Man, I hate reality shows

Turns out, there's a perfectly valid reason to feel that way. And it has to do with how women are portrayed, which resonates with this old English major.  Plus, it's politically correct...

The Problem With Women on Reality TV
If your main source of knowledge about women came from reality TV, this is how you’d see the world: a place where your mom is a conniving, deceitful gold digger, your sisters and girlfriends vicious and catty. You would learn that “sisterhood” is a thing of the past, as Pozner puts it—and that girl friendships are not powerful but spiteful. And you’d understand that women were put on this earth to compete for male attention—when, of course, they’re not busy pulling each other’s hair out or lounging half naked in a hot tub.

It’s worth a laugh, except that the implications of that imagery can be serious, as even the trashiest, most scripted reality show can influence how we see the world. Pozner, a journalist and media critic, has devoted much of the last decade to watching, transcribing, and dissecting hour after hour of reality programming, from the desperate waifs on America’s Next Top Model to the gold diggers competing for a washed-up rap star on Flavor of Love. (Transcribing that one, she jokes, was a “particular kind of hell.”) Yet while these shows’ portrayal of men is nothing to write home about, what Pozner concludes is that their portrayal of women doesn’t just reflect outdated stereotypes—it resurrects them. “With few exceptions, [these] shows have framed women as unaware that there is anything more to life than tossing back martinis, lounging in hot tubs, and as Bachelorette Christine suggested, meeting their husbands at the door with dinner and a foot rub ready,” writes Pozner. “I think it’s hard to have this be part of your fundamental years and not have it influence you.”


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