Reality Television Affecting Body Image Essay

1881 words - 8 pages

Reality Television Affecting Body Image
Media of today has swallowed lives of the youth as it constantly portrays an image of perfection in which they must live up to. Individuals have seen through reality television and other sources what is categorized as this image. This is shown psychologically as it is not directly stated but represented. The Hills and The Real World, two MTV reality television shows, are provoking public interest showing these wrong images influencing the youth. This is changing the youth, as they are slowly becoming more and more degraded as the generations’ progress.
Our next generation is constantly fighting a battle against reality television shows and their ...view middle of the document...

Audrina was seen in each episode of The Hills, showing off her body, and constantly showing the viewer what was voted as perfection and what it means to be this ‘attractive woman’. This reality TV star was not just in a television program portraying a flawless body image, but all over magazines as well. This media overload of Patridge, aimed at young women, could easily psychologically impact the youth and aid in changing their view of a perfect body image.
Reality television is supposed to have average, everyday individuals who are just like the viewers. But, in order for the reality television shows to make money, they must have attractive individuals with pleasing body images that pull the audience in. Because of this almost completely known fact for reality television, the ‘average, everyday individual’ is merely the opposite. The Hills and Real World both have beginning credits with the cast on a beach in swimsuits, showing off their bodies. Each body, perfectly cut and fit, already portraying an image before the show even begins. Surveys have shown that young “men and women felt significantly less satisfied with their bodies after viewing [the] attractive same-gender” in the media (Grogan). These merely psychological images have engulfed the youth into thinking about their body image after seeing what should be average, but is really close to, if not, a faultless human.
In a show like The Real World, where the title depicts real people in a real setting, the audience watches for equality and comparison. But, even this reality show does not portray this ‘real’ image. Not only is a perfect body shown off in every single episode, starting with the beginning credits, but also their slim, fit figures are displayed in the image advertising their show. The shows leading advertising image is the cast poolside, all dressed in bathing suits, with two ideal women’s beach bodies around a perfectly cut man in direct center (realitytea). This image is psychologically showing unrealistic beauty standards that make people question their own bodies while indirectly giving them an instruction manual on how to change their appearance. Because “viewers see over 5,000 attractiveness messages each year through televised commercials,” like The Real World image, they gain a more negative feeling about themselves due to constant ‘reality’ media overload (Wadsworth).
What reality television stars may not know are the impacts they have on the youth of today and the changes they make in body image. Even their changes in body image to be on the shows impact the youth. For example, Stephanie Pratt, from The Hills acquired bulimia due to the shows expectations and after filming in bathing suits with other cast members. “A major factor contributing to this epidemic was advertising and marketing,” (Hibbs) as this bulimia scandal was all over magazines and the news once Pratt admitted to adopting the eating disorder. This was just another factor “that influenced a...

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