Bravo’s new reality TV show about real estate, Bethenny & Fredrik, premiered this week, representing a significant break from previous shows because a woman holds one of the starring roles.
It’s not completely unknown territory: Tracy Tutor Maltas was named Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles’ first female agent last year in time for the show’s tenth season, which gave her both “a huge, huge opportunity” and also the burden of trying to represent women who work in real estate — an unfair task to assign to any individual and one that badly skews the reality of the business.
In fact, female brokers make up 60 percent of the residential real estate industry and women lead the majority of New York’s brokerages, though a gender gap persists as The Real Deal recently reported.
“We are the majority, not the minority, when it comes to this business,” Tutor Maltas told Bravo in a pre-show interview, but then why are her and Bethenny Frenkel’s roles such a novelty?
Quartz asked prominent women working in real estate for their takes on what they think Tutor Maltas and Frenkel’s new roles could mean for the portrayal of the profession.
“Does it have to do with the perception of powerful women on television? Or how the American community will take it?” wondered Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, president of Stribling & Associates.
Douglas Elliman chief executive Dorothy Herman has a theory: “For TV, it’s a formula that works with men and they kept it that way,” she said to Quartz, however she noted that she expects Tutor Maltas’ casting will spark change.
“She broke the ice! Now I don’t think it’ll be flooded with women… But as time goes on you’ll see more women,” Herman predicted. [Quartz] — Erin Hudson