Written by: Tandrea Elmore
A key ingredient in reality TV shows is the humiliation and drama of the "actors." Viewers are exposed to and revel in the shaming of the actors. Drama and embarrassment are often mandatory for success in the world of reality TV. The target audience for most reality shows is mostly young girls and teens. This demographic is led to the conclusion that humiliation is a necessary step in which to reach their goals and be successful in real life. Because most viewers believe what they are watching is actual "reality," viewers make a connection with the actors on screen and thus begin acting the same manner as those on the shows. Reality shows are semi-scripted. Although the actors are not given scripts or told to act in a certain way, the show's producers have creative control and can edit the program to alter or distort the actions of the stars. This creative control is often found in the stars' contracts, allowing the produces to change how the audience will see the actors.
With that said, we are in the times where Reality TV has taken over the airwaves and our homes. Though many of us may tune in weekly to watch shows like Real Housewives, Bad Girls Club, and Jersey shore, I hope that it is for the entertainment of television and not idealizing or glamorizing these women and their lifestyles. These women have allowed cameras into their homes to tape their every move, but we must remember and make it clear to these young ladies, at the end of the day, things are edited to capture the audience's attention and produce ratings. Even if you are not a mother, as women, we must instill in the young ladies, and we encounter essential values of being a woman. I can remember my mother and grandmother telling me as a little girl, little girls should be seen and not heard, or a little girl should always act like a young lady. It was thought, at no time should you be loud or older people would say "loose." It seems as though those values have been lost somewhere along the way. It does not seem as though these values are not passed down to the next generation. It is not their fault, but we must regain them before they are truly lost.
Several factors play into this; some mothers are working multiple jobs and long hours to provide for their families. They are the sole provider of the family or a single parent; this leaves young girls home watching these reality television shows, and the TV characters are becoming their perception of a woman and these behaviors are acceptable. On the other hand, what actions are the adult women in their family and community displaying to these young girls…. is it similar to the behaviors exhibited on these reality shows? I am not saying it is wrong for girls to view celebrities as role models, because many idealize Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and other positive women in the spotlight who are positive women doing positive things for the community. However, it should be made clear these women are still human and will make mistakes as we all will, but we should provide our young ladies with the core values and qualities many of our mothers and grandmothers provided us with through their actions.
We have to be careful and know who our young ladies are looking up to now. It’s crucial for women to demonstrate “lady-like” behavior. It is our job as women to provide positive influences on the path of our young ladies. It is very disheartening to turn on the television or log on to the world wide web to see the many video uploads of girls(young and old) fighting each other and someone video-in and often narrating for as though they were cave people or animals. What have the times evolve to, and where is it headed? It is the personal obligation of every woman to be a positive figure in the community, as you never know what young lady is watching you.