How crazy are women on reality television?

Stars from "The Hills" and "Real Housewives of NYC" get a quick diagnosis from the DSM-IV.

Published June 5, 2008 3:55PM (EDT)

I have a theory about "The Bachelor." My theory is that, in any given season, the "bachelor" himself could be a turd -- I mean a literal turd, a coil of poop in the middle of a Beverly Hills mansion -- and the women on that show would still claw each other's eyes out to get that goddamn final rose. Why didn't the piece of poop pick me this week? I thought the piece of poop and I had a future together!

"Wow," said a (male) friend when I told him this theory. "Is all reality television just misogynist?"

Well, no. I don't think "Project Runway" is misogynist. I don't think "American Idol" is misogynist (just boring). However, there is a strain of trash reality television -- a stripe of shows with which I am painfully familiar -- that thrives on the notion that women are, well, batshit crazy. "Rock of Love," "Real Housewives of NYC," "The Bad Girls Club." I'm not proud, but I'll admit I watch them.

This week, New York magazine asks the question many of us viewers have wondered: Are these women certifiable?

"Never in the history of television have we seen so many crazy women," the article explains, going on to consult a psychiatrist and comparing the women's behavior with the DSM-IV definition of "borderline personality." It's pretty unscientific, but crazy or not, we can suggest one quality that might describe them all -- "bad judgment."

By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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