Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images
Melissa Gorga of The Real Housewives of New Jersey has just released a book, Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage. Another subtitle might be: How To Set the Women's Movement Back 100 Years.
The advice in this how-to guide to romance, based on her relationship with husband Joe Gorga, is meant to be "old school with modern all in one," she told the hosts of Fox & Friends. "When the man of the house is happy, in return, you are happy."
Fair enough. We won't argue with husbands and wives piling on the love and compliments with equal zeal. But Gorga's tips for keeping her man happy are nothing less than shocking. And it doesn't help matters that, while the book is predominantly written by Melissa, she often allows the chauvinistic Joe to weigh in.
"The amount of sexism, gender essentialism, and caveman logic within its pages is so appalling that it's difficult to believe that her book is anything but a cry for help," writes Jezebel.
What exactly have reviewers found so offensive? Let's start with the Joe-penned excerpt that has actually led to accusations that the Gorgas are advocating marital rape:
That's not the only frightening, violent-tinged description of their marriage. "[Joe's] style was to make corrections and to teach me from the beginning days of our marriage exactly how he envisioned our life together," Melissa writes. "Joe always says, 'You got to teach someone to walk straight on the knife. If you slip, you're going to get cut. Even if something didn't bother him that badly, he'd bring it up. He wanted to make sure that I knew, for example, if I ran out to CVS and he came home from work to an empty house, he didn't like it. He'd call me and say, 'I don't care if you're out all day long. But I don't want to come home to an empty house.'"
Clearly, Melissa's married life so far has been a continual effort to attain a ridiculously high standard -- including the idea that women should hide normal human functions. "Girls don't poop," she writes. "Me, never have. Never will. It just doesn't happen. Or, that's what Joe thinks! We've been married for nine years, and he has never once seen or smelled my business. How have I pulled this off? I don't do it when he's around or awake. In an emergency, I have my ways of pooping so he won't hear, smell, or see. It's a challenge."
Hmmm. This seems like a good time to cue Horrified Reaction GIF...
In other chapters, Melissa appears to be justifying Joe's lopsided marital logic. "If you notice, Joe never wears a wedding band," she writes. "Joe has really chubby fingers (he will tell you so, too), and he thinks that a ring is the most uncomfortable thing ever. It used to bother me, but now I just tell myself that a wedding band is more of a chick magnet, kind of like a guy walking a cute dog or pushing a stroller." Yep, keep on "just telling yourself" that.
Melissa's hot and spicy marriage also involves lots of verbal abuse from Joe, which she "can take" because "that's what a spouse is for." Really? Sorry, but we beg to differ.
In other countries, women live in societies that think men abusing women is okay. In this country, women have fought for decades to change that thinking. Even if Melissa hasn't studied recent American history, surely she's seen Mad Men?
Shame on you, Melissa. Go back to your cat fights with Joe's sister, Teresa Guidice, and leave the love advice to the experts.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.