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Women & Reality Televison

Reality Television has become a significant part of pop culture. We tune in every week to see who got into a fight, which competitor is getting kicked off, and most importantly to ingest our weekly fix of drama. I for one see reality shows as a guilty pleasure. It’s something to do after coming home from school after a day of critical thinking. These shows give me a chance to turn my brain off and just watch the often ridiculousness.

The Article I focused on for this blog post was “Singing and Dancing with Gender: Two Essays on Reality TV”. The author explains how reality shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” dramatize the struggles and hardship of the women competitors. In particular on “Dancing with the Stars” the men on the show are seen in a more comical light because society thinks for the most part, men aren’t supposed to be able to be good dancers. But on the other side of the spectrum, the female competitors are seen crying, frustrated, and discouraged. And to add to their discouragement, they have to be pushed, given inspiration and confidence by their male partners.

I agree with the authors take on reality TV. Women are often seen in a bad light. They’re mostly seen as fighting one another over men or what was said about one another. And I for one can admit that is why I tune in every week. And yes I am ashamed of this, but on the other hand it’s entertaining. Our society has become amused by the sight of fighting women which is somewhat hard for me to understand. How did we get to this point? How did we go from the Women’s Liberation Movement to watching Snooki and Sammi duke it out on National television? It baffles me, but I still can’t wait to see the next episode.


  1. hebasha says:

    Now that you mention it, I do notice that many of these reality tv shows do emphasize and are especially attentive to filming women when they are at their breaking point. I notice that the media favors a woman’s tears on such shows, to embody her hardship. It’s far more acceptable for her to cry, to struggle, to get upset because she hasn’t quite grasped her talent, hasn’t passed on to the next round, or is upset with the words of another girl. The media indeed attempts to place women against one another, in looks, smarts, (not so much singing and dancing, since “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars” are competitions after all). But you notice that when women are competing in these talent-based shows, and the audience views a “backstory clip” prior to their performance, you find that women with an upsetting past do indeed cry. Men cry as well, but conditionally; if they have a family back home, if they lost a family member. That seems to be my observation on the matter.

  2. kimmiepie66 says:

    Ah nothing better than a large dose of R.T.V! Personally I find this can be somewhat of a double-edged sword. One one hand we have the entertainment factor, drama, comedy,( OMG!) (OH No She Did Not Just Go There!) moments that keeps us hooked, Like rubber-necking at an accident. However, how much are we really ready to see? I mean who wants to see the carnage and wreckage? Emergency response teams are trained to keep us away from such sights for a reason! its harmful to experience something horrific in nature. It can scar, or worse yet ,desensitize our emotions or reactions to life situations. I realize most of what we see is in fact scripted. I also realize that we are becoming a desensitized society. I blame media (reality t.v) in part for this. We will have everybody sing,dance,race,strip,eat whatever roadkill can be scraped of the grill or windshield,drink to toxic levels,get tatoos and piercings(while sober) swear,split,rip the clothes off one another,beat the hell out of somebody,look for the love of their life (you know its love when you receive the rose).I remember when I read the Running Man by Stephen King. It had me freaked out for days! Now I’m just kinda used to it…….HHMMMMMM?

  3. meerkat93 says:

    Unfortunately I think that we have become desensitized to nearly everything as TV escalates in an attempt to constantly out-do itself and have the most interesting, eye-catching show. This means nearly everything is over-the-top, and I have noticed that men are portrayed as thoughtlessly violent in many cable shows while women are emotional trainwrecks on reality TV. The violence men engage in on TV is so gory it is almost comical to a frequent viewer (I can’t even think of any ways some shows could possibly be MORE bloody) while for women, a few tears was once dramatic, but now to catch people’s eye you need the women on the show to scream, wail, sob, cry, tear at another girl’s clothes, and basically lose their mind to be so much as mildly interesting to the desensitized viewer (the poster above me is absolutely correct in describing the activities people on reality TV have done to gain viewers for their shows).

    Then, after watching these shows, we begin to think that being unfeelingly, mercilessly violent is the norm for men and being unbelievably, dysfunctionally emotional is the norm for women, and it polarizes and dramatizes real emotions on a grand scale. Just realizing that what we see on TV ISN’T real will help break these falsehoods down. More power to you for enjoying these shows but not blurring reality TV with reality.

  4. Stephanie Jones says:

    It’s not just reality TV; it’s the media in general. Music, movies, magazines, scripted TV shows…everything. We have come to expect things to be overdramatized whether it’s a celebrity’s nonexistent baby bump to the party culture glorified in a lot of today’s popular music. Perhaps reality TV does do it better than any other facet of the media, but it’s still only one offender amongst many.

    With the media throwing overdramatized images at us from all directions, it’s hard not to get sucked in, if only a little bit. This is precisely why I don’t think you should be ashamed of enjoying it. Quite simply, it’s entertainment. Entertainment that perpetuates stereotypes and often objectifies women, but entertainment nonetheless. Snooki is the train wreck we just can’t help but watching.

  5. willisjm says:

    Reality TV had me by its grasp for a while at one point in time too. I think I watched these shows as a form of entertainment but I was also amazed at what kinds of things people would do for the camera. As sad as it is, these shows have taken over leaving very few programs that possess substance. I even kind of miss the days when a “talk show” was a “talk show”. Jerry Springer has made this particular genre a sheer mockery as well. There are few “talk shows” where sincere concerns of the American public are allowed a platform for discussion. Reality shows are entertaining but damaging as well.

  6. skatiba says:

    Reality TV was considered a new type of drama years ago but now it is considered as part of the norm of drama TV. I agree that many of the reality TV provide one of the most nonsense and ridiculous entertainment for all type of people but yet it is one of the most successful I believe it has to do with people curiosity and love to gossip even if no one would admit it. Reality TV provides people the ability to talk about other people, which are considered gossip, in a forum that is acceptable by society. We are entertained by watching other people trial and error, failing and succeeding. Again the entertainment enterprise had to put the image of women in its most stereotypic way. I believe many of such shows are not worthy of watching regardless of how entertaining they are to us. All the TV networks would not continue to broadcast such shows and make new ones unless we are encouraging them by our continuous following of the shows, glued to our seat with our eyes taped open in front of our TV screens.

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