Lifetime Movie Network: Paranoia for Women

I’ll admit it. On weekends, I have to use restraint to avoid being sucked into the vortex that is the Lifetime Movie Network. You decide to flip to the station while you’re eating breakfast and the next thing you know it’s dark outside. You’ve wasted a whole day watching films starring Tori Spelling, Tiffani Amber Theissen and a bunch more familiar-looking actresses whose names you don’t even know.

Besides the fact that you could likely be doing something more productive with your time, this SIS thinks there’s another downside to spending the day tuned to LMN.

Not to hate on the network (after all, its sister channel is now the home of “Project Runway”), but if you tune into it too long, you may become a victim of paranoia. The majority of the movies feature murderous and philandering husbands, con artists who marry for any and everything except love, and women whose triumph involves putting a man behind bars or ending his existence all together… and those are just the romantic comedies.

Of course, it’s just TV, but overexposure to this kind of dysfunction between men and women cannot be good. You can only watch a woman being physically attacked and held hostage so many times before you start making it a point to keep one hand on the pepper spray whenever a guy approaches.

Sure, crazies do exist, but I doubt they’re as plentiful as the Lifetime Movie Network would suggest. If that were the case, we’d all know women who’ve married bigamists or found out their significant others were still alive after faking death.

I think the purpose of the network’s programming is to empower women and, of course, to entertain. However, I’d argue that it’s not helping foster healthy relationships in the dating world. After watching movie after movie, can you blame a SIS for being a little less than trusting when meeting a new man? Yeah, we know the heroines in LMN movies always prevail, but if the happy ending only comes when someone is cleared of charges, behind bars or dead, why bother?

There’s a simple way to remedy this. I can always just tune out. There are other things to do with my time: cooking, cleaning, reading or maybe taking a walk … with my pepper spray.


56 Responses to “Lifetime Movie Network: Paranoia for Women”

  1. June 14, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I have always been afraid of LMN. I was always thinking that my boyfriend was going to beat me up, get me pregnant and then kill me, which is the premise to sooooo many of those movies.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  2. June 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

    LMN movies remind me of all those cheesie harlequinn novels my mom reads with voracious appetite. They frighten me! And helpless waifs like Tori Spelling only add to my nausea factor:O

  3. June 14, 2010 at 10:51 am

    So true, this is why I can’t watch too much Lifetime Movies or Law & Order episodes! I am terrified to leave the house/trust anyone.

  4. 4 daisyjacobs
    June 14, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I feel like LMN must give out subliminal messages because it has some kind of power over me. I couldn’t even try to guess how many Saturdays or Sundays I have spent watching LMN, ALL DAY LONG. Just yesterday, I watched one of faves, ‘My Best Friend’s Husband,’ where Cheryl Ladd steals her BFF’s hubby, and then….well I’m getting off-topic. But I love LMN. I don’t carry pepper spray because of it, but I will never hire a nanny without proper recommendations because she (or he) will probably try to steal my life and take over my family. And obviously I will never trust Cheryl Ladd around my husband.

  5. 5 Raul
    June 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Honestly, even as a guy I get sucked into those movies!! Each one lasts about 4 hours, so, yeah, it’s pretty much the whole day!


  6. 6 who
    June 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I think I always get it confused with the LMW network

  7. June 14, 2010 at 11:09 am

    You know it’s a bad sign when the movies on Lifetime aren’t so different from Law & Order: SVU.

  8. 8 PeacockWings
    June 14, 2010 at 11:15 am

    that’s very true. it can cause you to even doubt many relationships you’ve had. the funny thing was watching my mom, she used to be a LMN addict and has recently switched to Court TV or I.D. (i think is the name of the chanel). Anyway her boyfriend jokes that she used to watch LMN to prevent getting in a bad relationship(the paranoia) and now she watches these in case she does get into one, she can get her way out(joking about killing the husband)…

  9. June 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Cute post – this is sooooo true, those movies suck you in! Paranoia and fairytale fantasies galore…. 🙂

  10. June 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    i am a big fan of LMN…. i love its cotent…and think it does let us know th realities of the world we live in…just watch the news…..most of the shows are based on true stories…and it shows no matter how bad the relationship you can get out…there are also a lot of great love stories and other good stories as well….not to mention the fact that a lot of the movies are movies that have been in theaters and other channels…i don’t let it take over my life…. i DVR it and watch it at my leisure…
    i love it…so what if i am addicted to it…. i could e addicted to worse things…


    • June 15, 2010 at 3:40 am

      The problem is that it over represents some of the realities in the world. Just like the news. Crime rates in many instances have gone down since the 1950s but because we are surrounded by a never ending stream of media that reports them over and over we assume its worse. So there is a risk of thinking thats how the real world is in general. When its only a small slice of it.

  11. June 14, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Oh, where would pop culture be without “Not Without my Daughter”?
    What South Park alone turned that into!

  12. June 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I totally agree. I cannot and will not watch another “sleeping with the enemy” type movie. I’m aware and educated. Thanks but no thanks!

  13. June 14, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I do avoid this network like the plague. there is enough real life horror on the news. Don’t need more reasons to run from my car to my door and put on all the locks.

  14. June 14, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    LMN scares me – so soap opera.

  15. 16 Jim
    June 14, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Killin’ the day watchin’ movies? Oh, yeah! And I have a genuine Hudson Bay wool blanket. When’s it gonna rain again?


  16. June 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Lifetime was really bad about paranoid content back in the 80s and 90s with one movie after another about women being one form of victim or another. In recent years, though, there’s been a noticeable move away from that. Albeit the alternative has been romantic dreck shot in Canada. Too bad the network just can’t get away from representing women in such a shallow frame altogether. Can it really be that hard to write strong content for/about women?

  17. 18 madonnaearth
    June 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    LOL – it’s not something you want to start watching if you need to be somewhere in an hour or less.

    My uncle and I have discussed Lifetime in great detail.

    What we love about it (that three-parter about that woman who killed her husband in the Hamptons, the other one about this guy who killed his wife and made his daughter take the blame for it while he was sleeping with her sister, and how they show some movies I love to watch – Lucky Number 7 with that guy from Grey’s Anatomy).

    What we hate about it (how if you start watching a movie you don’t want to stop watching ’til it’s over, and how the commercial breaks can screw you up if you flip the channel) and
    The thing I hate the worst of all is when I miss the first 5 minutes where they set up the movie and spend the next two hours filling in the blanks of what I missed. Especially when I change channels because of the slew of commercials.

    There’s also things you could only make me watch under duress (like if there’s nothing else but sports on)- anything with Meredith Baxter Birney, stuff with Cheryl Ladd lol (made the mistake of seeing the one where she got arrested because they thought she was a drug dealer and her sister had to raise her children).

    I have more positives than negatives about it though. It’s one of the few channels I can watch and enjoy with my mom.

  18. 19 Michelle Brown
    June 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    When I was fresh out of college, my roommate and I would also spend entire weekends in-front of the TV, watching this wrteched channel. She was also fascinated by serial killers, so I also got to enjoy the side commentary coming from her about the slash-n-such killer who did something similar to the movie…good times!

  19. June 14, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I love this post because I am ADDICTED to Lifetime movies. Seriously. They’re HI-LARIOUS. Men are abuser cheaters or women are stalker nutjobs. I love it. I have to remind myself to live my life because I definitely get sucked into the madness. We should write a lifetime movie together. It’d be great.

  20. 21 makeuptheselipz
    June 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Its so true! Thank god I don’t have cable TV anymore and I am actually able to get something done!

  21. June 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Ack! I completely agree with you! Every single LMN movie involves rape, betrayal, tragedy, violence, or cancer. Several involve more than one of those themes. It’s ridiculous. I know there are bad things in the world, but their movies make it seem as if the entire world is out ot get me. Women won’t leave the house for fear of being raped, getting pregnant, punched by their boyfriend, having their children abducted or contracting cancer… which is the entire point of the channel, in my opinion. Stay home! Watch our movies all day! Bwahahahaha! Kinda makes you wonder how many agoraphobics they’ve created, doesn’t it?


  22. June 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    so true…it sucks you in but does little to actually build us up as women in the world today. Sure there is a lot of trauma in the world, but there’s also a lot of beauty as well.

    As for the portrayal of relationships…I don’t like that they only highlight one type of relationship. But I can’t say that I’m too excited about the alternative that they might air: the stereotypical chick flick that presents romance as hyper-extreme and idealistic, which we will ultimately look for and never find. Inevitably we are left thinking the only relationships are with psycho-killer men or we pass over what could become a rather fruitful and healthy relationship because it’s doesn’t have the makings of the last big screen romance film we saw with our girlfriends 2 weeks before. Either way, I think media is setting us up for disaster 🙂

    great post!

  23. June 14, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    There was one movie on the LMN channel that featured the blonde from Whose the Boss beating up her husband (the boss from Office Space). That was the only time I ever saw a movie on there where the female was the aggressor. Anyway I think the plot lines and themes of most the programming are way too similar and it often makes me think that whoever runs the network wants to make all women look like they are weak and easily manipulated. We all know that is just not real life

  24. June 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    It would be incredibly interesting to find out what the aim for the channel is. The movies aren’t necessarily bad but the constant stream of victimization is what has always bothered me about the channel. Lifetime and Lifetime like channels/movie marathons were quite the discussion topic in both my Sociology and Criminology Classes. I appreciate how this post does not offer solutions to the channel nor does it condone or condemn it. Thanks for sharing.

  25. June 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Good post. I avoid this network at all costs (since I’m a male, obviously), but my mother seems addicted to the movies they play. She’s tuned in every weekend.

  26. 28 lunchwithmary
    June 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I always get trapped by the Slice Network here in Canada, not sure what it’s called in the US but it’s all day Real Housewives, Millionaire Matchmaker, Tori & Dean, etc. and I get caught up in the vapid, not-real-world problems that are made into entire multi-episode arcs. Then I begin to understand why so many people really have no idea what’s going on in the world, it’s cause of addictions to terrible TV and watching super, super rich middle-aged people.

  27. June 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I used to be like, addicted to the ones that Kellie Martin was in! Haha. Now I just read the movie summaries on the guide for kicks while I’m looking for something else to watch.

  28. June 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    LOL, my wife used to enjoy a LMN movie occasionally (before we cancelled cable). I think they should just change the name to VM. The Victim Network.

  29. June 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    When other people acting out a fake life is more interesting than your own…it’s time to get one of your own! I gave away my television several years ago and I haven’t missed it one day. As a result, my health is better, my relationships are better, and I have a deeper understanding of the world.

    The only “screen” you should ever be looking through is your car windshield on the way to a new adventure! Leave your house!

  30. June 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I agree. We consumers are the ones who decide. Anytime. Turn it OFF! Or if you are having fun just watch enough, some times there is better things outside those walls. Sure of it.
    ~Great Love to you,
    Mirian from peelingtheorange.

  31. June 14, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I wish LMN would play more lighthearted, romantic comedy!! Although, the murder mysteries definitely grab viewers’ attention! FUN BLOG!

  32. June 14, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I always thought it was funny that my friends called it the “man-hater channel”, when if you look at it the women are the ones being raped, beaten, eaten by wolves, whatever. I think I’ll stick with my “The Game” reruns, I’ll feel much safer. 😀

  33. June 14, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I agree. And the thing that makes me angriest — about all these kinds of media portrayals — is the fact that the villains are SO OBVIOUSLY villainous. I mean, when does THAT ever happen in real life? It’s so ridiculous as to be useless, in my view. Maybe it’s just cartoonish entertainment. But I prefer art that shows the grey areas. Villains don’t always look like villains. I mean, duh!

  34. June 15, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Movies can’t be like real life, otherwise they’d be boring. Therefore, cinema has to exaggerate everything in order to make it palatable. LMN movies use these exaggerated scenarios to depict the way women sometimes feel cornered, disenfranchised and preyed upon.

    I’m a guy, and I admit that I’m an LMN addict. I dated a girl once and all we did for an entire summer was sit around and watch LMN movies every evening. After we broke up, I continued watching the channel.

    I don’t watch LMN because I have some twisted voyeuristic fetish. No, I watch it because the actresses are hot in a mature girl-next-door kind of way, and because the predictability and familiarity of the themes – love and lust, power and hurt – touch home in some way. I recognize a lot of it is fantasy, and this is what I like most about it – the humor and the make-believe of all the exaggerated situations.

  35. June 15, 2010 at 1:04 am

    I think that the lifetime channel addictions perhaps started early when we were young adults and there were always those books about teenage girls who were popular until they found out they were dying from leukemia or that they had scoliosis or some horrible blood disorder. I remember reading the scoliosis book when I was a young girl and staring at my shoulders in the mirror and trying to feel my back to see if my spine was shaped like an “S.” I noticed that one shoulder was higher than another, and the book said that the scoliosis girl had the same problem and that dresses never seemed to fit just right, so of course I jumped to conclusions…

    Needless to say, I didn’t have scoliosis and I soon stopped reading those books because they were scary, sappy and usually did make me paranoid.

  36. June 15, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Lifetime upsets me too much, or at least it did when I had cable.

  37. June 15, 2010 at 1:11 am

    I totally get your post and I appreciate it. It’s true. I went out with a guy once who had a bottle of wine and wanted to have a picnic on the beach. I’m all like, “Oh, I don’t think so, I saw this episode once….” that’s when I had to tune out. Your post is funny because it’s true. Not that I have any better luck with men now that I’ve forsaken LMN, but I’m not working at a disadvantage, either. XOXO

  38. 41 Songbird
    June 15, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I know exactly what you mean- those movies are addictive. Sometimes its like the equivalent of reading a slightly sinister romance novel…lol… they are like popcorn for the brain…lol.

  39. June 15, 2010 at 3:35 am

    Agreed. They need to vary their programs more in storyline. Cant a woman be on a journey to finding herself without being victimized first?

  40. 43 kyree90
    June 15, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Very funny post.

    I used to call those flicks “women in peril” movies. I will admit to getting sucked in from time to time, though. There are probably a billion other things I could be doing, but instead I waste time watching ridiculous movies.

  41. 44 Ms. Pants
    June 15, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I love it to death, but Sex and the City has a similar effect on me. It makes me feel like all men must have a hidden (most likely HUGE) imperfection and that my Charlotte-like values are silly and outdated. Still, like those LMN films, they’re great for when you just want to stay in and tune out in front of the TV.

  42. June 15, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I don’t watch Lifetime so much as HBO, Showtime etc but TV can definitely give you a warped perception of things. Because I have loose connections to the show’s creator, I watched HBO’s OZ marathon style. It’s an extremely raw show about life in prison and it didn’t help this girl sleep at night. Highly disturbing material. Shows like that and The Sopranos don’t necessarily feel close to home because they are about worlds I hope not to enter; the mob and federal prison. But still…Shows tend to emphasize not-so-lovable protagonists lately (Dexter) so material as far heavier than it used to be.

  43. 46 Lulu
    June 15, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I’ve never heard this LMN before,
    I guess taking a walk seems nicer 🙂

  44. June 15, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I’m with you, SIS. I don’t watch TV anymore, except for a few shows with my kids once in a while, but yeah…Disney Channel and Nickelodeon have their own issues to deal with…which I’ve written to them about, of course. 🙂 I think your overexposure theory is spot-on.

  45. June 15, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Never been a fan of LMN or even just plain ole Lifetime Television. I understand there is a lot of bad happening in the world to women, but they never seem to show the good. It gets a little too much like male bashing on both stations. And all women aren’t saints themselves. If the stations featured some sort of balance, I might be inclined to watch.

  46. June 15, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I think you have raised a very important point here. If women are constantly on the lookout for horrible behavior from men, I think we are going to find it. What we give our attention to always expands. I think that single woman should remember that there are nice guys out there and that TV is not the ultimate authority on men. We may know that intellectually, but it’s certainly easy to be influenced by the media, now isn’t it?

    Thanks, sis, for speaking up!

  47. June 15, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Your site is like a blonde with a brain. I like it. Jokes apart, very informative post and equally impressive design.

  48. June 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I love LMN. Well, Lifetime because I don’t have the movie network channel. There is always a movie on that I could relate to or that I could indulge in to pass the time. I’ve also found myself wasting life away on my couch, in my pjs, while eating anything in the fridge while crying, laughing, and becoming angry. This is my guilty pleasure when the kids are away. lol

  49. June 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I really enjoyed reading through this posting. Thanks for sharing this. This is a great site, I love the theme you are using.By the way, if you get a moment, check out my site

  50. June 21, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Aghhh…LMN freaking me out.This is scary.You are right.

  51. July 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Lifetime seems to have always had one overarching problem, as I’ve seen it from time to time over the years. To my eye, it seems to rejoice and revel in some kind of sick celebration of the victimization of women. It’s as if the people who run the network and produce the shows can’t get past the notion that a woman’s identity is wrapped up in the things that hurt her and/or hold her down.

    I wish I could say I don’t understand the mindset. Alas, I do. I see it in most quarters of society, groups of people not identifying themselves by who they are. Instead, the identify themselves by who they aren’t and/or by the things they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as opposing (or “oppressing”) them. It’s an age-old problem seated quite deeply in human nature.

  52. 55 SushiRocknRoll
    December 26, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    This article was very insightful. But then again, I may just be one of those young teenage girls who rolls her eyes (not that I really would, never was much of an eye-roller lol) at her mom’s taste. She is both a rabid fan of the news and LMN and is constantly tuned into that kinda stuff whenever she isn’t busy (radio, online, and each time I turn on the TV it’s on the news or LMN), which is somewhat of a scary combination. While I don’t criticize her for it and while she does have a life outside these things, this constant exposure does worry me a little… y’know, like having messages being subconsciously placed in your head, etc.etc.

    But really, I guess my point is not to let the data be implanted in your brain, which can happen with this constant exposure. Sometimes, the best way to learn and be aware is to live and just walk outside and take part in what’s going on as YOURSELF, without modeling the idealistically structured and predictable superficiality that occurs in fiction. Unfortunately some people take this stuff seriously, base their lives off this kind of stuff and create unnecessary drama in the real world.

    And as for the whole ‘men’ thing, they are just as misrepresented as the victimized women by appearing as the sex-crazies. XD

    Anyway,I’ll shaddap now. Good stuff here, amenable points made overall. ^^

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