Thoughts on Reality TV
This semester I am taking a Special Topics class on Reality TV. The main focus of the class is to analyze this genre and consider the stance on race, gender, class, culture, and sexuality. I don't think most people realize just how stereotypical, and often times biased, all of these shows are, and that it's feeding a plethora of unhealthy mindsets.
I just submitted my first assignment for the class, which was a less than two minute video clip of "Gypsy Sisters" demonstrating an aspect from the assigned reading. Needless to say, the short clip was mind-blowing on how stereotypical the women are being portrayed. What woman in their right mind would be cleaning the house in jeans, belt, belly-showing shirt, make-up, nicely done hair, long fake nails, bling out the wazoo, and calling it a party?! Now I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but come on! Oh, and lets not talk about the only children present in the kitchen are little girls. They have sons, because I've seen them on other episodes (Yes I'm admitting to a past guilty pleasure of watching the show) but they are no where to be seen during the cooking and cleaning process.
I had not realized when I was a simple viewer of the show just how stereotypical the show was. In less than two minutes the women of the show displayed domesticity to the most extreme degree. I'm not saying that domesticity is a bad thing, if that's what trips your trigger then kudos because I'm not that person. But in true reality TV fashion it is over-exaggerated, dramatized, and sickeningly stereotypical.
The class will focus on "Survivor" a little later in the semester but for now we're exploring the genre as a whole, and wow it's already proving to be interesting. So, the next time you watch a "reality" TV show, pay close attention to the message being conveyed through the people. Everything from how they act, what they say, how they dress, what they do on a "normal" day, and what they eat can mean so much more than you think.