A Lifetime of Social Challenges

Dear Lifetime Network,

I have the sincere intent to have children someday and there is a coin-flip chance that this child will be female, and as an Internet search inquiry tells me, Lifetime Network is the most popular network for women. From this, I examined your webpage and my discovery thereof has put me in an ethical dilemma about my intent to have children.

Your homepage advertises the following television programs: Drop Dead Diva, The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom, Devious Maids, and Little Women: LA. Since the Internet proclaims that you are the most popular network for women, then it would be fair to reason that your network is attempting to tell my future daughter when she grows-up she can be: a diva, a shamefully sexually charged object of male fantasies, (and if she is Hispanic) a shamefully sexually charged object of male fantasies that is of a subservient and inferior race and class, or a strong provocative women who affirms her femininity by turning men into a sexual object (explicitly and ironically titled after the first-wave feminist novel Little Women). I personally perceive your network as using socially accepted notions of sexism, paternalism, classism and racism as a means towards satisfying an unbridled need for profit and this cowardice and perverse attempt at pro-women television programming is overtly unethical.

I am well aware of the social schema that sex sells and that if your network does not submit to this script then you will lose market share. However, passively or actively reinforcing this social norm does not require that you also explicitly promote the aforementioned ism’s of social inequality. I imagine, if I researched further, that I would find that you have some decent and acceptable programming available but, even if that is so, you have made your priorities perfectly clear.

My intent is not to just wave my finger from a moral soap-box, as that does not accomplish anything. It would be prudent for Lifetime to reexamine their mission and programming and maybe you will find that it’s possible to genuinely champion equality, while congruently pursuing profit. I hope you understand this letter and my criticism are rooted in good and optimistic intentions and I hope it can bridge us to a brighter future. And as the original Little Women book teaches us: virtue precedes wealth.

 

Sincerely,

Patrick

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