‘’Racial discrimination was fully utilised in Celebrity Big Brother 2007’’. This is exactly why my argumentative essay agrees with the statement written above. Reality shows indeed provide poor models for the younger generation. My topic is about what kind of reality shows are screened on TV and how that influences the younger generation in a negative way. (Reality shows – facts and effects, 2014)
(How to write an argument essay)
Reality shows encourage negative aspects such as promoting sexualisation, overindulgence and irresponsibility amongst youth. What has become acceptable in society is shocking, because it is dramatically lowered, compared to how it used to be. ‘’On average, a teen will watch twenty-eight hours of reality television per week, which is about fifteen thousand hours per year’’ it should come as no surprise then that our generation nowadays has such low standards and morals. This means our generation has constant access to vulgarity, sex, drugs, etc. I also believe that certain reality shows, such as Jersey Shore, The Valleys, The Only Way Is Essex and so on, provide youngsters with a bad image of sexual intercourse and having a relationship. Certain images in reality shows may change the youth’s idea of a normal and healthy relationship.
They may start to impersonate these characters, thinking it is okay to behave the way they do on TV. (Blog #1 – Reality Television Affecting Youth Behaviour, 2013) Something interesting I have noticed, while doing my research is that women seem to be portrayed way more negatively in reality shows than men. So, what exactly is the reason behind this? One reason behind this would be that these so-called ‘’real women’’ only seem to have established the idea that happiness comes with money and materialistic stuff.
Reality shows such as: ‘’Keeping up with the Kardashians, The only way is Essex, Made in Chelsea, etc.’’ seem to have given this idea. And it doesn’t stop there. Another important element that reality shows such as ‘’the Valleys’’ and ‘’Geordie Shore’’ seem to interpret is this Barbie doll image of women, making sure women are afraid of showing of their natural beauty. Also, programmes such as these seem to encourage women to compete against each other, showing of their most unintellectual side. What I am trying to say is that these reality shows seem to dumb down women more than they do men.
Another important point I wanted to discuss, to as why reality shows seem to provide poor role models, is that sadly this has become the perception of nowadays entertainment content on television. Reality shows such as these give people a wrong perception of what’s actually ‘real’. Let’s take for example Toddlers & Tiaras. Sexualizing 3-year olds and making them compete against each other should not be proper entertainment content and yet it has proven to be. They give no hints to making sure that the characters in the shows must provide somewhat of a proper role model to be shown on TV. People seem to not care anymore about that, as long as its entertainment. We, as human beings, enjoy watching other people’s drama and seeing them self-destruct on television.
Let’s not forget the fact that reality shows seem to damage the self-esteem of youngsters from our generation. ‘’A culture of celebrity and television shows such as Big Brother and The Apprentice have impaired the confidence of a generation of British youngsters, according to a survey of 16- to 24-year-olds.’’ according to an article by The Guardian. And I am not surprised at all given the circumstances. Survey has shown that 82% of the youngsters seem to have a damaged self-esteem thanks to the unachievable role models shown on television. These young people are caught between taking the risk of a celebrity culture and looking for a job in a more traditional way. The survey that has been conducted by Teesside University is alarming, because it also shows youth depression going up as they are more and more concerned about job security nowadays thanks to the ‘’risk-it-all-high-flying celebrity culture’’. (Malik, 2011)
Who exactly is to blame for such shows? One might say parents, but I believe that it is not only the parents that are responsible for this. Networks such as MTV and TMZ are so focussed on making profit that they forgot to take a step back and realize what shows such as these do to young adults. Sex, violence, alcohol and drugs are being glorified for fame and fortune. (Blog #1 – Reality Television Affecting Youth Behaviour, 2013) Of course, not everything about reality TV is bad. There are some positive influences we could consider watching these shows.
For example, teen mom and 16 and pregnant seems to portray this image of glamourizing teen mom pregnancy. This does not necessarily have to be the case. Shows such as these could also serve a greater purpose such as a form of high-tech birth control. Watching shows like these makes sure teenagers experience what it is like to go through something like that through someone else’s eyes. ‘’ The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a survey in 2010, in which 87 percent of teens who had watched MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” felt the show educated them about becoming a parent at such a young age. Only 17 percent felt the show glamorized teen pregnancy.’’ (Perritano)
Although ‘’16 and pregnant’’ may have led to a decrease in teen pregnancies, there is a darker side to it. Research shows that teenagers that may have seen a certain similarity with the pregnant teens were more likely to develop a lower perception of their own risk for pregnancy, acceptance of myths about teen pregnancy and more favourable attitude towards teen pregnancies. Also, one of the myths of teen pregnancies is that the father of the child usually stays when a situation like this occurs. In reality, however, most of the fathers do not stay according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy data. This leads to girls having a wrong perception of teen pregnancies. It is way harder than it seems on Television. (Harwood, 2014)
Although some reality shows, such as 16 and pregnant, may have had some positive influence on youngsters these days, it doesn’t mean that the rest of them has the same effect. Like I’ve mentioned before, most reality shows contain a lot of violence, sex, drugs and alcohol, making sure that youngsters develop a wrong perception on these topic and lowering their moral values and standards.
In conclusion, I do not disagree with reality shows in general, but I believe we should air more shows that contain qualitative content for our viewers. We have an overload on programmes such as ‘’the Jersey Shore’’ and a famine of good reality shows like ‘’Myth busters and Extreme makeover: Home edition’’. And that is why reality TV shows provide poor role models for the younger generation. (McKay, 2012)
Blog #1 – Reality Television Affecting Youth Behaviour. (2013, 03 03). Retrieved 12 30, 2014, from savannaqahwaji.wordpress.com/: http://savannaqahwaji.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/blog-1-reality-television-affecting-youth-behaviour/ Etaghene, K. K. (2012, 12 13). Do Reality TV Shows Produce Negative Female Role Models? Retrieved 12 26, 2014, from voice-online.co.uk: http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/do-reality-tv-shows-produce-negative-female-role-models Harwood, L. (2014, 03 25). UA Researcher Finds Negative Impact of MTV Show ’16 and Pregnant’. Retrieved 12 30, 2014, from http://uanews.org/: http://uanews.org/story/ua-researcher-finds-negative-impact-of-mtv-show-16-and-pregnant How to write an argument essay. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 26, 2014, from homeworktips.about.com: http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/argument.htm Malik, S. (2011, 08 11). Reality TV ‘harming young people’s confidence in job market’. Retrieved 12 26, 2014, from theguardian.com: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/aug/05/reality-tv-harming-youngsters-confidence McKay, H. (2012, 10 25). ‘Cake Boss’ vs. ‘Real Housewives’: Not all reality TV shows are bad for kids. Retrieved 12 30, 2014, from foxnews.com: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/10/25/cake-boss-vs-real-housewives-not-all-reality-tv-shows-are-bad-for-kids/ Perritano, J. (n.d.). What is reality TV’s influence on culture? Retrieved 12 30, 2014, from http://people.howstuffworks.com/: http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/tv-and-culture/reality-tvs-influence-on-culture2.htm Reality shows – facts and effects. (2014, 11 27). Retrieved 12 26, 2014, from targetstudy.com: https://targetstudy.com/articles/reality-shows-facts-and-effects.html