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Reality TV Deciphering the Impacts and Stereotypes

With a growing number of dynamic talk shows, it is important to understand how they impact the audience, the society, the production staff and most importantly the television culture. A number of crit...

With a growing number of dynamic talk shows, it is important to understand how they impact the audience, the society, the production staff and most importantly the television culture. A number of critics argue that reality TV makes use of people by molding them into peculiar characters such that they are excluded from the public sphere. The television in turn is able to gain ratings from the resultant hype which mostly occurs at the cost of our cultural values and identities.

This ostentatious depiction of reality is more of a representation of fictional characters that threatens to merge the boundaries between real and fake; than real life. It is worth mentioning here that reality TV producers make use of a plethora of techniques in order to craft interesting and often conflicting stories and stereotypes. The result is that this outlandish behavior and its marketing earns them maximum exposure and revenues. While some shows have been known for showing gender stereotypes, there are others that depict a relentless stereotype against homosexuals. What the public is unable to decipher is that these minority roles are in fact scripted characters and the depiction of their personalities in real life is practically impossible. The impact of this type of reality TV stereotyping on the viewers is that they tend to react by favoring their own race. The element of racial stereotype and its preference is so common in reality TV that studies have found a strong racial preference in the famous show – American Idol.

For the television generation, a combination of different stereotypes and racial preferences is a matter of concern as it threatens the concept of national identity. In addition, if reality TV producers were to consider the racial preferences then this accommodation would eventually result in an under representation of minorities. So what is the impact of reality TV on our lives?
Studies have revealed that the racial composition of the viewers of reality TV and in particular of programs such as American Idol plays a significant role in determining the race of the contestant who will be voted off. For instance, producers for such programs generally make use of biased contestant composition in order to influence the final voting outcomes and also to gain the maximum viewer ratings. This is often used to create a sense of urgency amongst the viewers. In addition, teens and children who watch reality TV are prone to accept and expect higher levels of drama and bullying. For young girls especially, the impact is felt in how they learn to perceive their worth primarily based on physical appearances. In addition, greater propensity of aggression is also found amongst such individuals.

It would be unfair however to suggest that the entire impact of reality television has been negative. While there are certain factors which we have come to accept, there are several others such as an increased awareness regarding social issues that cannot be ignored. A number of individuals claim that reality TV brings to life factors that are inspiring. The role of reality TV as a motivational and a learning tool therefore cannot be denied. What’s more important is that with different backgrounds and cultures being highlighted, people learn to accept these differences and to value them. Regardless of the fact that reality TV has changed the television culture, one cannot sideline the growing responsibility of this domain. With greater number of teens and children who are following reality TV, the need is to allow them to decipher facts from fiction. At the community and societal levelFeature Articles, there is a critical need to educate the viewers about separating their lives from the entertainment world.

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