Maybe it was inevitable: A reality TV show featuring the ex-mistresses of celebrities:
The mind behind the concept is professional mistress and "Infidelity Analyst" Sarah Symonds, who recently went public with her relationships with the married Gordon Ramsay and British pol Lord Archer, and is the author of Having An Affair: A Handbook For The Other Woman. She also runs an online support group for mistresses. The idea behind the show, for which she's hoping to recruit Tiger Woods flame and noted grump Jamie Jungers, is, she told Radar, "to get woman out of these dead end relationships because I never hear from women who are having a good time. Society never blames the man."
Okay, well, if that's the premise, it's not quite as bad as it could be: more Starting Over House than Bad Girls Club. (Or maybe something in-between, a sort of distaff Tool Academy. ) Any way you slice it, it's not going to be in good taste - and ironically, it serves to put more onus on a woman who's choosing to tie her identity to the concept of being a "mistress" than we'd otherwise do. And the same defiant ambivalence that characterizes all Symond's efforts seems to color this, too: at the end of the day, she's still defining herself in relationship to a married man - and refusing to take on any accountability.
But what sets off even more alarm bells is that, even though the show purports to overturn stereotypes and force men to take their share of blame, she's clearly perpetuating the age-old mistress-wife rivalry that's always been one of the worst things about the dynamic. Says she,
We obviously feel sorry for Tiger's wife but we don't know what their marriage was like. I think it's gross that he had so many women — to have one each day he could use. Then again we don't know what the basis of their marriage really was. We also don't know what type of wife she was, maybe she was a brilliant wife that didn't deserve any of this or maybe she spent all her time with the kids and never gave Tiger the attention he needed. The girls were all the opposite of his wife. They were all sort of younger party, buxom girls and his wife was a ex-model, very classy, so it's very interesting.
Right: a cold ice queen who "deserved" it, constitutionally philandering men, "buxom party girls" who need to turn their lives around - doesn't look like anyone's likely to benefit from this rehash of destructive stereotype glorification. Save, perhaps, Symonds herself.