The Reality of Dating Reality Shows
To say that a television show has positive or negative influence over reality, is to ignore the “X factor”. It’s really got nothing to do with the show itself. It is always in the viewer to take from an experience what they will, much as with the Christian Bible. The presentation may be different, but the end results are the same; people hear what they want to hear, then they apply those things to their life in ways that are personally beneficial.
This doesn’t make the thing “good” or “bad”. If we judged everything on the effect it has on people, most of that which is Sacred would be considered “bad” because religious fervor is behind a great many wars. Media, like people, can have both a positive and a negative impact of people at the same time. Although presentation can influence in one direction or another, it is really about the person doing the viewing.
So we need to look at the types of people viewing the particular program. Their motivation for watching will have more impact on the individual, than whatever words they hear. People watch for many reasons, but the primary purpose is entertainment. Some shows are viewed purely for the laugh factor. The “educated” audience is entertained by the predicaments, wording, even behavior or the players they perceive as being of a “lower class”. A superior attitude does not, however, prevent them from taking more from the show than a few moments of entertainment.
One of the amazing things about people is our mind’s ability to pick up, store and later produce information that we did not conscientiously receive. By exposing ourselves to an idea, even though we may joke about it, the future can find us referring to a feint memory we have of something we didn’t even realize we had. As we drive down the street, we see young people dressed with extreme exposure, but our brains refer back to the images we have picked up through the media. We judge their appropriateness not only on our own personal standards, but the things we have been exposed to, so an outfit that might be of questionable taste, becomes not as bad as others we’ve seen.
Unfortunately, not everyone viewing these shows does so objectively. Young people who are just learning about the ways of the world, may view some of these more extreme shows and think such behavior is appropriate in reality, not just as entertainment. They see svelte, buff bodies treating others as objects instead of people. They see individuals playing mind games with one another in order to receive a prize that ultimately may not be appropriate for them. There is so little “reality” in “reality TV” that I am truly frightened for future generations. Not everyone has been sat down and had the world of television explained to them. Even as adults, we can often be confused by perceived reality.
For those who understand the what they are seeing is entertainment, “reality dating shows” can be informative. By observing people and their reactions, we can learn a great deal about them. These shows can bring up topics and situations that may be difficult for individuals to discuss, but now that they are on TV, the discussion is not as awkward. Most people cannot help but verbalize over extreme behavior as is often seen on “reality” shows, thereby creating a pattern of positive peer pressure against certain behaviors. At the very least, discussions are taking place that enlighten viewers, rather they take place on the screen or because of it.
I am not a fan of “reality” shows. Although I can see a benefit, I don’t believe that most people actively pursue the positive influence they can have and instead, they use the extreme situations intended to entertain, as an excuse for their own inappropriate behavior. I am, however, determined to be positive, so, although I do think “dating reality shows” have an over-all negative impact on society, I will maintain the possibility that even they can help make this world a better place.