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Girls and Reality TV Factsheet

Girls and Reality TV Factsheet

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Published by Derek E. Baird
Reality TV has become staple entertainment for young people and adults alike. In our survey of more than 1,100 girls around the country, we found significant differences between those girls who consume reality TV on a regular basis and those who do not. Of girls surveyed, regular reality TV viewers differ dramatically from their non-viewing peers in their expectations of peer relationships, their overall self-image, and their understanding of how the world works. Our findings also suggest that reality TV can function in the lives of girls as a learning tool and as inspiration for getting involved in social causes.
Reality TV has become staple entertainment for young people and adults alike. In our survey of more than 1,100 girls around the country, we found significant differences between those girls who consume reality TV on a regular basis and those who do not. Of girls surveyed, regular reality TV viewers differ dramatically from their non-viewing peers in their expectations of peer relationships, their overall self-image, and their understanding of how the world works. Our findings also suggest that reality TV can function in the lives of girls as a learning tool and as inspiration for getting involved in social causes.

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Published by: Derek E. Baird on Nov 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/19/2014

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Reality TV has become staple entertainment or young people and adults alike. In our survey o more than 1,100 girls around the country, we oundthat the most popular genres o reality TV are competition (American Idol, Project Runway, etc.) and real lie (Jersey Shore, The Hills, etc.). Many girlsthink these programs reect reality, with 75% saying that competition shows and 50% saying that real-lie shows are “mainly real and unscripted.”While many in society might view reality TV as a relatively benign phenomenon, our research shows signifcant dierences between those girls whoconsume reality TV on a regular basis and those who do not. O girls surveyed, regular reality TV viewers* dier dramatically rom their non-viewingpeers in their expectations o peer relationships, their overall sel-image, and their understanding o how the world works. Our fndings also suggestthat reality TV can unction in the lives o girls as a learning tool and as inspiration or getting involved in social causes.
Finding 1: Relationship Drama
All o the girls in our study eel that reality shows promote bad behavior. The vast majority think these shows “oten pit girls against each other tomake the shows more exciting” (86%), “make people think that fghting is a normal part o a romantic relationship” (73%), and “make people think it’sokay to treat others badly (70%).”Regular reality TV viewers accept and expect a higher level o drama, aggression, and bullying in their own lives as well. They are considerably morelikely than non-viewers to agree that:
•“Gossipingisanormalpartofarelationshipbetweengirls”(78%vs.54%);•“It’singirls’naturetobecattyandcompetitivewithoneanother”(68%vs.50%);and•“It’shardformetotrustothergirls”(63%vs.50%).Regardingboys,regularrealityTVviewersaremorelikelythannon-viewerstosay“girlsoftenhavetocompeteforaguy’sattention”(74%vs.63%).Aswell,theyadmittheyarehappierwhentheyaredatingsomeoneorhaveaboyfriend/signicantother(49%vs.28%).

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