Rant: If You Want Privacy, Don't Star In A Reality Show

I reported earlier on TLC giving Jennifer Lopez and Kelly Ripa their own reality shows. In the article, I mentioned how I was disappointed that The Learning Channel is now doing celebrity-based programming. While that does bother me, it’s not my main beef with this news. It’s the proliferation of celebrities who whine about the paparazzi and their lack of privacy while simultaneously inviting cameras into their lives. To be fair, I’ve never heard Ripa boo-hoo about photogs camped outside of her doorstep, so more power to her. Lopez on the other hand, is one of the worst perpetrators of the “Go away, now come back!” style of celebrity.

Jennifer Lopez, like most celebrities, is a liar. Remember when she was pregnant, but refused to confirm the glaringly obvious fact? It’s one thing to try to keep it under wraps during the first trimester, when the pregnancy is still fragile. But when you’re six or seven months pregnant and still playing coy? You’re just insulting our intelligence. Of course, her reasoning, just like that of every celebrity, was basically, “blah, blah, privacy. Blah, blah, prying eyes.” Give me a break. You know what people who are worried about privacy don’t do? They don’t invite reality TV cameras into their home to film them and their teeny, tiny babies. They draw the curtains, put the kids to bed, and read a damn book.

Celebrities don’t stay in the spotlight by accident; they stay there by design. Lopez is a smart woman and she’s been in this business long enough to know how it works. If she comes out at 3 ½ or 4 months and says, “hey guys, I’m pregnant. Pretty cool, huh?” then she’ll get a few headlines, and then aside from the occasional, “look at J.Lo’s cute maternity wear!” story, that will be that until the babies are born. However, if she denies, denies, denies, you have months of “is she or isn’t she?” and “why won’t she admit that she’s pregnant?” stories that will carry through until the pregnancy is nearly finished.

Then, you have the story of the birth itself, which is preceded by a few weeks of planting false stories about how you’ve already gone into labor. So, you have the big, “J.Lo gives birth!” headline splashed on every blog, newspaper and magazine in the country. But it doesn’t end there. You still have the names.

Do you ever wonder why it takes a few days for celebrities to release the names of their babies? It’s not because they haven’t decided on one, and it’s not because they want to keep it private, no matter what they say. It’s headlines, pure and simple. Why give everything up at once when you can stretch it out and get a second round of stories written about your babies’ names? Then, of course, there’s the jockeying for the exclusive first pics. The cycle goes on and on for as long as they can make it last.

Now Lopez is continuing the cycle with her docu-drama on TLC. Don’t be confused. Just because this is on The Learning Channel, doesn’t mean there will be any sort of learning involved. Education is not Lopez’s reason for doing this show. After all, her perfume launch is a central topic. Ms. Jenny From the Block wants to stay in the public eye, pure and simple.

Let me be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with this desire. She worked hard to get to where she is and I admire her for working to stay there. My point is this: When you allow cameras into your home to film your husband and your children, the expectation of privacy goes out the window. This is a conscious decision, and should be treated as such. The next headline shouldn’t be, “Lopez To Paps: Leave Me Alone!”. I’m afraid that ship has sailed off to basic cable.