Girls and Reality TV

Girls and Reality TV

Too much of it makes them aggressive, image-consumed and boy crazy.

People on reality shows have to be divided into types. Editors seem to rely on it. Men are macho bros that wear baseball caps and polo shirts, hyper-competitive to the point of insanity, quirky dudes that pretend that they don’t really want to be on reality television. Perhaps these portrayals aren’t realistic or flattering, but they aren’t anywhere near as bad as the way reality TV treats women.

Reality women are typically sluts. Even if they aren’t particularly interested in sex, they are still sluts. Or power bitches. Women that paint on their lipstick and then smack down anyone who gets in their paths. Anyway, they aren’t there to make friends. There are the pathetic women who are not typically beautiful—i.e. fat—who are usually virginal. There’s the woman who is edited as crazy because she knows what she wants and goes after it. The list could go on and on.

Turns out that this stereotyping isn’t part of a harmless ratings stunt. According to the Girl Scout Research Insitute, young girls who watch a lot of reality TV believe that their lives will include more instances of bullying, aggression and drama. These girls also measure their self-worth by their looks more than peers who do not watch as much reality TV.

The statistics of perceptions of girls who watch reality TV shows versus those who don’t are striking. 78-percent of girls who watch reality TV think that gossiping is a normal part of a relationship between girls, while only 54-percent of their non-reality TV show viewers think the same. These girls are more likely to believe that women and girls are in competition with one another, rather than supportive of each other.

Girls who watch a lot of reality TV also think it’s more important to compete for the attention of boys’ than their peers, and are more likely to believe that being in a relationship makes girls happier.

Perhaps most discouraging is the added emphasis girls who watch a lot of reality television put on the value of their apperances. A whopping 72-percent of reality TV viewers say that they spend a lot of time on their appearances. In comparison, only 42-percent of their peers would agree.

And we thought reality TV was mindless, not harmful. Perhaps if girls are going to watch reality TV, they should be watching shows like Top Chef in which women are capable and are valued for more than their appearance.