Lay Off Scheana Shay: It’s Not Only OK to Talk Fertility, but It’s Healthy for All of Us

scheana shay

I am no fool. I realize that Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules is not the best vehicle for important conversations. The reality TV cast members get almost everything wrong when it comes to hot button topics—body shaming, addiction, feminism, gender and sexual identity, etc. But they do touch on a lot of these things…frequently—James was fired from Sur for calling Katie fat; Lala has become sober; and there was an entire transphobic storyline involving Billie, who is trans, not being invited to girls’ night. So, yes, while the stars of Vanderpump Rules may not be the best ambassadors for speaking on these issues, it is a popular show that does cover this stuff, even if only by happenstance.

And that’s why I’m particularly loving Scheana Shay right now. In only two episodes of season eight, Scheana has not only already ingratiated herself with new members of the cast by hooking up and flirting hard with them (i.e. great drama for the viewer), but she’s also mentioned her frozen eggs, divorce and biological time clock countless times. To her castmates, she’s simply mortifying. “Telling a 27-year-old boy that you went off birth control is like yelling ‘fire’ in a movie theater. Do you think everyone's gonna see the ending of that movie?” new cast member Dayna (dating one of the men Scheana hooked up with) says in a testimonial. With the editing, you can tell that producers assume viewers are experiencing maximum schadenfreude as well because how “pathetic” to talk about an important failed relationship, fertility and your body while also trying to date.

What Scheana’s going through is very, very real. She’s not the same 20-something who started on the show eight seasons ago. She’s 34. Any woman who’s brushed the sides of 30 knows that the world likes to paint it all downhill from here. I was once carded at 27 years old by a bouncer who told me I “looked good for my age.”

At the same time, there is also a very real race against time when it comes to fertility. Any woman who’s contemplated children after 30 knows this. A pregnancy after 35 is considered geriatric. The language is harsh, and there’s no parallel for men. But, again, it’s a medical term because it’s real.

For that reason, I like that Scheana talks about it. I think it’s healthy—for her and for us viewers. It’s not a dumb “girl problem.” It’s an incredibly confounding and complex human condition that we are still grappling with as a species. On an individual level, it can be extremely difficult to navigate it in an honest way, especially when you’re up against the contradiction that if you want to get married and have children, you shouldn’t talk about it. A 27-year-old man gets to be referred to as a “boy” and receive sympathy for having to hear Scheana talk about going off birth control. Considering they were hooking up, this is extremely relevant information. But Scheana is supposed to be held responsible for his feelings regarding her body? Sorry, no.

Would Scheana be deemed the “perfect” witness in the trial against double standards? Absolutely not. But it’s for that reason, all of her (highly entertaining) flaws, that her story is important. None of us is perfect. Seeing a real person, flawed and all, cope with dating and fertility in an honest way (on a show essentially about drinking and hooking up) is kinda nice.

Scheana Shay is no Gloria Steinem, but I love that she’s bringing up real women’s health issues and gender biases. Does she realize it? Absolutely not. But that’s just fine with me.

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Dara Katz

Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...
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