Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Educator, Author

Reality Bites Back

I’m reading the book Reality Bites Back right now. One of the things that the author, Jennifer Pozner finds most troubling about reality TV is the way that it represents both women and men and their value and dreams. Think about The Bachelor, twenty-five women meet one guy who they really know nothing about expect that he’s handsome and (usually in these scenarios) has plenty of money, and they’re all supposed to vie for his love? This is reality? I don’t know anyone in real life who would go to the extremes that these ladies do to try to have a relationship with someone who they don’t even know.

And the men are a shallow “prince charming” who aren’t required to do anything but have looks and money. Do we share any interest? Who cares, you’re loaded. Do we have the same goals in life? Goals, what are those? The whole thing is a sham that promotes the idea that women are just out to get married and as long as the man is handsome and rich, that’s all that matters. The idea that a man could make-out with 10 different women and then really be in love with one at the end is ludicrous, as is the fact that real women would put up with that. Who wants to go on the group date? Anyone? The whole thing is like a nightmare. Pozner explores reality TV from the beginnings of the genre until now, focusing on different programs, their premises, and the messages that the send. She delves into the social context of these messages and their meaning for us as a whole.

This promotion of a twisted fairytale degrades both men and women. The idea that relationships are built on mutual trust, common interests and shared goals can be found nowhere in the reality TV paradigm. So then, what’s real about these shows anyway? If you’re interested in reading more about this, I recommend this book. It’s funny, well-written and insightful. Pozner takes on big networks and their promotion of “reality” and does it in a winning way. Check it out.

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