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The Truth About “Reality”

November 9, 2011

I’ve written in several of my “Wildcard Wednesdays” about things that make my hair explode.  You probably realize by now that my hair doesn’t actually explode – but certain topics do get me riled up.  And, some reality T.V. shows do just that.

“Why?” you may ask, do I let something like T.V, shows get me all riled up.  Well, that’s because I know that T.V. influences the way we think about and perceive our own reality.  And, the younger the viewer, the more distorted the perception can become.  Don’t believe me?  Then perhaps you might believe research conducted by the Girl Scouts (girls ages 11 – 17).  Here’s a link to some of their latest research and the negative influence that some (not all) of these shows have on young girls in particular:

The gist of the report is that, yes, reality T.V, does have a negative impact on young women – which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. And, sadly, some adults (parents!) don’t see it as that big of a deal. This is probably primarily due to the fact that most adults know or understand that the reality shows are actually scripted, but young people don’t necessarily understand or know this and are therefore more influenced by, believe in and mimic the behaviors they watch.  If all they watched were shows like “Extreme Makeover” and “American Idol”, this would be one thing.  But the fact that “Jersey Shore” is a favorite sends me to my bed with the vapors.

Reading the report, what really set me ablaze was this finding: “One of the troubling findings of this study is that reality T.V. shows seem to promote questionable behavior, appearing to compel girls to act out stereotypes like being catty and competitive and fighting among themselves for guys’ attention.  Girls understand that reality shows depict unhealthy relationships, but they don’t always understand that these kinds of behaviors aren’t and don’t need to be the norm. As long as girls think that other girls can’t be trusted and that it’s necessary to fight and beat out others in order to “win” the affection of a romantic interest, they will continue to engage in actions like those above.”

This brings me to my final point and question:  Just where are the parents of these girls who consume copious amounts of T.V. trash – uh, I mean reality shows – and why aren’t they concerned about what their CHILDREN are viewing?? Really, people (people parents in particular).  Pay attention and care.

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