The Real Effects of Reality TV

by MARGARET SPAETH '23

The average person makes about 35,000 choices a day, and for many of us, one of those choices is what to watch. What piques our interest? Drama. Whether you like to admit it or not, many of us love others’ drama. Strangers' lives are portrayed as exciting and intoxicating, full of love, fights, and schemes, all compiled into 30-minute segments released for the world to see.


Reality TV is an addicting drug targeted directly towards a young audience. This influence can go even beyond a mental fixation and directly affect our lives.


For example, Keeping Up with the Kardashians centers around a dramatic and wealthy family, and as their platform grew, their brand deals followed. The family advertised for many products, many of which were pointless or second rate. But because the Kardashians were so influential and popular, fans all around the world flocked for the item and company sales boomed. Many family members even went on to start their own brands, such as Kylie Cosmetics. The success of these brands is attributed mostly to their pre-existing fame, allowing them to overcharge for cheaply made products that impressionable consumers would happily purchase.


Continuing on, the concept of real beauty is another major presser on modern society. As an audience, we tend to idolize the people featured in reality TV as the model for objective beauty. Because of this, we often discredit our own unique features, creating this concept that we’re not beautiful if we don’t have lips like Kylie Jenner or a body like Kim Kardashian. The effects of this mindset are simply detrimental. This crippled confidence has, in drastic cases, led people to pay large sums of money to reshape themselves in an attempt to mimic the bodies of others or meet societal expectations. The beauty standard is specifically pernicious for young girls and boys. A race to reach, in many cases, unachievable expectations can lead to unhealthy and unsafe habits in eating or lifestyles.


All in all, the reality TV programs centered around the drama in strangers' lives not only affects the audience's concept of beauty, but also clouds people's reasoning in everyday life.


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