Sociology of Reality TV

When discussing the Sociology of almost anything, there are 3 categories which one must examine: race, class and gender. These three components are important to analyzes if you want to find answers to why people act they way they do and how these people are represented.

Like most shows on television, reality TV is  “white washed.” Just thinking about the shows I have been discussing, the main characters are almost always white. (With the exception of The Real Housewives: Atlanta) Reality TV is supposed to be real. (Yes, I know its not actually real, but thats besides the point.) So why are races other than white rarely represented? Honestly, thats hard to answer. Check out this opinion piece  on white washing to get a better understanding.

From just an ordinary persons perspective, I would really like to see more diversity. It helps to better understand different cultures and feel like I’m interacting with people I normally don’t encounter.

Side note, check out this really funny video of Blake Shelton on SNL doing a spoof of  the most recent The Bachelor. (He makes fun of how there are rarely black contestants on the show about 20 seconds in.)

As far as class goes, thats is often a spectacle on reality TV. The best example of this is The Real Housewives. Most of these women are extremely wealthy, even before they were cast on the show. A lot of the show centers around lavish vacations these women take and them showing off all that they have. The houses some of these women have are absolutely unbelievable. (Especially my girl Lisa Vanderpump) It is almost like you are partaking in the lives of the elite. Middle class is seldom represented, and if it is, money struggles aren’t really mentioned on the show. (Ironic because thats one of the biggest struggles in “reality”, isn’t it?)

Lower class is often a spectacle as well. These people may actually be middle class, but are portrayed as “less classy.” i.e. Jersey Shore, The Real World etc.

Lastly we have gender. I would say there is equal representations for both genders. However, I would like to see a reality show about transgender people. Most people don’t understand the concept of transgender people and are confused about what it even means. I think this would be a good opportunity to represent and educate about transgender people.

So, why does all of this matter and why am I talking about it? Television can be seen as a reflection of our society, our thoughts, our fads and trends, our ideas etc. However, it is an unfair and a poor represntation of what society actually looks like. Instead, most of what we see is white, straight, middle class people. (Mostly male.)

How do we fix this? Well, its hard for me to answer that. But what I do know, talk about it. When there is an issue in socitey, people talk about it. We talk about why something is unfair and how it should be fixed. The more we talk about the issue of white washing and poor representaion, the more attention it gets. Thus, people who create, direct and cast people in these shows will be forced to do something about it. It is just like politics.

So I will leave you all with this.. if something in life ever bothers you, don’t just sit back and watch it happen. Be proactive. Do something about it. The same can be said about our entertainment. Start a discussion about this issue. We all have the voices to make a change and bring more diversity into this industry.

Keeping Up With Kayla from Kayla Pike on Vimeo.

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Success After 15 minutes of Fame

What tempts people so much that they are willing to expose every secretive, embarrassing and personal aspect of their lives to millions of people? Most of the time, people watch reality TV because it is so ridiculous and people like to get a good laugh from it. So why put yourself through that? Well, my guess is simple. Fame and fortune can drive people to do just about anything.

 

I was surprised to find out that most reality TV starts don’t actually make as much money as I thought. Typically, it’s just an average salary. (Unless, of course you’re a Kardashian or a popular “housewife”)

When I stumbled upon these salaries it made me really wonder if it was actually worth it. For a Kardashian or Housewife salary sure I would make a fool of myself on TV, but for $30,000 a season before taxes? I don’t know if that’s for me.

But then I started to really think about it. That’s not really all they are getting. They are getting opportunities. After a successful season, theses “stars” get upwards of $20,000 just to make an appearance somewhere or even to tweet about a product. In addition to this, these people now have connections to establish themselves in a lot of different ways. In other words, you can take something you’re actually passionate about, and turn it into something successful that has longevity.

For example, I was watching one of my favorite shows, Vanderpump rules, and I noticed Stassi (one of the main “characters”) always has on really cool necklaces that made her outfits so elegant and fun. I started googling “Stassi from vanderpump rules necklaces” and found out that she has her own fashion blog and collaboration on a jewelry line. I immediately filled up a cart with cool jewelry and now check her blog regularly. If I had to bet, she wouldn’t of had these opportunities if it hadn’t of been for her show.

Reality TV typically only gives you the 15 minutes of fame. However, if you play your cards right, you could end up making a successful business for yourself just like these people did:

  • Lauren Conrad- Show: MTVs Laguna Beach and The Hills Business-Author, designer, spokeswoman
  • Jillian Micheals- Show: The Biggest Loser Business- DVD workouts, diet pills, author established the company Empowered Media
  • Bethany Frankel-Show- The Real Housewives: New York Business- Skinny Girl Drink products and author
  • Kat Von D- Show- Miami Ink Business- Make-up line at Sephora
  • Snooki- Show- The Jersey Shore Business- Soda product and beauty products
  • Do I even have to mention what the Kardashians have??

These are just a handful of reality starts turned entrepreneurs, there are plenty more stars to learn about that are just a click away!

Queens of Reality TV

Kardashians enjoying The Hamptons sunshine

Kardashians enjoying The Hamptons sunshine

The Kardashians are undoubtedly the queens of reality TV. Not just right now, but ever. These people have  changed aspects of reality TV, social media and self endorsement. So what are they even famous for? Most people have no idea. Do they really do anything? Some may say its for Kim’s infamous “home video”…maybe its for Paris Hilton parading Kim around in her shadow for years. Who knows. What I do know is that these girls are smart. Yes I just said the Kardashian’s/ Jenner’s are smart. We don’t even know what these girls do for a living or how they got famous and they’re still making millions and millions of dollars! Their fame and fortune started with just their lives being filmed and hanging out with their family, to turing their last name into an empire. Makeup, haircare, clothes, nail polish- you name it they’ve done it. So I’ll ask again, what do they do? I think they’re brilliant business women… even though they don’t come off as such.

Kardashians Take the Hamptons

Last spring E! news announced where the next destination that the Kardashian’s would be “taking over.” The location was Southampton, New York… Wait a minute….I live there. The Kardashian’s are living in Southampton this summer? This should be interesting. Immediately after the announcement, I checked twitter to see what my friends from home thought of it. It was mixed reviews, but mostly people were not happy about it. Over the next few weeks, more and more uproar came up about trying to prevent them from filming in the upcoming summer. The main issue  people had with them coming is that residents were afraid of the crowd that the Kardashians would attract. If you know anything about “The Hamptons” (No one who lives there actually calls it the Hamptons, by the way) it is a very prestigious, quant, classy and very beautiful.

People were afraid that our quite little town would attract Jersey Shore-like people. Personally, I was pretty excited and thought if anything, it would bring more business to our local stores.  Despite all the debate, they still “took over.”

Fast forward to the beginning of Summer, I’m at work. Its an average day. Town is busy but we are not yet into the hectic weeks of summer. All of a sudden, I hear screams. Loud, terrifying spine tingling screams. You’d think that aliens had just landed and are ready to take over the town. I step outside the store to see what all the chaos is about. I learned there were no aliens. Just the Kardashians coming out of Intermix across the street. We have our first sighting.

 

Living where I do, I have had my fair share of celebrity sightings. But I have never seen anything like this. Swarms of people surrounded them. Every time they went in a store they had to close it to prevent other people from coming in and attacking them. These sightings happened every once in a while and it was interesting to say the least.

How did they act?

Any time I would see them,they looked very serious and not in the mood to take millions of selfless with strangers.One one hand, I understood why. Imagine people following you everywhere you go, taking pictures of you constantly. On the other hand, I thought they could be a bit more friendly and appreciate the fact that they have fans. It also bothered me that they didn’t pay for much. They didn’t pay for the house they rented. They didn’t pay for a majority of the meals. They didn’t pay rent for their pop-up store. As if they didn’t have the money, right?!

Viewing Time

Now its fall. Im back at school and the summer came and went with a few Kardashian spottings and multiple drive bys to check out their house. The season premier is almost here and I’m very excited to see how this plays out. Usually when the Kardashians take over somewhere, its a city. Southampton is a very small town, so I think it would be different than me getting excited about them coming if I had lived in say, Miami. It was really fun to watch the season with my friends here at school. It was a way for me to show them all the places I grew up going to. It was also really weird to see my hometown all over TV. Anyway, thats my two cents on the Kardashians. Love them or hate them, we all Keep Up With Them.

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I’ve created this blog primarily for the use of my Digital Communications class. I’ll be giving feedback for various readings throughout the semester and will display multimedia projects; it is my hope that this blog will help not only me, but anyone reading this to better understand the importance of digital communications.

In addition to feedback regarding  different in class elements, I will be writing about something that I like to do in my free time -watch horrible reality TV. Love it, hate it, or love to hate it- we’ve all been exposed to these mindless TV concepts. As I grow a “connection” with these characters on TV, I notice more and more about them- specifically their fashion choices and the overall wardrobe of the show.There is a great deal that goes into the production of reality TV- Individual motives, exposure, location, “plot” etc. Each aspect is fundamental to a successful TV show.Although reality TV may be painful for some to watch, I hope I can allow readers to look at what they see on TV a little differently after reading some of my posts. I hope you all have fun thinking a little deeper into these simple concepts!

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