Essay Sample on Impacts of Reality Television on Society

Published: 2022-11-10
Essay Sample on Impacts of Reality Television on Society
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Media Society
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1500 words
13 min read

The evolution of television shows has inclined towards reality television shows for the better part of the modern era. News and sports dominated broadcast programming in the 1990s due to the market demands (Pantaleo). Television viewership has however changed as the target market for most of the shows is the youth. The elderly are now a marginalized audience since the content on the reality shows is not relevant to their lives. The youthful population has become an easy target of reality shows, and this influences significant decisions in their lives. The unrealism of the reality shows has been exposed, and the debate can only be settled through examining the most influential reality shows. Reality shows have attracted many viewers and have proved to have detrimental effects due to the content being aired.

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Keeping Up with the Kardashians

The 10-year old reality show is based on recording the day-to-day activities of the Kardashian family. The ladies are the target audience in this case as the show revolves around aspects relating to body and relationship goals. The reality show portrays the Kardashians as the most iconic family ever, and the growing audience across the world is proof that the show has influenced the audience's way of life. Kim Kardashian has been the center of attraction for the show as it is portrayed that she has the perfect body. The term "body goals" is used in reference to Kim Kardashian's body which the audience adore. The show also revolves a lavish lifestyle that leaves the audience feeling as underachievers. The sporadic relationships in the show depict that it is normal to hop from one relationship to another. The audience and the fans to the show have tried to align their lifestyle to the one portrayed by the Kardashians. Huge followings of Kim Kardashian on social media platforms are proof of how influential she is as a public figure. Teens have tried to achieve the beauty and body goals by using plastic surgeries as the only way to resemble their idols. The reality show has therefore exerted pressure on the audience to try and achieve the levels of perfection as portrayed by the Kardashians (Burns).

The Bachelor

The plot behind the show is based on a single bachelor trying to pick a wife among twenty ladies through an elimination process. The dating and relationship culture is portrayed differently in this reality show. The process of getting a wife is simplified into a regular dating game show where the bachelor goes through a cycle of intimate relationships with different women. The reality show in many ways doesn't reflect the normal dating process in the real world. The setup achieves its goals through dramatization, and the audience unknowingly gets hooked to the show. The bachelor is portrayed as the perfect man who has to eliminate women based on their flaws. Out of the 22 shows, only one couple remains intact in the real world. The failure rate is astonishing, and it goes to show that everything is wrong with how the show interprets dating, relationships, and love (Short). The show tries to convince the society that it is okay for a man to have a sexual relationship with 25 women within months and then by the end of it all, 24 hearts end up broken. The lavish setup, dates, and dressing are not realistic in a normal dating process as the show tries to depict. The fact that the show has experienced 99% breakups is proof that the perfection rendered in the show cannot work in real life (Short).

Big Brother

The Big Brother show revolves around a social experiment reality show where contestants are confined in a set up that locks out the outside world. The strangers have to co-exist with each other but on the other hand, have to outwit others to win the grand prize of $500,000 (Enker). The contestants are under 24-hour surveillance during the daily routine. The show tries to prove that human beings are okay when the whole world views their private space. Psychologists have analyzed that the contestants tend to act for the camera and rarely become themselves. The show which lasts for almost 99 days puts the contestants in a situation where they cannot communicate with the outside world whatsoever (Feldinger, and Mcgilton). The elimination process is based on competitions and findings indicate that the live eviction attracts 9 million viewers (Enker). The irony of this reality show is that the primary victims are the contestants and not the audience. The contestants end up suffering psychological trauma after leaving the house and coming back to the real world. Life after the show is always the hardest and it doesn't matter if one was a winner or loser, the realities catch up ruthlessly. The fact that one's private life is exposed leaves lasting wounds to the contestants who go back to the outside world. The pressures of the cameras and the realistic attention after the show prove to be too much for any contestant. The psychological effects of the big brother show are proof that reality shows are not applicable in the real world (Feldinger, and Mcgilton).

Loss of Self Identity

The effects of reality shows are uniform and cut across the different target audiences. , but the audience is blinded by the perfection aspects of these shows. Lack of self-identity has been the result of reality shows. The audience usually tries to align their lifestyle with what is depicted in the show oblivious of the fact that the setups are in two different worlds. There is a growing concern in society because of the high rate of idolization among the youth. The youth tend to focus on a perfect body, flashy clothes and idolized relationships and by the time they rediscover themselves, they are already lost in the unrealistic word. Control measures are very hard to implement primarily because of technological advancements. The content is accessible through televisions and even more easily through the internet.

The Role of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is also one of the reasons why reality shows have gained more audience in recent years. In order not to feel left out, one is pressured to watch these shows so that he or she can contribute to discussions. The actors and producers use social media platforms as bait to gain more audience. Instagram and Twitter have taken over, and the audience can connect to their idols by reading their posts and tweets. The reality shows have now gone beyond the televisions and are now embedded on every interactive media. Peer pressure has also evolved into other forms, and the media is up there with one's friends. The effort to fit in usually ends up with many being obsessed with the elements of reality shows.

Women and Reality Shows

Women are the prime target of reality shows in the modern world. Women are unknowingly contributing to the development of stereotypes that have eroded the cultural value of a woman. Female objectification is the central theme behind shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians (Swantek). Physical appearance is deemed more critical than any other moral and social values. Many producers, however, defend their shows by claiming that entertainment is their only goal. Of the age bracket between 18 and 29, 79% of them have confessed their obsession with reality shows (Swantek). The reality shows tend to sexualize the dating scene, and by this, they capture the attention of innocent teenagers. Sexist ideologies are embedded on nearly all reality shows, and women end up being valued on attractiveness. Social analysts claim that the elements in reality shows continue to degrade the value of a woman through objectification which is not a realistic element.


Reality shows are without doubt very captivating, the setup, cast, and content enjoy high levels of perfection. From that perspective, it all looks okay until one tries to identify the levels of realism that can be duplicated in the real world. Reality shows are known for adverse effects such as psychological trauma and loss of self-identity. The shows create high-pressure levels for the audience who strive to achieve the lifestyle portrayed by the actors. The reality shows, therefore, fail to entertain their audience and instead subject them to a vicious cycle of trying to actualize the unrealistic elements.

Works Cited

Burns, Sydney. "A Decade of Kardashian's Influence On Teens Today - Triton Times." Tritontimes.Com, 2017, Accessed 17 Feb 2019.

Enker, Debi. "Big Brother a Sinister Social Experiment." The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014, Accessed 17 Feb 2019.

Feldinger, Frank, and Tina Mcgilton. "Reality TV Stars Often Suffer Enduring Trauma." The wrap, 2009, Accessed 17 Feb 2019.

Pantaleo, Michael. "New Age American Culture; Reality Shows." The Impact, 2014, Accessed 17 Feb 2019.

Short, Samantha. "'The Bachelor' Reinforces Everything Wrong With Today's Dating Culture." The Odyssey Online, 2017,

Swantek, Samantha. "Stereotyped: Women in Reality TV | The Artifice." The-Artifice.Com, 2014, Accessed 17 Feb 2019.

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