Does Basketball Wives Perpetuate the Stereotype of Women as Gold Diggers?

Does Basketball Wives portray minority women as materialistic gold diggers? It's often the first dis about the show from critics. And the blogsphere seems more than a little disgusted that Evelyn Lozada would turn a hurtful insult into a bestselling T-shirt just to make a buck.

Then there's the multiple lawsuits where the ex-husbands and basketball players try to legally prohibit these women from profiting off their name and reputation. Finally, there's the fact that some of these women (ahem, Evelyn) go from athlete to athlete. Think it's their above average dexterity or their above average paychecks that's the attraction?

Shaunie O'Neal, former NBA wife and executive producer of the show, recently spoke out defending how Basketball Wives portrays women. 

Honestly, when we watch Basketball Wives, we recognize fully what hot-ass messes all these ladies are. Until we interviewed them, we thought most of the ladies were basketball players' loving, stay-at-home baby mamas.

But Shaunie O'Neal actually feels her show portrays her castmates and perfect little ladies with their own lives and agendas intact. In a piece she wrote for CNN.com ("Negative Portrayals of Black Women on Reality TV') before being a featured as a speaker on a reality television panel at the 2011 Essence Music Festival, she broke down her thoughts on reality TV and on her show in particular.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes and highlights.

This new generation of reality TV seems to be more about the drama and less about the storyline. That concerns me, especially now that I'm producing a reality show.

Wait, she doesn't think her show is based on drama? Are we watching the same show?

I have gotten both good and bad responses from viewers about Basketball Wives, and I certainly understand the opinion that the shows portrayal of black women is beginning to look somewhat negative.

Glad we are on the same page.

The problem for me is when black women are portrayed as only being that way and labeled different than their non-black counterparts for the same type of behavior. That's when it becomes negative and damaging to our image.

Ok, we get that.

"Tiny & Toya' and 'Monica: Still Standing,' [TVOne's] 'LisaRaye: The Real McCoy,' [VH1's] 'What Chili Wants' and [WE tv's] 'The Braxtons,' They all have the same core storyline -- single, exes of high profile men, trying to raise their children and get their lives back on track. I believe that is positive and when handled properly can be very uplifting and empowering for women.

Wait, is she serious? Those are the shows she picks to empower women? Girl needs to turn on OWN.

I do believe that there are some shows attempting to strike a balance and have a positive message despite the drama. I'm personally working with Shed Media and VH1 to make sure that 'Basketball Wives' stands among them.

We get where she is going with this, but honestly, we hope she doesn't. Without Tami Roman's mouth of a sailor and Evelyn Lozada's love to throw drinks onto people, well, we fear we will be bored.

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