March 25, 2013
Reality Television in Today’s Society
It is very easy to get lost in television today as it broadly displays real life characters living out every detail of their lives in front of the camera. Just what is considered “too much” for television in this day in age? Is it parents seeking help from the super nanny with their unruly children, detectives investigating brutal senseless murders on inner city streets, sixteen year old girls inviting America to see first-hand what it is like to me a mother or perhaps sexually explicit dating shows that exhibit woman as merely a last resort option for the alpha man to choose from. Whatever it may be, it most certainly has our society held captive. While “Reality Television” can be used in practices of rehabilitation and psychology, it has both destructive and encouraging affects on today’s society because it demonstrates strong sexuality among today’s youth, it influences individuals to make choices they wouldn’t make on their own, and it gives those the opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes.
Reality television is the most popular genre of television to date mainly because individuals are more prone to identify psychologically with the real life characters and everyday situations. Reality television portrays common folks participating in uncommon and common activities and or responsibilities, giving the audience the chance to relate and distinguish their own lives with those of the shows central characters. Viewers consider the characters to be “genuine”, and form realistic connections with them and the trials and tribulations they encounter. Whether the impact be negative or positive it is obvious that there is definitely a significant influence on voyeurism, and the affects vary drastically based on the particular
individuals and their values. People are drawn to factual characters who display some or many of the same beliefs of their own. Boorstin’s (1961) insightful perception was, “life has become stagecraft- a blending of reality and mass mediated experience that evokes life as a movie in which people play themselves” (Gabler, 1998). Reality television is especially prevalent among today’s youth, as its characters are mostly attractive and intensely sexually suggestive. What kind of values does this portray to our youth? It proposes that, this is what young adults look like and this is how they conduct themselves. Numerous adolescence believe that the reality television shows that they view depict predominantly true circumstances and real life consequences. For example, when a teenage girl views a show like Bad Girls Club, she may automatically assume that this is how young ladies conduct themselves. Fighting, gossiping, lying and abusing relationships with individuals whom they once considered friends. Are these the values we want to instill in our children? In a study conducted by the Girls Scouts there were four major findings. The first discovery was, drama within relationships. After careful investigation results showed that 86% of those surveyed alleged that reality programs “often pit girls against each other to make the shows more exciting”, while 73% of those survey alleged that reality programs “make people think that fighting is a normal part of a romantic relationship” and 70% trust that the shows “make people think it’s okay to treat others badly” (Girls Scouts, 2011). The second discovery was, self-image, the good and the bad. This study revealed that teens who watched reality shows on a regular basis were extremely concerned with physical appearance. Out of those teens who did faithfully watch reality television, 72% admitted to contributing a great quantity of their time on image (compared to 42% of teens who did not watch reality television), 38% were convinced that a
girls worth is judged by her beauty (vs.28% of non-viewers) and 28% actually