View Responsibly: Reality TV

Jul 21, 2011 @ 9:01 am | By TheFeministGriote | 2 Comments

I grew up watching reality tv. I remember the first season of the show “The Real World” an experiment where MTV took real people from different walks of life and made them co-habitate. I remember watching Kevin the angst ridden Black man argue with Becky. I remember falling in love with Pedro Zamora the first openly gay man on tv in my lifetime that I can think of. I remember crying when Pedro lost his battle with AIDS. His story was my first introduction to HIV/AIDS and it impacted me deeply. Also, who can forget Tami Roman from season two of “The Real World” who is now on the show BasketBall Wives (who has shown little growth from then to now, but that is another blog for another day) and the incident when David pulled the blanket off of her and how that erupted into an uncomfortable conversation about personal space, violation, and what is deemed as funny. I can also remember Tami allowing the cameras to follow her to the abortion clinic when she decided to terminate her pregnancy.

For me the show “The Real World” was my after school special. It was through that show that I came in contact with people, lifestyles, religions, and political views that I otherwise would not have come in contact with. I attended an inner city high school where everyone looked alike, talked alike, and shared the same brain. Any deviance from the norm made you a social pariah and so, “The Real World” was my sneak peek outside of my reading books where people came in all different varieties.  Although our differences on the surface seem scary we as people have more in common then we think and it is in that realization that we can happily coexist without strife. That is the message that I got from “The Real World.”

A funny thing happened to the  fish bowl experiment also known as the  “The Real World” it took on a life of its own and other networks started to copy the formula. Even MTV started to tamper with its own formula, foregoing real everyday people for caricatures of real everyday people. Reality tv stopped having substance. Somewhere along the lines stereotypes became commercial, profitable, and pop-culture fodder that the masses can feast upon. The problem with stereotypes is that they’re so deeply ingrained in us that they get accepted as the “truth.”

The point I am trying to make is that we should not view our entertainment mindlessly. We are always being pitched an idea or product. Whether it be the coke product neatly placed in the background or the apple laptop that is being advertised on the low, either way we are being assaulted constantly with product placements and stereotypes.Reality tv is cheap to make networks don’t need wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, writers and all the other number of people it takes to sustain a scripted show. Because of this low overhead reality tv will not be going away anytime soon so it becomes imperative that we scrutinize the messages that is being transmitted.

Even when we are asleep the brain is still active. We should not watch television mindlessly. We must be keenly aware  and ask ourselves the question who profits from dumbing us down and promoting negative stereotypes? You don’t have to stop watching reality tv, but you must view it responsibly!

By: @FeministGriote

What’s your take on reality tv just entertainment or is it dangerous in its perpetuation of stereotypes?!



Categories: Venus vs Mars

2 Responses to “ View Responsibly: Reality TV ”

  1. Honestly, I never watched The Real World and never got into reality TV. Now I watch The Real L Word, it’s interesting, but generally I don’t entertain it.

    I think reality tv is the epitome of what’s wrong with the media in this country. Most television programs are about people doing outlandish things to earn money (the old days of Fear Factor) or just to get free publicity. We’ve arrived at a place in our society where reality is no longer real and is really just a fabrication.

    Personally, I rarely watch TV and have a handful of favorite TV show that I watch online. Or own DVD copies of.

    I don’t understand the appeal of reality TV. I don’t like America’s Next Top Model or Jersey Shore. To me, all reality TV is the same. It’s mindless. There’s no substance. Why bother watching it? I don’t believe in having guilty pleasures – when you watch a TV show you’re showing the companies that you support this. Even if you’re only watching it because “it’s so bad it’s good.”

    No. To me, our TV reflects what our culture believes is art, and what is worthy of being watched. So much of TV is bad – not just the reality stuff. Why perpetuate it?

    I’m not a fan. I wish we didn’t have reality TV.

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