According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word “reality” means the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. If this were true, then why is every Reality Television star what society would deem as “perfect”?
Here’s what the research proves.
According to a recent article from Dove, Reality Television is becoming increasingly dangerous for young people. The Girl Scout Research Institute conducted a study in the US revolving around the impact of Reality TV on young girls. Eight out of ten girls who regularly watched Reality TV shows believed these programmes depict real life and are unscripted.
The article discusses the impact Reality TV has on young people, especially children. This surprised me because most people only concentrate on the digital impact on personal identity and perfection with teenagers. For younger children, however, it is important to remember that they don’t know how much Reality Television is not reality. So, is the phenomenon of Reality Television ruining our self-esteem?
“The truth is that reality TV is anything BUT reality”
I also recently read an article by Cosmopolitan which discussed the impact Love Island has on its viewers. Fans of the show often tweeted how watching Love Island had ruined their self-esteem. This string of tweets shocked me so much I had to include them here.
Seeing the girls bodies on love island literally makes me want to starve myself ?— Livvy Mcalpine (@LivvyMcalpine) June 5, 2018
Trying to enjoy love island but all I can think about is how fat I am— Amelia (@ameliafernley) June 4, 2018
Any other girls feeling like a fat pig whilst watching love island ?— liv harrison (@oliviaharriso11) June 4, 2018
The article uses the phrase “crashing self-esteem” to refer to the effects Reality Television has on our self-esteem, which I found to be very tragically true. Even if we try not to compare ourselves to the stars of Reality TV, I feel like we just do.
The Cosmo article also points out how none of the Love Island stars have “rolls” or wear high waisted bikinis. Something I do remember from this year’s series of Love Island, however, was when Samira Mighty talked about her opinions on her body image. She felt intimidated by some of the other Islanders. This seemed to be a revelation for Reality TV as the response of viewers became more positive. Audience members argued it was influential for these points to be raised in the show.
Reality Television has us all fooled.
It is clear to see that Reality Television is the ultimate illusion maker. Despite constantly being damaged by fake stereotypes and scripted behavior, audiences still believe they are watching their role models,
As much as we may enjoy watching our favourite B-list celebrities under constant surveillance, it is important to remember to remind ourselves that not everything we see on Reality TV is actually real.
Producers often choose stereotypically “perfect” looking people for their shows. It is important to remind ourselves to be aware of this fact. They are not representative of how most people look.
We can also take away from this that although seeing this content may be damaging, it could also have a positive effect too.
Seeing perfectly toned bodies or people with exciting social lives may encourage us to try and better ourselves. It can also be possible however to simply enjoy Reality Television, without feeling the need to compare ourselves to the stars we watch.
Let me know which Reality Television shows you have watched and whether you think they are realistic. I am also going to be posting a series of polls over on my Twitter this week so make sure you come and get involved!