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The Stigma Surrounding Reality Television Essay

2052 words - 9 pages

The Stigma Surrounding Reality Television
ENG 122: English Composition II
April 17, 2011

The word moral is defined as an act of relating to, expressing, or teaching principles of right and wrong in behavior (Moral 2011). The word value is defined as relative worth, utility, or importance in oneself (Value 2011) The word reality is defined as a real event, entity, or state of affairs; the totality of real things and events (Reality 2011). In today’s society reality television has such a great influence over the younger generation, and for the most part not in a positive way. The majority of the reality show programs shown on television showcase a lack of moral and values that are ...view middle of the document...

The people on this reality show have different words that stand for a variety of things that have become the slang used among the youth. For example, grenades mean ugly girls or guys, guido or guidette is a pejorative term and reinforces negative stereotypes, (Harris, M., 2010), G.T.L is an acronym for gym, tan, and laundry, (Harris, M., 2010). A juice head gorilla (Anonymous, 2011) is described as male Italians that are tan, muscular, and tall, and D.T.F is an acronym for down to fornicate. Even before the reality show aired on MTV on December 9, 2009, organizations like The New Jersey Sons of Italy, NIAF, and the Unity Neighborliness Integrity, Charity, and Opportunity (UNICO), an Italian-American organization based in Fairfield, New Jersey, tried to get television network MTV to cancel the show, because of all the negative ways the show displays Italian-Americans and residents of the state of New Jersey (Anonymous, 2010). Residents of Seaside Heights, New Jersey are also appalled with the reality show, because they feel as though the show has brought a negative stigma to their city. They do not want people who are not Italian-Americans, or who do not live in New Jersey to think that all people who live there and are of Italian descent are what we are shown on television. A lot of people are asking why are the cast members even famous in the first place, because they do not do anything productive in their day-to-day life. New Jersey State Assembly man Ralph Caputo (D-28) also expressed his displeasure with MTV for airing the show. "The show is an attack on Italian Americans altogether and its end result is stereotyping," Caputo said. "One would like to think that MTV would have higher programming standards than this." (Anonymous, 2009). Jenny DiMino the wife of UNICO president Andre’ DiMino, contacted MTV CEO Judy McGrath and asked that the television network to cancel the reality show, which resulted in various people to send angry messages to the network about the way Italian-Americans are portrayed. MTV has failed to apologize for the way Italian-Americans are portrayed on their reality show, but they removed the words “guido” and “guidette” from advertising for the show. In recent seasons of the reality show, MTV has removed flags and any other symbolic things that represent the Italian race, but not before major sponsors pulled advertising because of the backlash they may receive because of what the show represents (Anonymous, 2009). Since the show has aired cast members went from being paid two thousand dollars, to being paid ten thousand dollars, and have been on various media platforms to promote any projects that they are involved in. The Jersey Shore does not show the cast members consistently working, but they do show constant partying, drinking, and being sexually promiscuous, and that is not the reality of the average responsible young adult.
The television network MTV also has another hit reality show that has received backlash...

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