Reality Television is everywhere in the media. On the cover of magazines, tabloids, and entire segments on news programs are dedicated to diagnosing the latest episode of reality programming.
While many say it is good for society to watch these reality shows, critics of reality TV believe that it is detrimental to our culture.
Jennifer Pozner is a media critic, lecturer and founder and executive director of Women In Media & News (WIMN), a women’s media analysis, education and advocacy organization. Pozner is also the author of the book Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Reality TV. In an interview with www2.macleans.ca Pozner describes the fakeness of reality TV and it’s creation of massive stereotyping:
Reality TV is showing us the same kind of misogyny but they’re glorifying it and they’re pretending that it’s real. What we see in reality television is the remarkable success of reality TV producers creating a fictitious world and packaging it to us as if it’s reality, a world that the most ardent fundamentalists have always tried to achieve, one in which women’s rightful place is in the home, and women who have independence are scorned and will die alone, and in which the only role for fathers is financial provision and if they are stay-at-home parents they’re wimps and sissies and not real men, a world in which people of colour exist only as male buffoons, thugs and pimps, and female whores and the Jezebel and Sapphire stereotypes.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, “Lessons from Oprah: 7 Reasons Why Reality TV is Good for You” offers seven reasons why TV is good for the public and why people should watch it. The author, Christy Miles, is a creative director, teacher and creativity/writing coach. Miles has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in Professional Writing from Purdue University. Her article gives multiple reasons why reality TV is good including:
1. You’ll sound less old.
2. Get more street cred.
3. Be less shell-shocked by the “real world” when you see it.
4. Reality TV is a self-esteem boost and stress relief.
5. Reality TV provides many teachable moments for kids.
6. It’s guilt-free, budget-friendly fun.
7. Reality TV gives us something to talk about.
Both Pozner and Miles present valid points in arguing for and against reality TV. Pozner presents the point that “reality” TV is not real and creates massive stereotyping in society. Miles defends reality TV in seven different points and concludes that reality TV is harmless fun, giving the world something to talk about.
Either way, both sides give reality TV producers exactly what they want, controversy.