Monday, June 6, 2011

Need for Power

After reading chapter eight and the discussion of the characteristics of the need for power, I couldn't help but think of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In the beginning of every episode, we are introduced to Taylor, Lisa, Adrienne, Kim, Kyle, and Camille. Each of them live extravagant lives, filled with expensive possessions including closets filled with clothes, luxurious cars in the driveway, and mansions bigger than one could ever even dream of. According to our textbook, they all have characteristics of a great need for power.

Within the first 20 seconds of the first episode, Kim lets the viewers know how Beverly Hills "runs on status" and that "status can come from money, connections, fame or even looks". Just as the textbook says, women and men with a high need for power place greater importance on status and wealth. They use their clothing, cars, credit cards, and elaborate decor in their homes to demonstrate their status and wealth.

The text also says how individuals high in power motivation are more likely to have autobiographical memories of peak experiences that involve power themes. Having a television show to flaunt your wealth and share your life experiences with viewers is certainly one way to accomplish that. Additionally, each of the women has their own website with glamorous pictures of themselves and a section for a brief autobiography.

Kim Richards was once a child star (she makes sure everyone is aware) and is also Paris and Nicky Hilton's aunt. In the final episode of the first season, her problem with alcohol is made public by her sister Kyle, who is also on the show. One characteristic of a need for power is the use of alcohol, which unfortunately, Kim has.

Camille Grammer is married to actor Kelsey Grammer and wants to "come out of her husband's shadow and shine". After years of being known as "Kelsey Grammer's wife", Camille's needs for power needs to be fulfilled. She caused most of the fights throughout the season and loved to make her life seem so busy and important. According to Camille, her life is 30% busier than the rest of the Housewives.

The only Housewive that does not exactly fit the mold is Adrienne Maloof. She is the co-owner of Maloof Companies which includes (and is not limited to) the Sacramento Kings, The Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, and Maloof Productions. While her husband is a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, and is by no means poor, she certainly has a higher net worth than he does. According to the text, college-educated men with a high power motivation have wives who are less likely to have professional careers of their own. The relationship between Adrienne and Paul Nassif (her husband) has a different dynamic than the rest of the housewives marriages (most of them do not work). Paul has also been on TV, appearing on Dr. 90210 several times.

The women of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills certainly have strong needs for power and make it very evident through their extravagant lifestyles and broadcasting them on national television.

1 comment:

  1. I don't watch the show regularly, but I have seen a few episodes of these shows located in different states. The rich and famous definitely exhibit a need for power. We have seee many of the rich and famous fall to drugs and other legal problems. Could this be because they have run out of ways to seek power? Stars that have come from a poor background and worked their way up the economic ladder seem to be better off (Oprah). Those that were born and raised rich seem to often turn to drugs and alcohol (Charlie Sheen).