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Salt n Pepa, the “Virgin vs. Whore” Show

October 30, 2007

I caught a bit of the Salt n Pepa Show last night (shut up, I haven’t had cable in over a decade), and was struck by the way the show is largely framed by the old dichotomy for women, virgin vs. whore. Salt has had some sort of religious conversion, and is very proper, living in her clean suburban-looking home, hosting prayer groups, and wanting to make sure everyone behaves. She refuses to sing some of the most popular SnP songs from back in the day because of the sexually explicit lyrics. Pepa, on the other hand, is single and living it up. She drinks, she gambles, she’s loud and brash, she has to be constrained from doing sexy moves when they perform. Pepa is portrayed as wanting the duo to reunite because she wants the money, while it’s clear that the good girl, Salt, doesn’t need it and is not motivated by the money.

Last night’s episode featured Pepa staying at Salt’s place, which caused conflict when Pepa stayed up all night being rowdy, playing cards with the menfolk and gambling and drinking. Salt repeatedly asks them to be quiet, and yet her husband continues to participate in the festivities and basically tricks her into thinking he’s going to wrap it up and come to bed. What really happens? Mr. Salt gets the game going again and eggs on the rowdiness despite his wife’s wishes.

The seeming lesson? The menfolk are nearly wild animals who will be tempted by the presence of loose women into lying to their wives, drinking, and getting into all kinds of trouble. This big fun is what they’d really rather be doing anyway, and a good wife must be constantly vigilant if she wants her man to behave.

Is this dichotomy really all there is going on between two women who once made their career together? Somehow I doubt it, but I suppose the “reality” tv folks think it makes good television because it plays on stereotypical fears and notions of women as simply one thing or the other.

Okay, I might have caught more than one episode. Shut up.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2007 10:14 am

    What I want to know is, where is Spinderella? Maybe she’ll make a surprise appearance in the end.

  2. October 30, 2007 11:03 am

    Spinderella on MySpace! 🙂

  3. October 30, 2007 11:28 am

    omg, I caught this show on Saturday and it completely sucked me in! I didn’t follow Salt n Pepa back in the day…the only reason they have ever been on my radar is because they were on a plane I was on flying back from Helsinki years ago. (woo-hoo! lol)

    But yeah, to me, I think it makes both of them look pretty bad. It makes Salt look like a goody two shoes and makes Pepa look like she’s trash. If I were them, I’d have a problem with the way they are being presented, but I guess if you need the money bad enough…

  4. October 30, 2007 2:04 pm

    I’d rather be up all night drinking, smoking and playing cards. Oh yes.

  5. Oxonia permalink
    November 13, 2007 2:54 pm

    I absolutely love the show. I think the author of this article is funny by saying loose women are the reason why men “get into trouble”. Maybe I am misunderstanding. I don’t know. Salt & Pepa are now grown women. It was over 20 years ago that these ladies started. They were both complete opposites then and still are. The only difference is now Salt is more in control of her life and pleases herself and her family as oppose to record execs and the music industry and has no problem hiding it. Pepa was the one that introduced Salt to her husband. So I am quite sure play dominos and cards was nothing new to him. I just think the husband wanted to let loose a little.

  6. November 13, 2007 3:34 pm

    Oxonia, thanks for your comment. I’m not saying loose women are the reason why men get into trouble – I’m saying that the show, while entertaining, tends to boil down what is probably a complex relationship among adults into some tired stereotypes, a good girl vs. bad girl thing.

  7. November 16, 2007 2:50 pm

    I think the good girl, bad girl thing is interesting. But, you’re right. Surely it’s more complex? I hope. Well, when I was younger I was more bad girl – but when you get a husband and kids the good girl has reason to be more present.

  8. da boss permalink
    February 12, 2008 10:32 pm

    Spinderella was in the first season episode on the tyra show,plus she has a 15 year old daughter and just her and her daughter. But she wasnt really invited to be in the show full time she only comes on often plus she lives in LA and salt and pep live in NY. Thats why she feels betrayed but she will appear in new episodes.

  9. da boss permalink
    February 16, 2008 11:01 pm

    Good article, i agree with some of the comments about salt and pepa… and yeah i think that spinderella will appear in the new episodes i dont think she should feel betrayed because she’s living in LA plus salt and pepa always treated wrong.. so she should just in enjoy her $7200 a month and her show on the side!

  10. sam permalink
    December 31, 2008 6:10 pm

    cooooooooooooooool

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