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Tell the Truth, Kelly Ripa!

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Jennifer Ginsberg: I just watched an episode of "True Hollywood Story" that featured Kelly Ripa. After spending an hour listening to her friends and colleagues rave about her ambition, talent, and ability to balance 16-hour workdays with being a mom to three young children, my greatest question was not answered.

Kelly Ripa and Family

How much help do you really have, Ms. Ripa? How many nannies, night-nurses, doulas, chefs, assistants, dog walkers, stylists, and spiritual gurus does it take for you to get through a single, effing day? Because after watching the program last night, I was led to believe that you get up at 4 AM, spend the next 8 hours taping "Live," then hop in a car to get across town to tape your Sitcom/Soap Opera Du Jour, all while balancing three children in your two arms without any help.

The myth that you can somehow balance your extraordinarily hectic life with being a mom without batting an eye only makes all us other moms feel inadequate. You pride yourself on being able to connect to "regular folk," and you are marketed as a Jersey girl from a blue-collar family with old-fashioned values and a solid work ethic. How about getting honest with all of your fans and telling us the truth about what it really takes to make your life work? The idea that you are able to "do it all," while looking impossibly perfect and thin, only distances you from the women you are attempting to connect with.

So spill it, Kelly. Tell us the ugly truth. I want to know what it feels like to not see your children for days on end. How you cope with the guilt of not being able to tuck them in at night. How hard it is on your marriage. How scared and conflicted you are about the choices you made. I think you are brave enough to drop the "perfect woman" act and let your fans catch a glimpse of the real you.

Or perhaps, Ms. Ripa shouldn't fess up to her fans. Maybe we need her image of perfection to inspire us to be our most vivacious, ambitious, and skinniest selves. If Kelly would occasionally act grumpy and look like a schlep, we would have to acknowledge her for the mere mortal she really is. Our culture seems to need a Super Woman Archetype in order to give us something to aspire toward. Is Kelly Ripa our measuring stick -- our means of assessing our progress -- as we strive toward achieving feminine utopia? She is so accomplished, so upbeat, so beautiful, so thin. And a loving wife and devoted mom to boot! Maybe, just maybe, if we were more disciplined, focused, and positive, then we could be one fraction of what the flawless Kelly Ripa is so effortlessly.

But whenever I look at Kelly, I think "the brighter the light the darker the shadow," a concept developed by Jung in his work as a psychologist. As young children, we are taught what parts of ourselves are safe to express to the outside world, and what parts of ourselves we need to hide. As women and moms, we believe we need to hide our fears, insecurities, ambivalence, and struggles. We are terrified that we may come across as ungrateful for our children or selfish if we dare express an authentic emotion.

The brighter the light, the darker the shadow. The more I need to present a persona of perfection and control to the world, the more anxious and conflicted I become. The more I need to show you what a great mom I am, how "OK" I am, how unaffected I am by fear, insecurity, and sadness, the more likely that these very emotions will isolate and overwhelm me.

What does all this have to do with Kelly Ripa? I am concerned about her maniacally running around all day, from activity to activity, without taking a break to adequately rest and feed her body. But I am more concerned that this is the female that we have chosen to deify. A woman who is deeply invested in looking perfect to the outside world, no matter what the cost. A woman who so clearly subjugates her own basic needs so she can always appear in control.

Perhaps it is time for us to find some new female role models who truly balance caring for their own needs while caring for their children. Women who look like real women, not misogynistic caricatures of what a woman should look like.

As Jung said, "I would rather be whole than good."

43 comments so far | Post a comment now
Alyssa May 11, 2009, 11:24 AM

Pam, the point is that the persona displayed by the ads is that she is super mom. A company is trying to make money off of that image, and she is going along with it. Not all of us have time to watch “Live” in order to see the “real” Kelly. She is a very public figure who is perpetuating a dangerous stereotype. A dangerous IDEA. And there are women out there who are public personas but are also REAL. THAT is the point of the post. NOT gossip.

John May 11, 2009, 5:02 PM

First, I would like to know how one of the previous posters knows that Kelly has a nanny for each of her children. And even if thats true, I ask again: what difference does that make to you or anyone else. Its none of your business. People send too much time worrying about stuff they have no control over. Sure, Kelly is more fortunate than most because she has a high paying job that affords her many luxuries that most of us will never have, but that doesn’t mean she should be vilified for it. She takes advantage of the perks that her career and income provide her, as she should, and as everyone else should. If you earn it, you should be able to enjoy it without criticism from people who want to being you down because they are jealous.

Pam May 11, 2009, 11:22 PM

Alyssa said, “…the point is that the persona displayed by the ads is that she is super mom…”

No Alyssa, the “point” of the the post has absolutely nothing to do with Kelly Ripa television ads. The article was a simple cow session and lost any credibility with “effing”. Real classy. Go back, read the article and do your homework. The article does not talk about television advertising, so your point is - moot. The article is about one woman’s “effing” response to an E! Hollywood story.

If you are referring to the Electrolux commercials, then your issue is with the company not Kelly. Obviously not everyone that watches the ads have a sense of humor. They are actually tongue in cheek. I suggest the best solution is to change the channel the next time they come on.

Pam May 11, 2009, 11:28 PM

Alyssa said, “…the point is that the persona displayed by the ads is that she is super mom…”

No Alyssa, the “point” of the post had absolutely nothing to do with Kelly Ripa television ads. The article was a simple cow session and lost any credibility with “effing”. Real classy. Go back, read the article and do your homework. The article does not talk about television advertising, so your point is - moot. The article is about one woman’s “effing” response to a True Hollywood story.

If you are referring to the Electrolux commercials, then your issue is with the company not Kelly. Obviously not everyone that watches the ads has a sense of humor. I’d say the ads are actually tongue in cheek. I suggest the best solution is to change the channel the next time they come on.

Pam May 11, 2009, 11:31 PM

My edit didn’t take. “True” Hollywood Story rather than “E!”

Sarah May 11, 2009, 11:44 PM

Pam, why can’t you just let people have their opinion?? Apparently all YOU care about is attacking people who are merely voicing their opinions. Kelly IS a fake, plain and simple.

Anonymous May 12, 2009, 12:16 AM

Oh Sarah. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, as long as it is truthful. I did not attack anyone. People with your line of thinking get frustrated by people like me because I point out flawed logic, so you default in your frustration through your own attack by calling Kelly fake. Classic.

Pam May 12, 2009, 12:21 AM

That anonymous comment was posted by me, Pam. Sarah, I also wanted to add that calling a spade a spade is not attacking someone. If I call you a gossip because you said Kelly is “fake, plain and simple”, I am not attacking you, I am merely stating a fact.

Sarah May 12, 2009, 8:43 AM

Since when are you the ambassador on what’s truthful or not?? State your opinion woman and be done. Stop attacking posters for THEIR personal opinions. If you are a Kelly Jolly Rider good for you, but you are very obviously in the minority! Kelly Ripa is not a very well liked person, not because she has money, fame and fortune but because she is a PHONY!! Which let me remind you is what this article is ALL about!! No need to continue discussing this PAM unless you want to continue gossiping??

John May 12, 2009, 12:49 PM


Do you know Kelly Ripa personally? How do you know she is a phony? To call her a phony would mean you know FOR A FACT that she is different in her personal/off-camera life than she is in her on-screen life.

Anonymous May 12, 2009, 3:29 PM

Geez folks!!!! You are all a bunch of negative Nancy’s! Sounds like jealousy to me. You’re probably fat with unhappy marriages and you know what they say, misery loves company so you see someone happy and insist that there must be a deeper issue that we are not aware of? What’s that about? I think Kelly Ripa is wonderful. She strives to be the best she can be and that’s exactly what all of us should do. Good luck to all of you, you will be in my prayers!

Pam May 12, 2009, 4:21 PM

Sarah, like Alyssa your argument is flawed. Kelly Ripa doesn’t need me to defend her; she has probably developed a pretty thick skin over the years, but that would be an assumption on my part. I find this trashy article an opportunity to address the mean and hateful mentality that seems to have pervaded people’s lives. Perhaps the article might have been more useful if it had dealt with expectations placed on women in general, but it simply was a pick on Kelly Ripa session. The problem with your argument is that you spew comments as if they were facts: in the minority, not well liked, PHONY. Really? How do you know this? Did you take a poll? Do you have the facts to back up your comments? Plus you assert that I am “gossiping”. Once again your entire line of thinking just landed with a big thud. Any comments I have posted have addressed all or singled out commenters specifically. Gossip is when you natter about someone, for whatever reason (with the intent to harm) behind their back, none of which you will find in my comments. Your comments and line of thinking exhibited by yourself, the article and other posters say more about yourselves that anything I could point out. The next time you look in the mirror think to yourself: do I really want to spend my life being nasty about other people? Does it build you up as a person by tearing others down? We’re ALL flawed – including myself – and could use some introspection once in awhile. Personally I find Kelly and Regis fun to watch. They make me laugh. But my sun does not rise and set on them personally.

Mark May 27, 2009, 10:33 AM
Pam May 28, 2009, 6:36 AM

Hey Mark…if that’s your name…did that make you feel better, thinking that she might look unattractive? Pretty blue eyes, clear skin, and working out hard. Your life must be very full.

Heather May 31, 2009, 12:48 PM

The sardonic tone of this essay is thought-provoking and entertaining, not to be taken literally. The writer is not wishing anything bad on Kelly Ripa. She’s making the point that Kelly takes the idea of female perfection to the hilt—not only in terms of looks, but behavior—and presents to the world an unreal image of what it is to be a mother. She may be a good Mom, but no doubt she has tons of help and support most women do not, and even so, she and her children are no doubt losing out on something in exchange for great fame and its benefits. In all areas, life involves trade offs—something gets chosen, something else sacrificed. Kelly’s perfect (or near-perfect) image is a kind of lie, which perhaps is ok because she’s offering shallow entertainment. But this essay shines a light on a profound truth. Thank you, Jennifer.

mommy2 July 28, 2009, 11:00 PM

Why is this even an issue? Who cares?

Amy August 10, 2009, 10:56 PM

Wow and I thought I was the only one who was clued into how phony Kelly Ripa really is (she seems to fool alot of people). Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to Kelly Ripa..she really is irrelevant. However, recently she made Vanity Fair’s best dressed list and I read somewhere she could not stop looking at herself when one of her co-hosts showed her the article. I then came to the conclusion that this can’t possibly be a compliment for a mom of 3 kids. It basically says I care more about looking good for the cameras than I do being a good mom. Angelina Jolie was recently dropped from the list..and something tells me she’s PROUD to be OFF the list. She has more important things that matter..her KIDS. Angelia is the kind of role model, we as women, truly admire. A humanitarian, an international children’s advocate, but most importantly a caring, selfless mother. This is the kind of role model we as women look up to and respect.

oh btw, Kelly Ripa claims she does not know how to use the internet or send an email…now really…how many of us actually believe that?-more like she’s TOO good for the internet. Now let’s say it all together TELL THE TRUTH KELLY RIPA!!

Gloria  August 11, 2009, 8:46 AM

Hum, I have felt that way about looking at this pencil thin woman and often wondered some of the very things you are speaking about. Let me give some of my observations, if she is grounded and I would think you have to be pretty grounded to work with Regis Phibin, and the like. I am sure that every little things is seen to, such as morning brunch, make-up, dress, hair, and what ever other areas that make these morning t.v. hosts look great. That is par and part of their ability to dish on a what ever subject is thrown at them, be entertainment,political, home advice, pleasantries, fund-raisers, on any given day these performers must entertain. Whether they feel good, whether they are up for it, what ever the situation it is never warranted with out particular advance notice that the star is not going to on. There are constant pressures, but some people are just good at that sort of thing. Do I advocate for all, no I do not. I do think you are prouably right, there are nannies, and other nurturing people to do a lot of her mommie stuff. If she is capable of keeping her kids close to home and the studio, then it might help. But I don’t know about the other little innuendos, the mommie I want to go shopping with YOU, epidodes. There are a lot of imperfect things in the world given, Kelly Ripa does indeed seem to be the person who can do it all, then I tip my hat to her. Half of all the things are set up by television studio, she does the rest by appearing calm, cool and collective. She is the mom of 3 young children and if she is gruonded and has good family values, then she is living proof that it could be done.

doreen April 13, 2010, 5:34 PM

great rant. i watch this show a lot and always think to myself “she has my life”. How can she be so perfect? She claims she washes her own clothes. When does she have time? I want to believe she has no help but, I know what my day is like trying to get everything done before the kids get home. How does she do it? Does she dust, clean the bathrooms, cook every night? Laundry? There is not one day that goes by that I haven’t done at minimum two loads of laundry. Plus shopping. This all leads me to believe she has to have help and doesn’t admit to it.

No COmment August 18, 2010, 11:01 AM

Wow…You are a bunch of angry women. I don’t live far from Kelly and Mark in the Hamptons and they are etremely hands on as parents. They spend more time with their children than the average American family. Just because a woman takes the time to care about her career and her looks does not mean she is giving her family their fair share of her attention and love. If she can afford to have people help her than good for her. She didn’t steal your money or harm you in any way to do it.

You biddies need to get a grip and stop hating on people.

I accidetally came across your site while Googling something. I will never be back. There is bad energy here.

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