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March 24, 2007

"Girls Behaving Badly"

I chose to watch Girls Behaving Badly for my essay partly because I had never seen the show before. I don’t watch much reality TV, so I decided to make sure to pick one I haven’t seen before. The show is much like Candid Camera, being about four women who are constantly portrayed as sexy and beautiful. The women set up pranks for people to get caught on camera. It seems to be a show that is in good fun. The show that I was watching involved a prank with two men, who were told to put on Brooke Burke’s lipstick and use it to kiss her calendars, and when she finds out, she tells them to keep doing it so she doesn’t have to put makeup on. The segment ends with the two guys both being humiliated in front of Burke’s fans, and then they are told that they have just been pranked.

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March 20, 2007

"The Girl Who Cries All The Time," America's Next Top Model, Cycle Eight.

"The last thing she needs is fake bitches playing up to her like that."

So says Renée as the whiny Brittany consoles a mourning Jael. She calls a lot of people that, actually. Reality television loves that stuff. Laps up all that drama and cruelty.

I will admit that I like the artistry of fashion. I will read Vogue for the photography and the theatre reviews. The only "good" part about America's Next Top Model, as far as I'm concerned, is the photo shoots. They do have really interesting concepts. But that's as far as it goes.

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March 19, 2007

Brawny Academy

Summary: “Brawny Academy? is a reality-based series that reforms and trains men contestants to do “domestic responsibilities? that are designated for women for a 2-week period in the wilderness. The men are supposed to be “real? men (don’t know how to clean, lazy, dirty. In the second episode titled “Walk a mile in her shoes?, all the contestants are put to the test through a crash obstacle course of women duties around the house including wearing high heels while vacuuming, changing diapers, putting away groceries, and cleaning the kitchen.

Origin of program: “Brawny Academy? was originally a web-based show but received national airtime back in August 2006. Because I did not watch this program via television, I watched it online and was not able to state the times and through what channels it was aired. The producers of the show are the Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Fallon Worldwide, and Feisty Flix Inc. It was created because of women’s frustration of men not understanding or appreciating the work that their female counterparts go through and do.

Audience:The intended audience for this show is women. The funny thing is that the show broadcasts men that are being trained in the responsibilities that women hold around the house but the audience is intended for women viewers only. Men are not prone to watching a reality TV series that talks about household chores. They are far more interested in dry humor cartoons, sports, and news and less inclined to learn about what women have to do around the house. The main product that is advertised is Brawny towels and strategically placed everywhere throughout the episode (used in the crash course as a breaker wall, men use them to clean a cabin, etc.) Because women are the majority of viewers, it makes sense to advertise household products that they have to use in their own households.

Analysis: The first thing that really stuck out to me about the program was the fact that it was show designed to help men understand the responsibilities that come with being a woman. It’s a show based on empathizing with women. The funny thing is that the stereotype of women not being limited to household duties is not defeated. Instead, it is strongly and significantly reinforced throughout the entire program! As the Brawny Man states, “One of the things we teach here at the Academy is empathizing with the woman in your life.?

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Two-A-Days on MTV

“Two-A-Days? is a reality television show about a high school football team from Hoover, Alabama. Set in a southern town where football is taken very seriously, Hoover High Buccaneers have won four state championships in the past five years and have been named the number one team in the country by USA Today and Sports Illustrated. The show follows the team as they practice twice a day and try to handle the great pressure that they have from their coach, school, families, town, and college recruiters that are all counting on them to bring home the fifth state championship this season. …All the while juggling school work and girlfriends.

This show airs on MTV during weekday evenings. The show is rated TV-14 as it keeps out explicit language, sexuality, or violence (other than football tackles). For this analysis, I watched the first episode of the second season. This episode touched on the players upsetting championship loss last season, introduced new characters, and showed this year’s team on the field and very briefly at the homecoming dance. This reality TV show is obviously targeting senior high, and probably many junior high, school students as it follows the lives of high school students and airs in the evening when teenagers are home from after-school activities and glued to the television. Reruns of episodes can be caught on late Saturday mornings, another prime time for teenage TV watching.

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Girls, Dolls, and Ponies

I chose to analyze the children’s cartoon, Horseland, for the reading “reality? tv assignment because the show presents “realistic? characters with whom children are meant to identify. Horseland airs on CBS Saturday mornings at 9am as part of the Secret Slumber Party series. On weekend mornings, CBS hosts a Secret Slumber Party and shows cartoons that are largely targeted towards young females. Between shows, five girls in their pajamas dance, sing, and encourage young viewers to stay tuned for more. I stumbled upon Horseland by accident and deemed it worthy of feminist analysis because of the incredible gender division presented between the male and female characters.

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Survivor FIJI


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When I was trying to decide which show to watch, I was having a difficult time because of the fact that I don’t watch reality TV. I thought that by choosing Survivor I would be setting the bar high, because from what I had heard, there were men and women, where as some shows specifically pinpoint the female gender. Also, since the show had been on the air for so long, I knew that it had quite an audience. Once I watched an episode from the 14th season I realized that though there are men and women of multiple races, it is in no way a judgmental zone. This season took place in Fiji. There were two tribes named the Moto and Ravu. They competed in various activities, some physical and some mental, in order to win certain things. At the end of the episode one person is voted to go home from the losing team. In this episode a woman named Rita from the Ravu team was voted to go home. I had never seen this show before, so it was interesting trying to keep track of why things were happening and how to create a feminist analysis of this episode.


Survivor Fiji premiered on Thursday February 8, 2007. It is normally on Thursdays at 8:00PM on Channel 2 WCBS but this week it is playing on Wednesday at 8:00PM instead. This show was aired many years ago solely because of the thrill of competition; the thrill that the contestants feel and the thrill that the audience feels.

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The Real(est) Housewives of Orange County

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The Real Housewives of Orange County (RHOC) is a reality television program aired on Bravo. The show focuses on five “housewives? Jo De La Rosa, Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough, Lauri Waring, Tammy Knickerbocker and their families who live within a gated community in Coto de Caza, California. I watched a marathon of the show’s second season over spring break (March 12-16) which concentrated, primarily, on the personal growth of the five housewives and their relationships with each other, their husbands / fiancées / boyfriends and their children. The show airs every Tuesday in Bravo at 9pm. Wikipedia says that Bravo is owned by NBC and that the umbrella target audience of the network is to ages 25-54, affluent, educated and tech-savvy males and females (mostly women and gay men) with high levels of disposable income. As I watched the marathon of five or six episodes there were a few commercials that stood out to me: Ranging from Queen Latifah for CoverGirl makeup, Hovercraft, an automated wheelchair-scooter for the elderly, Trio, a trendy what’s new email listserv, previews for upcoming family-friendly movies and hip new household cleaning supplies, the commercials I saw seemed to target a mostly female audience, specifically young affluent mothers.

I had watched the show before for fun, often noticing various gender, class, and racial stereotypes and negative portrayals, but never looked at the show intending to do a feminist intersectional analysis, which I am now doing. I am not surprised to say that I have found a lot more I can talk about now, especially considering I am doing a feminist intersectional analysis focusing on gender, class, race, bodies/identities, and sexualities and how the shows portrayals of specific characters creates and/or perpetuates stereotypes which could (potentially) affect its audiences.

The cast of RHOC consists primarily of White, (except Jo who is looks and passes for being White except when she uses her “spicy? Peruvian descent to exotifiy herself a little bit or to make herself stand out when she needs to, more on this later) all-heterosexual, all-upper class men and women, with the women outnumbering the men doubly. All of the women in RHOC are prime examples as Michael Messner theorizes in his article, Becoming 100% Straight, of “doing heterosexual.? They dress up, look and act the part of the stereotypical valley-(heterosexual) girl. These real housewives of the OC are anything but; from the unlimited tanning packages, fake nail tips, platinum blond hair and extensions, silicon breasts, eyelifts, face lifts, monthly Botox injections, liposuctions, and gym/Pilates memberships, these women are carefully and precisely sculpted, chiseled, and toned – after all, they have the money, why not look every cent of it? The women are shown for a majority of the episode getting dressed, shopping, or partaking in “typical girl-bonding? over lunch, manicure/pedicures, drinks, or facials while their men just show up and are there. A person who did not grow up or live in Coto might think that in California, all rich White women shop at Jimmy Choo and their only concern or drama has to do with the various men (husbands, fiancés, boyfriends, or sons) in their lives.

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Can’t say that "I Love New York"

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The origin of this show was described in an earlier post, but basically it’s a knock off of reality dating shows such shows as The Bachelor... at its very worst. Slowly men are eliminated at dramatic elimination rounds after they go on extravagant dates and when they are kicked off they are either totally bummed because they were completely “in love? or they rant and rave about how they can do better and the show was a waste of their time.

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"Beauty and the Geek"

“Beauty and the Geek? just finished its third season by coupling 8 female “beauties? and 8 male “geeks? together into a mansion to live and compete against other couples to win $250,000. It is one of the many reality television shows on the CW Twin Cities-WUCW23, the product of CBS and Warner Bros. merging. The show is produced by Katalyst Films and 3Ball Productions with executive producers, Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg (“Guess Who?, “Punk’d?) in the forefront. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. also plays its role with President and CEO David D. Smith.

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Paradise City

I am a reality television junkie, and I’d like to say that I’m ashamed of that, but that would be a lie. It is to the point where I actually Tivo every week shows like The Real World, The Hills, American Idol, The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Girls Next Door, and my newest attraction: Paradise City.

Paradise City airs on E! Television on Sunday evenings at 9:30 pm. The Executive Producer that actually caught my eyes was Ryan Seacrest and it was developed by Go Go Luckey Productions which I have seen on MTV many times and I only pick up on it because of the cute little jingle that my daughter has repeated more than once much to my silent despair.

According to E! Online, Paradise City “offers a firsthand look at what it’s like to live, love, and work in Las Vegas.?

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Bridezillas

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“Bridezillas? is a show aired on WE: Women’s Entertainment. The show focuses on “bridezillas,? a term I’d actually never heard previously, but the word itself is pretty self-explanatory: brides (who can be male or female) who turn into monsters during the planning of their wedding. In most cases, the women/men are already somewhat “monstrous,? but become even worse during the wedding preparations. The episode I viewed followed two heterosexual couples, Malia and her husband Richard, as well as Dana and her fiancé Michael. Malia and Richard were given the most airtime on this episode, and I will focus on their relationship and attitudes in this critical analysis. Malia and Richard live somewhere in California, probably in or around the Los Angeles area. Malia is obsessed with celebrities and insists that she has celebrity stylists make her up on her wedding day, a celebrity DJ at her wedding, a couture wedding gown, even a celebrity astrologist analyze her and her husband before the big day. Their wedding is held at the Wattles Mansion in Hollywood, supposedly a place where many celebrities hold their weddings. Richard is retired major league baseball player. While Malia comes off as high-strung, materialistic, and high-maintenance throughout the episode, Richard seems indifferent and unconditionally compliant to Malia’s impulses.

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Dr. 90210

Dr. 90210 is a reality show featuring a typical day of a well-known plastic surgeon living in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California. Dr. 90210 is focused on Dr. Robert Ray and the procedures he performs and the patients that they are performed on. There are eventually many other featured plastic surgeons and their procedures/stories that are intertwined throughout the episodes. A typical show will have about two patients, each explaining what procedure they want done and why, along with a quick background of themselves. The show then shows them meeting one of the featured plastic surgeons, the actual procedure, the recovery stage, the before and after photos, and a quick recap of the life of the patient after they are healed up from surgery. Also, the featured plastic surgeon’s ‘complicated’ lives are taped when they are outside of the operating room. In this episode patient Jay, a male entertainer, visited Dr. Jason Diamond for rhino plasticity and a chin implant and Liz, a stripper/dancer, came to visit Dr. Robert Ray for a breast augmentation
This show is produced by E! but shown by many other cable network channels. I watch this show usually late at night, when many other young adults are still up as well. This episode is targeted to young adults, both sexes but more of an influence on women, who are fairly wealthy and live a healthy and fit lifestyle and always strive to look their best. The commercials aired include many weight-loss supplements, workout equipment, beauty products, etc.

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america's next top model

A new season of “America’s Next Top Model? started recently. In real life, I actually watch this show; however, I originally wanted to critique a show that I have never seen before (there are a lot of reality TV shows that I have never even heard of) so I could analyze the show without a biased opinion. But then I thought about it and decided that it would be more beneficial to analyze this particular show through a feminist perspective and force myself to look at the issues of stereotypes and body image that are present.

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The Value of a Woman

Rich plastic surgeons in a city where beauty means everything, Dr. 90210 is a reality TV program that follows the lives of plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills, California. The episode that I viewed was “Girls Just Want to Get Done?. It featured two Hooters waitresses hoping to get breast augmentations and a young teen girl in for pubic liposuction. I enjoy watching the show, but when using feminist analysis to examine the storyline I can see that the show really exemplifies what is wrong with the stereotypical lifestyles of women that American society has created.

Dr. 90210 is broadcast on E! Entertainment Television and is typically there for a male audience. This show depicts the pressure put on people (especially women) to be perfect. The Hooters girls are shown making comments on how women need bouncy breasts and big boobs=good boobs, etc. This is one instance of how our society has made it “normal? for women to have big boobs because it’s the only way that men will find them attractive. Laurel Richardson states on page 101 of Feminist Frontiers that “in practice women are defined in terms of their sexual desirability to men?. It should be a top priority for all good girls to settle down and find a good husband to raise a family and live the American dream. It’s become so normalized in our society for plastic surgery as a quick fix. One doctor showed this when he stated, “Coming to Beverly Hills for breast augmentation is like goin’ to Belgium for chocolates.?

Because of the easy access and availability to plastic surgery one doctor went so far as to say, “Personality is #1 when looking for women because we can change anything else we want to after?. If we aren’t perfect enough for the eyes of society, we can be “fixed?. However, even our personalities aren’t free from the pressures of society. Later in the program, Dr. Rey (one of the surgeons) is on a trip to Venezuela trying to find out why Venezuelan women are so beautiful. In one scene, Dr. Rey is visiting The Giselle Academy where young girls and women are taught to behave like ladies. True ladies have certain personalities and characteristics that they have to exhibit if they want to fit in with societal norms.

Another way that societal norms intervened was through the relationship of Dr. Rey and his wife. Dr. Rey was able to go off to Venezuela and meet beauty pageant queens while his wife stayed home being “mom?. One scene showed Dr. Rey at the beach with a gorgeous woman and then cut to his wife at home playing and reading with the children. The wife was also shown making statements like “I feel more confident when I’m alone?. Living in a dichotomized world of man or woman places expectations on both genders. Men are the providers and thus deserve “nights out with the boys? and vacations. Women are expected to be weak and dependent on their husbands, being stay at home moms or homemakers while their husbands are free to chase their dreams.

In another segment, a different Dr. is shown throwing a “Botox Party?. It’s becoming unacceptable for women to look their age; younger is better. After injecting a beautiful woman with botox in her forehead, the doctor commented, “There, now you’re normal.? Even in old age, it seems as though the true measure of a woman is in terms of her beauty and her sexual attractiveness to men. This just isn’t the case for aging men.

Feminist Frontiers examines plastic surgery in Debra Gimlin’s “Cosmetic Surgery: Paying for Your Beauty?. Gimlin states on page 105 that “cosmetic surgery stands, for many theorists and social critics, as the ultimate invasion of the human body for the sake of physical beauty?. On page 203, she states that “some writers have dealt with cosmetic surgery as if it were an attempt to attain idealized female beauty in order to gain the approval of men. Rather, they alter their bodies for their own satisfaction…to create what they consider a normal appearance?. This leads one to ask the question, what is normal? Mass media is constantly stuffing images of the real/ideal woman into the minds of young women and men. These images give the false hope that if we have the perfect, most attractive body we will be more self-confident and find more lasting happiness. This leads to another question, aren’t even the most gorgeous people on Earth unhappy at times?

Society has placed all this pressure on women to be “normal? to be “beautiful?. We have to be beautiful so that we can fit into the general public’s view of what a woman should be doing with her life, what types of relationships she should have, etc. Dr. 90210 is, in my opinion, a very entertaining show. At its core, it represents the need for women’s value to be defined as our culture says it should, by how attractive we are to the men around us.

American Idol Review

For my Reality TV post I decided to watch “American Idol?. As most of you know this is a show that was made to find hidden gems that can sing their hearts out. Millions of people from all over the United States audition for three judges in certain locations while they are on tour. At each location the judges choose the best singers out of the pack and allow them to move onto Hollywood to be judged more. Each week certain people are eliminated until finally about 20 are left. These 20 then perform on live television so that the viewers can vote for who should move on and who should go. The person left is the American Idol and usually ends up becoming a star in the music industry. The judges look for good vocals, performance ability, character, and sadly looks.

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Lesbian Representation on MTV's NEXT

The “Next Miss Gay Girl? is…
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Representations of GLBT persons are few and far between on prime time programming, especially those of queer women. An episode of MTV’s dating show NEXT recently revealed the misrepresentations and commodification of this minority prevalent in media today.

NEXT is a popular dating show on MTV. Five potential daters are loaded onto a crowded bus waiting for the opportunity to step off and vie for the approval of the main contestant. If the main dater does not like what they see, they have the power to verbally “NEXT,? or refuse, their admirer. The show relies on aesthetics, the confrontation between contestants, and sexual innuendo. Recently NEXT has started to air gay and lesbian episodes, and their approach to this programming fulfills many stereotypes and analyses prevalent of queer women in media today.

On the episode, The Next Miss Gay Girl Brie a nineteen year old, white, feminine woman is looking for a, “girl to play doctor with?. She talks about getting dirty with the boys, but wanting to jump in the hay stacks with the girls. Immediately, the viewer is introduced to a highly feminine and sexualized host, whose sexual inclinations feed the stereotypical desires of male members in the young audience. The use of the word gay in the title proves interesting as well. Most women with same-sex attractions do not identify as ‘gay,’ but rather as ‘lesbians’ or ‘dykes.’ The mere use of the word in the title suggests that the content in the show is out of line with the realities of lesbian culture. Also, the use of the word ‘girl’ connotes a submissive and sexually playful experience, when; in reality, the contestants are all women.

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What is a girl next door like anyway?

The show The Girls Next Door is a day-in-the-life-of reality style show that views the extreme lifestyles of the girlfriends of Hugh Heffner, magazine mogul and Playboy businessman. Bridget, Holly and Kendra are three women who live in the Playboy mansion in Los Angles, California. The girls have many things in common; their interest in being a Playboy playmate, bleach blonde hair, oversized breasts, tans, as well as that they are ALL dating Hugh Heffner.
The Girls Next Door is set in the Playboy Mansion and airs on Sunday nights at nine on Entertainment Television (E! T.V.). I missed what production companies produce the show.
In my opinion, the intended audience for this program is women. Most would believe that it was planned on generally men viewing it, however, the advertising throughout the program was geared mostly towards younger women and a little towards both sexes. Moreover, the topics of the shows are geared towards interests of women, for example, today’s show was Holly’s 26th Marie Antoinette themed birthday celebration.
In my opinion, the intensions of the program are to glamorize the lifestyles of being a playboy playmate as well as to showcase what are considered “beautiful women.? I feel as though this program does a lot of stereotyping of blonde women. For example, in today’s show Holly says while driving her new Golf Cart, “Contrariety to popular belief we can drive,? referring to her blondness.
Another aspect of the show that I feel dejects the growth of young women is the unnatural assets of the girlfriends. Each girl is showcased in all too small if at all clothing. Each has outsized breasts, unnatural hair, and abnormal tans just to name a few. Our society views this changes as not only attractive but also required to be perceived as beautiful. In the article Cosmetic Surgery: Paying for Your Beauty by Debra L. Gimlin she states, “Cosmetic surgery stands, for many theorists and social critics as the ultimate invasion of the human body for the sake of physical beauty. It epitomizes the astounding lengths to which contemporary women will go to obtain bodies that meet current ideals of attractiveness.? I feel that if it weren’t for programs like The Girls Next Door or the Playboy magazine itself, since it also upholds this ideas, we could reconstruct societies opinion of what is attractive. At one point in the program, Bridget states to the camera as her and Holly are getting dressed into their corset’s for French maid Birthday costumes “To get the look you want waste you must do a lot of synching and lifting your boobs is important too…it hurts to wear but it’s all worth in the end.? I feel this implies the old saying “beauty is pain? and if you don’t experience it than you aren’t truly beautiful. Why do we continue to allow this.

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March 18, 2007

America's Next Top Model

During the show, there were two competitions. The first competition, the girls ran about a garden to try and apply makeup the fastest and look the best in CoverGirl’s new line of makeup. The second, and larger, competition was a photo shoot trying to sell ice cream. The trick to the shoot was that the women had to be shot nude covered only in bright paint and candy.

The show airs through Casey Warner Television on Wednesdays at 7pm and Encore on Sundays at 8pm. The show is a competition between young women who want a chance to get a step up into the modeling community and plenty of publicity. I believe the show is targeted towards young to middle aged women. Tyra Banks, the host, tries to help women feel more empowered and help them feel more beautiful within their own bodies, but her show contradicts these sentiments through her comments as well as the judges comments.

The show begins with 13 women and with each episode, one woman gets eliminated. I saw the third episode entitled “The Girl That Cries All the Time.? There are two ‘plus-size’ women on the show, and they have a more difficult time on the photo shoots than do the smaller women. For example, during the first competition, the women were all to choose spring dresses to wear before racing to apply spring CoverGirl makeup. The dresses that were available were tailored almost entirely to the smaller girls. The ‘plus-size’ models had much difficulty trying to find anything that would fit half as well as the dresses that fit the others.

Not only were the dresses not fitted appropriately, but during the photo shoot, the comments directed towards the ‘plus-size’ women were much different than the other women. During the shoot, the photographer’s assistant told one of the larger women to suck in her stomach and to let her face take control of the pose and the photograph rather than her body. During the smaller women’s shots, the focus was on their faces and expressions rather than their bodies much less their stomachs. I’m beginning to believe that the show is focused on the women’s faces only as long as their body is ‘perfect’ and petite; it is when you are bigger that your body becomes the focus and the face less important.

Not only were the comments directed towards the ‘plus-size’ women against their bodies, but also the tone seemed to be towards a homogenizing of bodies. The need for sameness was quite prevalent throughout the show. However, there was a pull towards the skinnier side of all. When it came down to elimination time, Tyra continued the negative comments towards one of the ‘plus-size’ women. It is as if the larger women are not seen as women but as imperfect bodies.

What I found interesting about the show was that after viewing it and reading the article, “Introduction: Gender and the plus-size body,? I was reaffirmed by my belief that Tyra was not quite living up to the standards of the media or her own words. According to Moorti and Ross, “Orbach suggests,

The Body is the Message? contends that because all knowledge on this topic emanates from the media, contemporary scholarship should pose a new set of questions that appropriately capture women’s mediated sense of self.
Although it seems that the media needs to step up to the plate and recognize that they hold the responsibility for ensuring that people’s self-esteem remains at a decent level, we cannot depend on it. Later on in the article, Moorti and Ross state that,
The media world that celebrates the thin female body rarely offers weight loss surgery as an acceptable means to attain the ‘idealized’ body.
It sounds much like the show’s mantra. Tyra and her crew talk about being healthy, independent, and beautiful, but what you don’t see them suggest is a means to become thinner. It parades these thin women that are ‘perfect save their faces’ and the ‘plus-size’ women whose faces are less important than their bodies which lack.

MTV: Juvies

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The MTV series Juvies (Thursdays at 10pm, Sundays at 7pm) gives its viewers an inside look at a juvenile detention center and the processes involved with it. The purpose is to show what detention centers are “really? like, and to expose real-life consequences to actions many teens take part in. The show is produced by Viacom, a big business media conglomerate that owns most of the major television stations. The other business that produces Juvies is Calamari Productions, the company that created the show.

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American Idol

For my Reality TV post I decided to watch “American Idol?. As most of you know this is a show that was made to find hidden gems that can sing their hearts out. Millions of people from all over the United States audition for three judges in certain locations while they are on tour. At each location the judges choose the best singers out of the pack and allow them to move onto Hollywood to be judged more. Each week certain people are eliminated until finally about 20 are left. These 20 then perform on live television so that the viewers can vote for who should move on and who should go. The person left is the American Idol and usually ends up becoming a star in the music industry. The judges look for good vocals, performance ability, character, and sadly looks.

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A World of Dolls

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For my critique, I chose the newest ‘search for a star’ show- The Search for the Next Doll. If you haven’t heard of it, the point of the show is to find a seventh member for the pop girl group The Pussy Cat Dolls. The group and the show seem to embody every gender stereotype we have been picking apart in class. The name of the group itself, “The Pussy Cat Dolls?, implies a promiscuousness and cattiness from the girls with ‘Pussy Cat,’ as well as a sub-human quality by being ‘dolls.’ We have seen all of these ideas, and even labeled them as harmful stereotypes in our discussions, yet here the music industry is blatantly making them idealistic.

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The Hills

MTV’s reality TV Show “The Hills? follows a young woman living in California as she completes her internship with Teen Vogue. In the March 7th episode, Heidi is in Santa Barbara for the weekend with her boyfriend Spencer. Meanwhile, her best friend and roommate Lauren is working on an intense photo shoot in which hangers facing the wrong direction constitute a crisis. Her own weekend plans revolve around a double date with Blake, the tough hockey player. During the date, they make small talk and gossip about Spencer. Afterwards, Lauren chalks it up to a successful date, even though they both lament the fact that he didn’t get her number. Heidi had planned a girl’s night for her and Lauren when she got back, but she ditches it to go to a movie with Spencer.

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My london bridge wanna go down

I wasn’t able to actually view a television show by virtue of not having cable and not wanting to afford an iTunes rendition of crappy TV. However, I was able to view clips from certain websites, and was provided a synopsis of what was going on in some former episodes of the British version’s “What Not To Wear?. In the American version, two fashionistas surprise an ugly old maid with the chance to go on the shopping spree of a lifetime. While this obviously has its offenses, the Brit’s version gives a slight twist that to me is hilarious.

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The Agency

Infiltrating the modeling industry like no other television series has, "The Agency" takes a stark look at the men and women, who search for, mold, scold and comfort raw, young beauties -- all in an effort to groom the world's most marketable people. The series is not just about glamour. It's about the harsh realities of a business in which millions of dollars are at stake daily, and the competition for landing high-end models and campaigns can lead to both euphoric victories and bitter defeats. Created by VH1 a programming and MTV network, The Agency airs on VH1 Tuesdays at 9:00.

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Bam's Unholy Union

Bam’s Unholy union is a reality show on MTV. It is similar to shows such as Newlyweds except with Bam Margera and his fiancé Missy. Bam is a pro skater who is most famous for his crazy stunts and TV shows like Jackass. In this series Bam and Missy have to plan their wedding in a very short period of 3 months. Most of the work is put on Missy as Bam doesn’t want to have anything to do with planning the wedding. The episode I watched was titled, “Off With her Shirt?. In this episode Missy is approached by playboy to do a celebrity guest photographer shoot of Missy by Bam. She decides to do the photo shoot as a gift to Bam for their wedding. Missy wants to do the shoot her way but Bam assures her that it doesn’t work like that. Bam’s Unholy Union airs on MTV Tuesday nights at 8:30. It is produced by Sonar entertainment, MTV series entertainment, and Bam Margera Productions.

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Project Runway, Second Season: The Not-So-Glorious Fashion World in Reality T.V.

Working on the reality television project was somewhat challenging for a cabelless television hater like me, but when I thought everything was lost I fell upon Project Runway: Season II and the first chapter of this season became the subject of my feminist inquiry. Project Runway is a reality television show that puts 16 new and established fashion designers in a competition for a prize of $100,000 and the opportunity to design their own clothing line. The big sponsors of the show are Banana Republic (which is owned by Gap Inc.) and L’Oreal, and the host is the model/actress Heidi Klum (armed with a slight German accent and a 2nd or 3rd trimester pregnancy as the show begins, which is actually the first time I can recall seeing a pregnant women host a fashion show on American television).
Like most reality shows (if I understand the concept right) there is a bitter and high tension competition between the participants, a few of whom are eliminated in each chapter of the season, and both competitors and fashion “judges? address the cameras and speak to the viewers at home about their feelings and opinions about the fashion designers, models and of course, the designed clothes.

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The Hills

The Hills is a spin off of the first generation cast of Laguna Beach. It features Lauren Conrad also known as L.C in Laguna Beach as the main character. Similar to Laguna Beach, the Hills is a reality television show based on the journey of Lauren Conrad in her quest at starting a new life at a different city than Orange County. Hence, it is no surprised that the show is narrated by Lauren herself. Through each episode, we as the audience get a glimpse of how Lauren lives her life as she juggles school, work, and friendship. The Hills is currently now showing on Monday, at 9 o’clock central time on MTV.

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Surviving Motherhood

“Surviving Motherhood? is a show on the TLC network that shows 5 mothers with their young children who meet in a coffee shop to give each other parenting advice. The show has some old-fashioned information about parenting but is a “refreshing blend of information, bold discussion, and real-life stories?. Along with advice from fellow mothers, there are renowned therapists and childcare experts in every field that give advice throughout the program.

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Laguna Beach: The Finer Potrayal of Our Youth


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Laguna Beach was created by MTV to capitalize off the success of Fox’s The OC. MTV originally marketed the show as ‘The Real OC’, but this changed once The OC became passé and Laguna Beach more popular than the original. The premise of the show is that cameras follow several teenagers in high school and their socialization and interaction with friends, community and the camera are documented. Each season of the show contains a narrator, one that the audience primarily follows and is supposed to identify with. As an audience we see Laguna through their eyes and pick up on their direct characterization of other people on the show. This character has, so far, always been female. In the first season a girl named Lauren, or LC, was the main voice and we followed her as she dealt with the boy she can never get, Stephen, the minx he is always with, Kristen, and plenty of ‘drama’.

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March 16, 2007

Wife Swap

Two themes ran throughout the episode of Wife Swap that I viewed. One was that of class conflict the other was the image of womanhood. The show depicted two families, the first being upper class family living in a large spacious suburban home. This family is headed by Shannon and Wayne. The second family is that of George and Belinda’s who are a working class family in a much more modest household.

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The Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the Next Doll

The reality show that I decided to watch was “The Pussycat Dolls, The Search for the Next Doll?. I had never seen the show before this but it seemed, even from the title that it would be a good one to do a feminist analysis on. The show airs on Tuesday nights at 8 pm on CW. The title gives away the main plot of the show. The popular musical group, The Pussycat Dolls, is on the prowl for a new kitten to add to their group. Through extensive “Pussycat Doll Boot Camp?, the new doll will be voted on by the creator of The Pussycat Dolls and the current lead singer of the group, as well as a dance instructor and a vocal coach. This particular episode was the auditions, where a group of eighteen is narrowed down to a final nine by group renditions of former Pussycat Doll songs and dances.

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March 15, 2007

Beauty and the Geek

Reading "reality" TV: Beauty and the Geek

I have to admit- I love the concept of Beauty and the Geek. I don’t have any time to watch TV with my busy schedule, but the concept of nerds and beauties coming together in a mansion and competing with one another definitely merits a download.
The first episode (my introduction) presents us with a group of women who are supposedly the “beauties? (women who have gotten through life by relying on their looks, and needn’t have any intellectual capabilities), and “geeks? (men who have lived their lives reveling in nerdy antisocial bliss). Their goal is to pair up and compete against one another in teams, to reveal at last which team succeeds most in having the women de-ditz and the men acquire some smooth social skills

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Monday Night Raw

Reading Reality TV: WWE’s Monday Night Raw

The fireworks erupt, the lights come on, it’s Monday night and that can only mean one thing… RAW is on the air. The name itself is very fitting for such a wrestling show. It clearly defines everything a man enjoys to begin his hectic work week: a rowdy crowd, enraged men beating the hell out of each other, and of course the beautiful women that accompany the wrestlers to the ring. On this particular episode, the highlights of the night include an appearance by Donald Trump, the unveiling of the new Playboy featuring WWE’s own “Diva?, Ashley, as the cover model. The show also features the usual few wrestling matches involving men fighting for some absurd reason. In between these three main storylines, a chiseled wrestler can be seen applying a brutal hold on the very petite female wrestling announcer, and two of the company’s former Playboy cover models, Torrie and Melina, also battle it out for the Women’s Championship in a catfight where the women are dressed in their usual attire; a short skirt and a top that holds barely anything.

WWE’s Monday Night Raw has been on the air for about thirteen years. It originally aired on the USA network and has moved to others such as Spike/TNN and has recently moved back to its regular eight o’clock time slot on USA. It made those jumps between networks because it began promoting a more risqué type of show in the late 90’s. This new promotion led to much higher ratings and allowed it to compete with the primetime networks such as NBC, ABC, etc. Since the WWF merged with rival wrestling companies WCW/ECW to form WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), WWE produces the Monday night show along with other weekly wrestling shows. Most recently WWE Productions is making its own movies staring the same wrestlers you see in the ring.

With a quick glance at the front row of the audience in attendance, it is not hard to see that men are the majority here. I don’t think that a woman would enjoy watching muscled guys beat each other up while a couple of women parade around half naked; however, I could be wrong. While the commercials air I feel even more like the show is directed towards me as a guy. I see a TAG body spray commercial, Just For Men hair gel, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and an advertisement to buy the new NCAA 07 basketball game. The night that RAW airs is perfect for the busy working male who dreads another long week and wants to let go of his stress after a hard day’s work. The show is also perfect for the raging hormonal male teens whose head is full of thoughts of violence and gorgeous women. The wrestlers are role models for these teens because they display a tremendous amount of strength, have amazing physiques, and of course are a hit with the Divas.

The president of WWE, Vince McMahon, embodies the true identity of a patriarchal male. He is rich, powerful, confident, masculine, and he even has his special “I’m the shit? strut that he performs when he walks in public. In this certain episode we get an example of two patriarchal powerhouses, Vince and Donald Trump, arguing over who is more powerful as Trump states that “My ‘Trump Towers’ are much more powerful than you ‘grapefruits’, Vince.? The arrogance of the president of WWE leaks to the wrestlers as they take possession of the Divas and often fight over them. They can be heard and often seen demonstrating their manhood power over others as they claim to be “saving? the women from making bad decisions. So needless to say, the show takes on many sexual confrontations resulting in male dominance. The Divas mainly just fill the role as the “object of affection? as Yep and Camacho state in their article referring to “The Bachelor? (p.2). Meanwhile the subject of race is also toyed with. Black wrestlers often find themselves in the same old storyline of “White man holding back the more powerful black superstar.? The black superstar is forced to start at the bottom of the wrestling society having to face superstars lacking talent and is forced to work his way up to a world title. The male superstars take the main stage in this episode, but the Divas put up a strong fight. There are segments where the Diva would flaunt her assets to get what she wants whether it is a title shot for the wrestler she manages or if she needs a simple pay raise from the boss. Women should not feel like they need to show off their bodies in order to get what they want as Mendible compares this to “gold digging? in her article (p.3). And don’t think for a single minute that gays and lesbians aren’t welcomed on RAW. There is nothing more that viewers at home would love to see than to have a group of supposedly gay male cheerleaders get beat up by a couple of the companies’ bad asses, or to have what WWE calls “HLA?. “HLA? (Hot Lesbian Action) is a special segment on RAW that comes every few weeks where, you guessed it, a couple of Divas are brought out to the ring and simply make-out until a wrestler who opposes lesbians arrives and censors it. So why would anybody on Earth want to have a show that addresses ALL of these controversial issues? The answer is simple; ratings. In the TV business, ratings are all that matter. Shows like RAW uses every possible way to draw audiences. Just like in a commercial I once saw for WWE in which Snoop Dogg states that he watches and loves RAW, so you should to. The exploitation of men and women for profit has been around for along time. The WWE is just taking it to the extreme by throwing everything together into a two hour male soap opera. When RAW is being scripted, the only thing going through the writers’ heads; controversy creates cash.

I "Love" NY

The show that I watched for my “reality TV? assignment was I Love NY. New York was a character competing for the love of Flava-Flave, a rapper who starred on his own reality TV series The Flavor of Love. In The Flavor of Love New York fell in love with Flave, but he chose someone else other than her twice. After rejecting her, he helped her produce her own show that would help her find true love. In the show, New York chooses from a pool of about 20 men to find the one who will be the love of her life. In the first episode she gives all of them pet names so their real identities are hidden. They have to compete against one another at different tasks, etc. to show NY how much they “love? her.

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March 14, 2007

The Real Housewives of O.C.

This show is based off of five women and their families who apparently represent the “real? households of Orange County. This particular episode delves into the daily lives of the “housewives?, exploring what they do on a daily basis and how they do it. The women go shopping, visit their kids, discipline their kids and work on their careers. Throughout the show, the viewer gets to know the “wives? a little better, allowing us to hate or love them even more. The show is aired on Bravo (owned by NBC Universal) a network known for other shows such as, Project Runway, Top Chef and Queer Eye. The target viewers (gathered from the commercials as well as content) are women ranging from mid twenties to mid fifties.

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March 13, 2007

Viewer's Vote: Which Character Do YOU Think is Gay?

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MTV.com gives a brief summary of the current season of the Real World. It explains that it was programmed in Denver, Colorado where seven strangers will work with kids who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. This brief synopsis, however, was obviously not going to be enough to attract viewers so they added in a small part to ensure viewers that there will be the expected caddy drama: “However, the true test of their survival skills will come back in the house as hasty hook-ups and deep-rooted conflicts make living together a challenge of sometimes epic proportion?. I wonder if I researched every season's summary, it would say almost the exact same thing?!

The Preview:

The episode I decided to watch and analyze, entitled “Butting In?, began by recapping what happened in the previous episode; It showed a guy and a girl laying in bed, playing footsie and flirting up a storm, talking about how because the guy is gay, has a boyfriend, and they live together, the girl does not want to have sex with him! Wow, this really got me interested.

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March 11, 2007

Dancing with the Stars; Season 2

The reality TV show that I decided to watch again was an episode of Dancing with the Stars, season two. This particular episode aired last year on ABC on a Tuesday and a Wednesday evening at a seven o’clock timeslot. This time would be known as “primetime? on most channels. Dancing with the Stars is going to starting its fourth season on March 19th and when I started to see commercials about the show this distinct episode, well actually season, replayed in my head.
Walt Disney Productions is the production company for this show along with BBC worldwide. Dancing with the Stars actually originated overseas and then was popularized in America. The executive producers for the show are Conrad Green and Richard Hopkins. And the Co executive producer is Izzie Pick. This show is filmed in front of a live audience in Los Angeles California.
During this show there is a very eclectic group of commercials. Ranging from make up to cars and, which didn’t surprise me, Botox commercials. I thought that the variety in the commercials made the show look as though it was directed to a more diverse group of people. In the show they have celebrities dancing with world famous stars. Celebrities including actors, TV hosts and sports figures.

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March 9, 2007

My Super Sweet 16!

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For my reality T.V. show, I watched Sweet 16. This is a show about girls (mostly) and boys who have very wealthy parents and who are having a sixteenth birthday party. These kids pretty much can have a party with no limitations as far as money goes. The one I watched was about a girl named Nikki. Nikki had a beach themed party, held in a night-club like atmosphere, and complete with a famous performer named Pit-bull. The show starts with introducing the girl, then how she plans her party and how much money her parents spend on it, and then it ends with the party.

This show is one that airs on MTV. It is a channel geared toward tweens to people in their twenties. The show I watched played at 5:30 P.M. but I know that there are airings of this Sweet 16 show on many different times during the day. I think this Sweet 16 program airs for a couple of reasons. First, I think it is geared toward people (mainly girls) who have yet to have their 16th birthday so that they can see it and see how big of a deal some people make of it. Then they can want to have a big party, just like the one that they see on the show. Also, I think it is there for people (again mostly girls) who are above the age of 16 so that they can just watch and see how spoiled these girls are. I really don’t see any other point to the show than just to see how these girls get anything they want and don’t really appreciate it at all. Right when the show ends the big MTV symbol comes up saying it is a MTV production.

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