Friday, December 3, 2010
Aside from reality shows where people actually must have a skill--like Project Runway or the Chef shows--I'm not a fan of reality TV, in fact I only watch PR if I remember to and because I love Tim Gunn. But a new book by Jenifer Pozner, "Reality Bites Back" brings up the issue of how women are portrayed in reality TV shows and the genre doesn't make it out unscathed. She points out that any reality show is far from real--each cast is carefully selected, and Pozner points out, women rarely make it past the editing room without perpetuating derisive stereotypes. Pozner writes in an article for Women's News website (http://www.womensenews.org/story/books/101203/reality-tv-does-real-hit-job-womens-brains):
"It's a time-tested bait-and-switch: smart, professionally independent women become more successful by playing the part of the silly, dependent dimwit in the media. The phenomenally accomplished 'I Love Lucy' star Lucille Ball, the first woman to head a Hollywood production company, is probably the most famous TV example. Reality producers may have cut their teeth on 'dumb blonds,' but they want viewers to believe female stupidity knows no racial limits."
Here's a fantastic clip, breaking down how reality tv is edited (I should warn you the last 5 seconds are not appropriate, but by then you'll have gotten the idea and can stop it if you like): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBwepkVurCI
So I think the reason reality TV is so pervasive is something brought up in class--it's cheap, and therefore easy to import, export, distort and watch to make us feel better about our own reality.