Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TV Reality Shows and Their Impact on Us

These days, we are bombarded with Reality TV shows, that all pretend to be a representation of the real life of some people, generally rich and stupid people, at least that's how they're represented. These people, or if I dare say, these actors, must look better than average people, must be into surgery, walk around half-naked (since they live in villas with swimming pools and also since we're supposed to see them 24/7, huh), know celebrities, are stupid, fight over everything and anything, aspire to become rich and successful by doing nothing, and spend their time having fun, and making drama about minor problems. These are the people that we love watching, that we would secretly want to be.  Reality shows are addictive because they combine this feeling that these people are exceptional, not like us, but at the same time, are not that great after all, since we keep seeing their flaws and since we're in the position that gets to judge. We're trapped in this "I love you, me neither" kind of situation that makes us both jealous of their lives and happy with our own lives. Or if you'd prefer we feel satisfied with ourselves after all, since we're not as stupid, manipulative, or whatever adjective you'd prefer, as them, but in the meantime, we still feel that we're not enough, that we would still want to be like them, and even that we could be an even better version of them, if we were to take their place. 

But the thing is, that we're not. And the other thing is, that we compare our real lives, with these people's faked lives for a reality show, which are fundamentally incomparable... Imagine you were to be filmed in your life, wouldn't you change a whole lot about yourselves, the people around you, your home, your looks, etc.? Because I know I would... I spend most of my time at home without any make-up on, and with some jogging and sweater, not at all the version I show of myself when getting out of my house. I thus just can't imagine how much I would transform myself if I were to be filmed for a show... Probably a lot, since that's what the reality shows' viewers would like to see, and my job would then rely on people liking or hating me, basically, just talking about me... But isn't that sad? To pretend to be something you're not for a living, like an actor, but at the same time without the actors' real life where, at the end of the day, they still have a home, people they love with whom they can stop pretending. But people in reality shows basically live in this fake bubble they've created, they're in fact trapped in it, consciously or unconsciously.

I have many more things to say about Reality TV shows, mostly about the bad messages they send. Be them about being a pregnant teenager, plastic surgery, success, shame, self confidence, money, respect, the objectification of women, the violence, the insults, bullying, etc. But I found some articles that said what I thought in more concrete terms, and with some facts and data as a support to what they say, so I'll just let you read them instead of me repeating what others say better. I suppose you got that even though I get how addictive these shows are, I am a firm believer that those are not just not bringing positive things in our lives, but are actually really threatening to us. I feel that they intimately change our beliefs, our behaviour, as we try to adapt to what these people do in their shows, so that we tend to try and resemble them, in order to avoid being our little selves. But, if these people are acting and pretending to be someone they're not in order to sell better, then why would we want to be the image they show of themselves, since it is simply not who they are? TV reality isn't just about its actors being trapped in a bubble of lies, we too, are trapped in it, and maybe even more than them, since they know they're acting, while what we want is to forget about that and get on living our lives like they pretend to do. So then, to what extent isn't this erasing our grasping of reality? And to what extent isn't this vicious circle not even dangerous for us, since we're lead to think that those dramatic, stupid, pointless and violent behaviours are normal? Even more than normal, that they're the ones in vogue! I'll let you forge an opinion about reality shows by reading the following articles, and I truly hope that you too, like me, feel this need to raise consciousness on what has become a society habit. 

Here is a link to an article posted on the Pacific Standard, and which investigates how much violence is shown in these reality shows, and how much it affects people in real life, to the point where there seems to be a real adaptation of people's lives to resemble as much as possible that of the people they see in reality shows.

The second article I'd like to share is one that was published on Psychology Today called "Is There a Snooki Effect?" and answers to the question of whether TV reality shapes how its viewers see the world. 

The third and the fourth one are not as serious ones, but still tackle with other impacts reality shows can have. The first one talks about how obsessive it can become to watch reality shows:

And the fourth are the results of a survey which point at the key problems of watching such programs:

Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!

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