March 16, 2012
Advanced Placement Language and Composition
S. Willis Gregory
The hit reality television show, ‘Jersey Shore’ is about eight complete strangers forced to live in a house together and have their lives recorded. The main premise of the show is to watch the roommates drink, party, and hook up almost every night. The four male roommates try to find young women at the clubs who are what they call ‘D.T.F’ (Down to F***). The disturbed part is the women throw themselves out there, willing to do anything to get the roommates attention as long as they get on camera. What the women are doing in the picture above is fighting to try to caress all over Mike’s, one of the roommates from the show, abs. This is just a glimpse of what is shown on reality television shows. Women are doing more and more raunchy actions on these reality television shows that it is considered ‘normal’ or ‘accepted’ in today’s world. Although, the girls on the shows may not know, their actions influence adolescent girls who watch the shows and believe that it is ‘cool’ to get drunk, party, be promiscuous with guys and be ‘D.T.F’
“Teen Mom”, “16 & Pregnant”, “Bad Girls Club”, “Basketball Wives”, and “Jersey Shore” are just a few of America’s favorite reality television shows to tune-in to every night. These shows have helped television networks, such as VH1 and MTV ratings soar. “MTV’s season two premiere of “Teen Mom 2” is the most watch season premiere in franchise history for MTV, attracted over 4.2 million total viewers…its highest rated in network history, and marked a 21 percent increase over the previous “Teen Mom 2” series premiere in January.” (Futon) While the television networks enjoy their increase in ratings, critics question how these shows influence teenagers. “Reality Television programming has been the focus of much criticism because of the questionable messages some of the shows depict. While these messages have an effect on everyone who views them, the audience that may be the most susceptible is teenagers.” (North). Teenagers assume these shows are literally ‘reality television’, when in fact; they are ‘scripted’ for America’s entertainment. Reality television almost supports teenagers to drink, party, act promiscuous, and pregnancy to make it socially acceptable to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle. An incentive for teenagers to be a part of these shows is television networks pay them to have their ‘private world’ recorded. Shows such as “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” have been popular, hitting the top spots in Nielsen ratings at 4.5 million and 2.1 million viewers respectively (2011 numbers). However, the shows have influenced American girls, spreading the message that it’s ‘OK’ to get pregnant because MTV might fund it. One “Teen Mom” star stated in court that she makes $140,000 per season, not including endorsements and appearances. Celebrities are in the covers of magazines—sometimes in a positive light, sometimes in a negative light. (Stewart) Television networks should be more mindful of how their shows negatively influence adolescent girls and young women. Because the promotion of promiscuity causes staggering ratings in reality television and entertainment, adolescent girls and young women are influenced by the “realistic” perception of these shows, and are unaware of the negative effects.
Reality television shows, show an increase in television ratings over the years. More television viewers are interested to tune in to watch a reality television show, rather than a popular scripted show. In a recent study, popular television networks such as MTV and VH1 have become the leaders to captivate viewers to watch reality television shows, “VH1 telecast since May 2009 and attracted 2.6 million total viewers…with the encore episode, the series, brought in 4.6 million total viewers… Across its ten episodes “Basketball Wives” season three has