Torture: Reality Television and Young Girls Essay

Submitted By twarner
Words: 1379
Pages: 6

Remember back to the glory days in fifth grade when you were the oldest and coolest kid in elementary school? It was that year that I had my first “sex education” talk in school, learning about the birds and the bees and giggling because I was full of innocence. Everyone has suffered through “the talk” at one point or another, whether it be on the couch with your parents or in school surrounded by your classmates. Now imagine your children, younger siblings, or cousins watching “Teen Mom” episodes as aids to their sex talk. Maybe they are watching the episode in season 1 where Amanda and Gary get into a physical altercation in front of their toddler, or maybe the episode in season 2 where Jenelle spends her time smoking Marijuanna rather than taking care of her son. Whichever episode you choose, it is bound to be filled with inappropriate language and turmoil that does not rightfully depict the life of all teenage mothers. “Teen Mom” is just one example of what reality television has emerged into over the years: a one-sided representation of real life situations, with too much emphasis on superficial issues and material objects, and television stars that are setting an inadequate example for our youth. While reality television accounts for a large portion of T.V. entertainment and exposes the audience to consequences that can accompany irresponsible behavior, the negative effects of these shows on our youth are becoming increasingly profound. Almost every scene is somewhat biased and extremely exaggerated, thus many real-world experiences are misrepresented. As a result, children and young adults are growing up with a skewed idea of reality and beginning to lower their standards. The lifestyles that teenagers and young adults maintain is some what reflective of the celebrities they idolize. This can be detrimental to society as poor role models are being created for the upcoming generations that will one day be running our country. Acknowledging that it is nearly impossible to get rid of certain reality shows altogether, I propose making minor changes to currently aired shows, as well as piloting some new, and more accurate series. One change would be to add more factual and beneficial information to episodes, such as the impact of having to pay for hospital bills and post-delivery costs in “Teen Mom” or announcing what the winner of shows like “America’s Next Top Model” actually receive after the filming stops. Adding a new series that answers universal questions like, “What is the college application process like or what do you learn and experience from volunteering your service in a different country”, would be another way to kick start a new approach to reality T.V. Although these shows would not have as much visual appeal, they would attract a diverse population of viewers from all age groups and demographics. A more precarious solution would be to grant actors more freedom in decision-making processes and minimize the control producers have over the direction of the show by modifying their contracts. This theory would be better pursued by producers and agents, therefore my main focus is on revising current reality series and trying out new ones. Even since the 1940s, the main focus of reality television was to entertain the audience. Although this began with harmless game shows and documentaries on average people, it had evolved into drama-focused and digitally-edited episodes by the 1980s. I agree that this genre of television has some programs, such as Dancing With the Stars and Americas Funniest Home Videos, which are enjoyable to watch and virtually harmless to the actors and the audience. However, the most recently aired programs like Skins and Jersey Shore are nothing more than drinking, fighting, cheating and explicit material for the viewers entertainment. This is partially due to the producers lack of compassion for the well-being of their “actors”, which is why scenes are often