‘Selling Tampa’ encourages a false narrative for women of color

Review by CarliAhsan

Less real estate, more drama. The sister show to Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” highlights minority female agents in Tampa at Allure Realty. The concept for the show is empowering for females of color, but the execution is extremely disappointing. 

Instead of showing off the real estate and their business, the show focused on the drama between the women. “Selling Sunset” was full of drama, but they also included numerous houses they were selling every episode. Some of the episodes of “Selling Tampa” didn’t even show a single house. They didn’t go into detail about what stages the houses were at or talk about the work they put into being in the real estate business. 

On top of that, the prices of the houses being sold were noticeably different. While the markets are very different in the two areas, for the shows being sister shows, they should be equally luxurious, even if the prices do not reflect one another. On “Selling Sunset,” the houses were usually well over $10 million. It was looked down upon and rare if anyone sold a house for less than $10 million. 

On “Selling Tampa,” the one house we did get to see sold, sold for about $8 million. Though few houses were shown in “Selling Tampa,” a stark contrast from “Selling Sunset,” the houses were outdated compared to the newly renovated and modern houses showcased in California. 

This alone shows some of the discrimination within the industry. Cast members from “Selling Tampa” had to come out and say that yes, they do sell houses, they just weren’t seen in the show. Shouldn’t a show celebrating minority women’s accomplishments show the houses they’re successfully selling? According to the producer of both “Selling Sunset” and “Selling Tampa,” it’s more important to focus on the drama between the women. Instead of portraying the women as the respectable businesswomen they are, he chose to exaggerate their characters to make them fit the stereotypes better. They seem very catty and aggressive, but off camera viewers can tell, by their social media and other public appearances, that is not how they act in real life. It is extremely disappointing for anyone of color to watch these women be turned into characters instead of showing off who they really are. This makes it seem like being themselves is not good enough for public entertainment. 

Gucci, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior. Throughout both shows, the agents’ clothing is a topic of conversation as they tend to wear revealing outfits in professional environments. Respectable firms would not represent themselves like this – with crop tops and skin-tight dresses. The clothes they wear draw the viewers to be more interested in the outfits than the business. The filming of “Selling Tampa,” as many critics have pointed out, draws a lot of attention to the clothes and the women instead of what the show is meant to emphasize, the real estate. The directors do a lot of oversexualizing of the featured women. This is reinforcing an already discriminatory stereotype. 

Another stereotype that this show enforces is that minority women are desperate for money. In “Selling Tampa,” the owner of the brokerage changes their commission split. This causes a lot of outrage, specifically from one female on the show, Rena. She is so frustrated with the upcoming decrease in her commission that she wants to leave the brokerage and open her own. The show follows her around as she looks at places for an office and talks to many people about the possibility of her opening one. In some ways this can be seen as empowering for her to stand up and not let her boss take more money from her, but this also makes it seem like minority women are struggling for money.  This is a large part of the show, so the stereotype is repetitively being reinforced. Overall, this show is not what it was made out to be.

If you’re looking to watch an empowering show about females and people of color, I wouldn’t recommend this one. As a woman of color, this show did not meet my expectations. Instead, “Black-ish” is a great show to watch with strong, female, minority leads. It also addresses many social justice issues in ways that are educational and impactful. Another show that is very real and honest about experiences for people of color, especially girls and women, is “Ginny and Georgia,” available on Netflix. This show does a great job at breaking stereotypes. It is relatable and recognizes many of the unspoken struggles everyone faces today. Shows like “Selling Tampa” need to do better and stop using false portrayals of women of color to make money and gain publicity. 

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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