There’s a lot of shame to go around the set of Real Housewives Of New York. There’s slut shaming for Sonja Morgan. There’s mommy and slut shaming for Bethenny Frankel. And now there’s the opposite of mommy shaming for Carole Radziwill. Bethenny’s BFF is getting hit with childfree shaming. I noticed the insulting trend earlier in season 9, and it reared its ugly head once again last night with the latest episode, "A Bronx Tale."
As I noticed last week, RHONY newbie Tinsley Mortimer isn’t exactly doing well. All of this becomes even more evident during the ladies’ trip to Vermont, as dinner takes a very dramatic, tear-stained turn. After months of denial, Tinsley knocks back a few glasses of pinot noir and admits she would like to get married again, ASAP. Everyone is debating the best way for the socialite to find the man of her dreams when Tinsley cracks apart. "At the end of the day, I’m forty-fucking-one, I do not have children like all of you," she rants. Somehow, this emotional complaint turns into an attack against 53-year-old Carole. "You didn’t want one, whatever," she declares between tears, pointing directly at Carole. The moment doesn’t come off as a clarification, like Carole is being called out for going childfree. That’s evidenced by the former journalist’s shocked face and her body literally rearing back in surprise.
Tinsley tries to pretend she didn’t just take a verbal swipe at Carole and her choice to avoid motherhood, but it doesn’t exactly land. "I’m just saying you didn’t want one! I’m just saying, like, stop!" Tinsley screams at her co-star, confusingly making Carole the bad guy, before turning back into a pool of tears. Although it’s hard to watch Tinsley call out her friend for not having kids, at least we can understand why. It’s obvious Tinsley is desperate to become a mom and sadly thinks she’s losing her chance every single day she gets older. Unlike Carole, who’s happy in her modern-with-a-capital-M relationship with a much younger man, Tinsley isn’t comfortable being childfree.
While I can at least see why Tinsley wrongly tried to shame Carole’s life choices, Ramona’s childfree shaming is much weirder and unexplainable, like many of her antics this season. During the "New Low" conversation that broke Bethenny and Ramona’s frenemyship for good, when Ramona attempted to use the Skinnygirl mogul’s 6-year-old daughter to shame her, Carole stood up for her best friend. She calmly asked if Ramona really couldn’t see why Bethenny may be ignoring her in that moment. The pinot grigio fan shot back, "You don’t have a daughter, so you don’t understand." Ramona point black "insulted" Carole, as the Kennedy family widow put it, because she’s never had a child. And, of course, Ramona made it worse, adding, "You can’t relate." Carole rightly pointed out anyone, regardless of their parenting status, can understand empathy. Still, Ramona stares at Carole with blank eyes and shakes her head no, signaling she doesn’t actually agree with that statement. Yes, really, Ramona believes only fellow moms can understand why she would attack Bethenny in such a public manner and pull her daughter into the drama.
Unfortunately for Ramona, no one can actually understand such behavior. But, let's hope the women of New York figure out that childfree shaming is just as bad as mommy shaming.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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