No ma’am: Lifetime’s ‘Girlfriend Intervention’ is not ready for primetime

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

I’m all for helping people feel and look their best and live as stylishly as they choose, but Girlfriend Intervention is wrong on many levels. Packaging what can be an empowering process as helping an individual “find her inner black woman” is where this goes left. The show (which debuted on Lifetime last night) is rife with stereotypes that harm both black and white women, and it’s problematic for me that the resident “Soul Coach” was formerly comfortable fighting other women on Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club (I guess she found inner peace. Or something.). What exactly is a “soul coach”? Is that like Soul Seasoning (which YES, you can buy)? You just add a dash of sass or a neck roll and voila: you become a “sista”? Do you get extra credit if you can name all of the songs on Beyonce’s last album and braid hair?

Excuse me, but how exactly does this “teach these women how to embrace and celebrate their lives, speak their mind, lighten up and love themselves again,” as the show’s promo site promises? I think there probably is a better way of phrasing what these ladies are offering guests that doesn’t reduce any of us to caricatures.

Joanie, you in danger, girl.

Joanie, you in danger, girl.

From the Catwalk of Shame where the coaches basically throw shade (Helpful? Or nah…) to the awkward burlesque lessons in the trailer, this is just painful to watch. And I’m also disturbed by the show’s pride at being led by “four black women taught to always have it together and tell you how it is.” Isn’t this why many black women suffer from Superwoman Syndrome? The reality is too many of us are trying to LOOK like we have it all together when we don’t. I’ll be the first to admit that after this week, my “inner black woman” just wants to put on yoga pants, eat a bowl of Blue Bell and go to sleep.

They teach Double Dutch on the show; does not being able to jump in, jump out (without being eaten up by the jump rope) mean my “black card” gets revoked? This somehow reminds me of all the times I was accused of embracing my inner white woman as a child because I used proper English. That was as ridiculous then as this show is now when it has Joanie write a rap.

No thanks.

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