Why Reality TV Promotes False Stereotypes
Millenials are known as the generation of television and with that comes the popularity of certain types of shows. Reality TV is definitely one of them. One example is the MTV show jersey shore. A reality tv show with 20 something italian american showing ridicules, immature behavior. Making it seem that they are saying that italian americans as stupid. Reality tv shows are showing more and more ways of how people should look and act based on their background. Reality tv should strive to be more balanced and realistic because it currently promotes dangerous stereotypes against people and promotes unrealistic images of beauty.
Italian americans is not the only target when it comes to reality tv. One other major stereotype frequently shown are people from the south. Such shows, like honey boo boo, swamp people, and Hillbilly Handfishin, think they represent a new insight into Southern culture, but what they really represent is “a typecast South: a mythically rural, white, poorly educated and thickly accented region that has yet to join the 21st century”(Cox, 2019). These stereotypical representations insult those who live in the region and know that there is a more diverse South. “We’ve been here before, with The Dukes of Hazzard and Green Acres—and it’s no surprise that more than one production company wants to take us back there”. “Producers seek to portray the South as culturally foreign to the rest of America, and they choose characters or remote locations that reinforce this image”(Catlin 2019).
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Another big group that is wrongly presented with false stereotypes s is the LGBTQ community. Shows like Playing It Straight are a symptom of heterosexual America’s collective guilt, our sense as a culture that we are not. playing straight with the gay community. They evince gay reality shows to be more cruel and mean hearted. These shows do not show the real lives of homosexuality people. “[On reality] dating shows … gay men function principally as romantic pariahs, the surprise Old Maid Card hidden in the deck of boy-girl romance, and are not portrayed as desiring beings”.(Link.galegroup.com, 2019). “What’s saddest about shows like Playing It Straight is their cheerfully apolitical disavowal of the actual lives of gay people, their staging of a context-free erotic competition that is utterly disconnected from any—dare I say it?—reality outside the gates of Sizzling Saddles” (Slate Magazine, 2016).
Looking at shows like the bachelor and the kardashians, young teenagers, mostly young girls, are learning harmful stereotypes on beauty. Women are watching reality tv shows like the bachelor and seeing how they should act and look . Women in shows like these are usually white and privileged and skinny. “After sampling all the wares, he rejects them one by one until he has chosen the one he likes best. It’s not unlike a 4-H competition of prize heifers, except the women weigh less and get to go to fancy resorts. Nor is it unlike the inspections in 19th-century slave pens, except that the women are mostly white, privileged and, I’m sorry to report, there of their own free will”(Link.galegroup.com, 2019). many of these shows evince idealizing beauty and thin bodys. Making it seem like their value is all on appearance and popularity is driven on beauty. “A report from the Parents Television Council in the US (2011) found disturbing evidence of the messages teenage girls in particular are getting from reality shows. Only 24% of what women said about themselves on reality TV was positive, and overall, women were more disparaging than men when talking about themselves or someone else of their own gender”(Dove UK, 2016).
One good effect that reality tv has is its way of showing the light on social issues. “For instance, they have played a very important role in enhancing the women empowerment in society” (Myessaypoint.com, 2017). Shows like the little couple, who is about a women who is a medical director at a children’s hospital and works alongside with her husband and her two children. Even though this is a much important issue shown, there is still way more popular reality tv shows that present bad habits. Tv is a great place to present sex, physical violence, and profanity. Philip Ross of International Science Times garnered some studies that showed “145 students from a university were surveyed based on reality television consumption. This study concluded that reality television viewers believe that the argumentative and conniving behaviors portrayed on television shows is considered normal in today’s society”(Morgan-White, 2016). Shows like 16 and pregnant can give teens the wrong idea. Shows with gossip drama and bullying can easily be copied. “Some reality TV shows such as Jersey Shore and Bad Girls Club go a step further by adding physical violence to the mix, thus making an even more disastrous impact on the minds and lifestyle of teenagers”(Secureteen.com, 2014).