troubling. Worse yet, the preview scenes Lifetime provided show flashes of horrified men, utterly (or seemingly) incapable of handling childcare responsibilities. “I want my mommy!” wails a miserable child. “I want your mommy, too!” a clearly flummoxed father shouts back. With women out of the house, the family falls apart. This doomsday-esque implication should be as insulting to men as it is to women.
Again, it’s entirely possible that “The Week” could turn around and subvert the icky message it hocks in this trailer. The review from the New York Times, however, doesn’t fill me with confidence:
That the separation of the sexes would be reduced to a woman’s fantasy or a man’s nightmare is perhaps the most unfortunate conceit here… “The Week the Women Went,” though, appears to be on the path toward reinforcing the values it’s ostensibly challenging — not much of an experiment at all.
The fact that “men take on child and domestic care” is the underlying premise behind a reality show should be red flag enough. With the diversity of families that abound (single moms, dads and same-sex parents, to name a few), are we still supposed to be gobsmacked to see a dad act like… a parent? Apparently.