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MILF Manor is gross – but not for the reason most people think | Nancy Jo Sales

The titillating reality series hinges on a bizarre oedipal twist. But the show, at its core, is actually reactionary and sexist

Milf Manor is making viewers upset and causing the media to collectively clutch its pearls – but not, I think, for the reasons they should be recoiling. If you’ve been spared hearing about TLC’s latest contribution to the reality television garbage heap, here is the recap: Eight “hot moms”, all women in their 40s or 50s, are sent to live in a seaside villa in Mexico, where, they’re told, they’re going to be dating younger guys (the ol’ hookup house conceit). When the guys, all studs in their 20s, appear, it turns out that they’re these same women’s sons in real life.

“You are not exactly on the show you thought were on,” a text from the producers tells them. Everyone looks shocked. “Wait, they’re our moms?” asks one of the sons. “Holy shit!”

Nancy Jo Sales is a writer at Vanity Fair and the author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

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