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RHOA’s Newest Male Member: Leader or Bully?

A lot of folks would consider Porsha Stewart’s marriage to former pro-baller Kordell Stewart a fairytale— heck, she even describes it that way herself. I’m not certain.

The more I watch their show, Real Housewives of Atlanta, the more I wonder exactly how much a woman has to give up in order to be “kept”. Porsha doesn’t work. Porscha spends with no limit on lamps (her words, not mine). Porsha also has the luxury of not dealing with pro-baller lifestyle— since her husband was retired by the time they met— but receiving all of the perks. She is paying a hefty price because on the flip side, there are a lot of things Porsha doesn’t have, such as the freedom to voice her opinion without being told what to do— and forced to do it.

I was amazed when I watched last night’s episode. Porsha informed her co-star Cynthia Bailey that she couldn’t have strangers (The Bailey Agency team) in her house without her husband there. Cynthia was appalled. I wasn’t. I completely understand why The Stewarts would be concerned with having strangers on their property— they do live on an estate. What was uncomfortable, to say the least, was later watching Kordell cut Porsha off and inform her on how she must handle a situation (Cynthia’s team’s response), and ram a mantra — which obviously doesn’t resonate with Porsha since she misquoted it— down her throat. Later, despite Porsha — and Cynthia— informing him that they’d handled their spat, Kordell interceded and admonished both ladies like school girls who spilled ice cream on their Sunday’s best …in public.

I’m all for an alpha male who leads by example and wants the best for his entire team. But something about Kordell’s approach seems more dogmatic than supportive. In addition, his attitude towards women feels more than a little condescending. Last, his relationship with Porsha is very layered. On one hand he’s doting and appreciative of her “talents”, but on the other he’s aware of her less than authoritative demeanor and comes across as using his assertiveness to her disadvantage. He talks over her. He gives her directives on how she must handle her friendships. He even picks out her clothes. While some may say, “Porsha’s presence means she likes it,” I’m not so sure.

At times Mrs. Stewart fumbles when she’s sharing with Kordell — in fairness, she also does this with others. She even mentioned more than once that she doesn’t want to have to tell him about something, with the why— his assertive demands— being implied. Now, no one is saying Kordell is backhanding his wife. But we can see a not-so-subtle manipulation and control. This is not a new story. Kordell is older, more accomplished and overtly confident. He is a great leader, for a team. But a wife requires a bit more finesse— particularly when televised.

Yes, having a successful man who is willing to honor and protect you— and finance your lifestyle— is a prize to be cherished.
But there is also something to be said for having a voice. There is value in knowing that your mate can give you advice and entrust that you have the ability to make choices and deal with the repercussions. There’s also something to be said for picking out out your own wardrobe.

The verdict is still out on whether Kordell is more mean than manly. I’ll be watching….

Real Housewives of Atlanta airs on Bravo 8pm ET.