Continued Media Focus on Compulsive Shopping

Compulsive shopping is pretty much out of the closet now, with continuing treatment in television, film, and print. Here are four recent examples of note:

“The Bank of Mom and Dad,” a BBC show that begins airing on SOAPnet September 30th, is “reality programming as a financial-makeover show.” In each episode, a young woman in financial difficulty invites her parents to move in with her for a week, to help her begin to sort out her monetary disarray. Personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi functions as an intermediary, big sister, and money coach, trying, she says, “to help these women develop a better relationship with money, to understand the basics of money, to get on some sort of a budget and to inspire them to get out of the rut.” In episode 5, which airs on October 28th, April does on-site therapy in a store in Brooklyn with a 29 year old nurse who is $48,000 in debt.

“The Secret Lives of Women,” a documentary-style series on the Women’s Entertainment Network, “takes an up-close and very personal look at the intimate issues, struggles, and surprising opportunities facing women today. [The show takes] a very real look at women who dare to shock, challenge and push the envelope when it comes to today’s cultural norms.” In the episode that will air on December 1, a young woman comes to April for help in stopping overshopping.

The American Dream, a full-length documentary film by Joel Christian McEwen, looks at the causes and effects of our hugely outsized appetite for material goods. It examines, for example, how advertising exploded from a simple service telling us what was available to a 450 billion dollar per year industry in perception management. The film asks what these developments say about our loss of sense of purpose as a society and what we can do as individuals to realign our lives with our true values. Featuring engaging interviews with celebrities, luminaries, and industry leaders such Danny Glover, Howard Zinn, Vicki Robin, Ed Begley Jr., and Jean Kilbourne, The American Dream helps us discover an America we hadn’t realized we were a part of.

The Women in Red inhabit M. P. Dunleavy’s MSN Money columns on alternate Wednesdays. We peek in on these debtors in their financial skivvies as they seek to demystify money and gain a measure of financial sanity. Keep up with the bi-weekly tribulations of Tricia, Kimber, Jane, Heather, and M.P. herself, or get even more involved by logging on to the Women in Red Message Board.

By Carrie Rattle

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Read More