Women & the World of Reality Television
I have a love-hate relationship with reality TV
I cannot tell a lie, I was a watcher of reality television. I enjoyed the conflict and regularly participated in “Ratchet Mondays”. My friends and I would all pick a house, make some popcorn and tune into the wild shenanigans. As each episode aired, I became more and more amazed by how much of themselves people were willing to sacrifice, just for the fame. Obviously, these individuals aren’t fighting to the death—well, most of the time they’re not—but they are putting a lot into the show.
However, the ones who are hit the most in the reality world are women. Whether she be a desperate housewife or a musician, a woman reveals a lot of herself through reality television. Most of the time, what she reveals isn’t a good thing.
Every time I decided to tune into Ratchet Mondays, there were always a few things that never ceased to amaze me about the women on these shows.
The levels of embarrassment always amaze me about reality television
First are the levels of embarrassment: normal, anticipated and acknowledged. Normal embarrassment might include the things that happen to us on a regular basis; the little mishaps in life that happen just because. Maybe you spilled your coffee everywhere at Starbucks or tripped while exiting the bus. Normal embarrassment includes the things you don’t have control of.
Anticipated embarrassment is when you slightly know what may happen if you do something, but it’s not completely purposeful. Let’s say you had a little too much to drink and acted out at a party—you knew alcohol gets you a little out of control, but, you wanted to have a good time. This is what we have some control over, but do it anyways.
Acknowledged embarrassment is the level the women on reality TV shows are at. What makes this level so tragic is that the more that people know that their embarrassment is being sought after, the more embarrassed they are willing to be. You see grown women throwing tantrums in the middle of the street and flipping over tables in restaurants, just to seek more attention from the audience.
Reality TV thrives so much because of this acknowledged level of embarrassment; people know exactly what they’re doing, they know the outcome, and regardless of how silly they may look they continue with what they’re doing anyway.
One has to understand that these women are getting paid but…is it worth it? Does it really pay off when no matter what you do, there will always be an audience watching your every move? Laughing at your hardships? Sometimes, the things these women go through shouldn’t be advertised as entertainment, but it is, and there is nothing that they can do about it.
Can’t have reality TV without extremes and no privacy
Don’t get me wrong, some of the scenarios that happen on these shows are real. However, there are a lot of scenarios that are obviously pre-determined.
Most of the time, the audience can tell when something is staged and when something is not. These women are willing to hop right into these extreme situations just because their audience views will go up. Yes, the whole point of any show is to receive as large of an audience as possible, but, most of it is done in a fake way. They are putting on a potentially extremely embarrassing performance just to get our attention.
Of course, we as the audience know that a lot of the conflict and cat fights are staged, but, what about the moments when things get real? What happens when a moment is not meant for the viewers to see?
What happens when the extremism doesn’t exist and we are hit with a real situation? Aside from when she goes to the bathroom—and sometimes the cameras even follow them in there—a woman’s entire life is displayed to an audience, non-stop. However, as the cameras are rolling, nobody knows what is going to be included in the next episode and what is not.
Even at the age of 24, I still get nervous even sharing my private life with my mother. How does anyone share everything with complete strangers?
Love & Hip-Hop, the Real Housewives, Bad Girls Club…regardless of the show, women are being aired to the world, no matter what they may be doing. To have millions of eyes watching and judging you for most of your life…that would absolutely drive me insane.
Shout-outs to the women who can take the reality television world
Over the past few years, I have found myself being less and less dedicated to Ratchet Mondays. Of course, I do sometimes chime into an Instagram or Twitter video with a little snippet of the shows, but I can’t sit and watch a full episode anymore. These three points—though I always thought about them—seem to haunt me more now than when I was younger.
As a woman within this society, I will always have eyes watching me, judging my hair, clothing, make-up, everything. Reality television takes this judgment and makes millions off it.
Though these women sign contracts and agree to have their lives followed, in some situations, it looks like all they want is to not have the cameras rolling. No matter what they do or what they go through, an audience will always be present.
Ladies, take care of yourself first, then worry about the rest of the world
Though the reality TV women seem to be pampered and rich, their mental and emotional health are the things that need the most healing. As women, our first instinct is to nurture and satisfy everyone else first, then ourselves.
I want women to be a little selfish sometimes. Try not to worry so much about the audience and learn to disconnect yourself from the addiction of fame. Yes, we all want to be successful, but how much of our sanity is worth it?