Reality TV

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Purpose of the present paper

When first faced with the presence of others, we commonly seek information about them or aspire to bring into play information already possessed. We establish interest in such things as their socioeconomic status, their conceptions of self and their attitudes towards us. Once informed, we are able to produce desired responses based on our actions. If unacquainted with other individuals, it is not uncommon that we study their demeanour, conduct or clothing in order to provide basis for untested stereotypical perceptions (Goffman 1959). In accordance, we employ such things as proper attire, manner and language for given social settings. As discussed by Erving Goffman (1959), many crucial facts lie beyond this initial interaction or perceptions of others.

In order to experience the true attitudes and beliefs of others we must move past this facade that in fact places the individual within a stereotypical group. This approach can be further applied in the growing presence of, so called, real, unscripted media programs. Shows such as Jersey Shore, Survivor and Big Brother, are categorized as reality television programs. Accordingly, these programs are deemed absent of characters and therefore play into our societal expectations of whom and what type of people will be included (Paul and Wooten 1988). One may find that when individuals are in the immediate presence of others, as in the case of reality television members or contestants, their activities will be based on a promissory character. These characters may be produced in order to make others think highly or negatively towards them for the purpose of adhering to the media needs; that is, to accumulate viewers and implement societal values. This paper...

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... reality TV brings about many controversial issues; for example, issues such as bigamy, drug addiction, teen pregnancy and criminal behaviour. One of the most renowned controversial arguments emphasises society’s replacement of social life in its entirety. Watching others live their lives on TV constitutes a significant part of our existence (Murray and Ouellette 2009). As we put aside those issues that trouble us in order to replace them with those of others. One might assume that programs such as “Cops”, “Intervention” and “16 and Pregnant” make us feel better about ourselves, allowing us to dilute the severity of our misfortunes by comparing them to those of others. If we are to experience the same fate we may even look to reality TV for guidance. Ultimately, reality TV has become entrenched in society’s behaviour and in the individual’s depiction of self.

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