Reality? or Scripted?

By: Tai

American society today, spends almost half their lives captivated by electronics. T.V. shows control the outlook on how we view society, and life; causing our decisions to be muffled by what’s truly our own thinking, or propaganda. Many people today find themselves caught up with the trend of reality T.V. shows. Is it truly a reality to what occurs in those T.V. shows; or is it partly scripted? Why is it that we human beings are so entranced by the lives of other people? My topic proposal can be summed up to why reality television is worthy of note in society today, and how reality television can affect the viewers psychologically with their decisions.

Just to pinpoint some television shows, I immediately thought of the two shows 16 and Pregnant, and The Real World. These two shows have been on air for years because of their popularity. The show 16 and Pregnant follow the lives of several pregnant teenagers, and the trials and tribulations that they have to go through. This show begins with how the girl got pregnant, her decision to keep or place the baby for adoption, and the relationship problems that she has to deal with. Due to the success of 16 and Pregnant, this show spawned a spin-off show called Teen Mom; a continuation of the “adventures” of being a mom at the same time of being a teenager.

The show The Real World, is a “reality” show that follows the lives of approximately 12 adults who are chosen to live in a specific city, and live together in one house. The members of the house are co-ed, and range from all sorts of people; people who prefer same-sex, people who are afraid of same-sex couples (some refer this as homophobic), religious people, and even senseless people. The Real World claims to be unscripted, because the adults are given freedom to do whatever they please. They can go find a job, they can attend social gatherings as much as they please.

These shows seem to over-portray reality. I personally do not think that The Real World is how “the real world” truly is. To me, it seems more of like an extreme to what the real world is. It gives teenagers an outlook that once they graduate high school, and enter the real world, their lives will be full of parties, sex, and being wild. Yes, for a small percentage of people, that may be true, but the rest of the population will be working, in school, and living a normal life.

Truly though, what is a normal life? Is it the expectations that we put in front of us because of what we see in reality T.V.? I want to delve deeper into how teenagers’ decisions are muffled by the influence of reality T.V. The National Center for Health Statistics states that 86 percent of mothers who give birth without being married are teenagers. Along with these teen mothers, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reported that only 40 percent of teenage mothers push to graduate high school.

Is it viewed as being socially cool to be a teen mom these days? Do these reality shows show that teenagers can have kids, can raise them, and still be perfectly fine? Or are these shows somehow bringing the fact that teenagers today, need to prevent and stay away from being parents? It seems thought that these reality shows do not reiterate that fact that they are for or against being teen mothers. They just want to exploit these teenagers on T.V. so the world can find some sort of amusement.

I think that these examples fall into our category of Popular Culture, because that’s what we are fascinated with today. These reality shows are marketed towards the audience to strive to live the life that is being portrayed. Just like we discussed the Power Models in class, I feel like reality T.V. shows (entertainment) are the tip of the triangle (Power Model), and society is the lower, bottom part. These T.V. shows have a say in how our society works, and how they can influence our society. We (the society) take in what is fed to us, and strive to set what’s portrayed on television as closely as possible in our lives.

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