The Negative Influence of Reality TV on Teenage Girls

Many of us may have conversed around the water cooler about the provocative behavior that is displayed on some reality TV shows. It’s like junk food: we love it and we know it’s bad for us, but we—and our children—watch anyway. You might say that it’s a parent’s duty to steer a child in the right direction; however, with loads of technology available at our fingertips on a variety of devices, it can be next to impossible to shield a child from junk TV. Reality TV is popular entertainment that may be having an impact on teenage girls, making it seem that the impertinent verbal exchanges and sometimes violent confrontations displayed heavily on reality TV shows such as Basketball Wives and Real Housewives of Atlanta are normal and desirable forms of behavior.

A research report commissioned by The Newspaper Association of America Foundation, Fitting into Their Lives: A Survey of Three Studies About Youth Media Usage by Vivian Vahlberg, found that “young people spend about as much time consuming media everyday (7 hours and 39 minutes) as their parents spend working.” Also, “if you factor in the additional media usage consumed in multi-tasking, young people pack 10 ¾ hours’ worth of media content into every day.” Many studies over the years have documented that some of our opinions are formed by what we consume through the media. Reflecting on over 10 hours of daily media consumption, it is reasonable to wonder how teenage girl’s behavior and perception – of society and of themselves – are being influenced by the portrayals of women on TV.

Jennifer Pozner, the director of Women in Media & News in New York City and the author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, shared her perspective on reality TV in an online interview with Anne Kingston of Maclean’s, a Canadian weekly magazine. Pozner emphasized how reality TV shows are all scripted with “Frankenbites,” which help exaggerate and distort a character’s true motives or intent. For example, she notes that formerReal Housewives of Atlanta cast member Deshawn Snow was kicked off the show after the first season because she did not fit into the producers’ desired depiction of black women. Instead of highlighting the positive aspects of Snow as a dedicated student, an advocate for women of color, and an avowed Christian, the producers instead wanted to focus on negative imagery of black women.

The internet has become another host to negative depictions, through the posting of videos showing violent real-life confrontations such as the recent physical altercation between two teenage age girls in Ohio over a Twitter dispute that was videotaped and posted online—with over two million viewers. While there may be at best a tenuous connection to the Ohio incident, there is little doubt that its presence online is aimed at audiences who have been conditioned through media, including reality TV, to accept as normal, even heroic, behavior we would once criticize. It’s time to take a step back and reassess our TV standards and take a serious look at the psychological and behavioral impact television, particularly reality TV, has on today’s young women and girls—and vow to do something about it.

 

 

The Negative Influence of Reality TV on Teenage Girls

Many of us may have conversed around the water cooler about the provocative behavior that is displayed on some reality TV shows. It’s like junk food: we love it and we know it’s bad for us, but we—and our children—watch anyway. You might say that it’s a parent’s duty to steer a child in the right direction; however, with loads of technology available at our fingertips on a variety of devices, it can be next to impossible to shield a child from junk TV. Reality TV is popular entertainment that may be having an impact on teenage girls, making it seem that the impertinent verbal exchanges and sometimes violent confrontations displayed heavily on reality TV shows such as Basketball Wives and Real Housewives of Atlanta are normal and desirable forms of behavior.

A research report commissioned by The Newspaper Association of America Foundation, Fitting into Their Lives: A Survey of Three Studies About Youth Media Usage by Vivian Vahlberg, found that “young people spend about as much time consuming media everyday (7 hours and 39 minutes) as their parents spend working.” Also, “if you factor in the additional media usage consumed in multi-tasking, young people pack 10 ¾ hours’ worth of media content into every day.” Many studies over the years have documented that some of our opinions are formed by what we consume through the media. Reflecting on over 10 hours of daily media consumption, it is reasonable to wonder how teenage girl’s behavior and perception – of society and of themselves – are being influenced by the portrayals of women on TV.

Jennifer Pozner, the director of Women in Media & News in New York City and the author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, shared her perspective on reality TV in an online interview with Anne Kingston of Maclean’s, a Canadian weekly magazine. Pozner emphasized how reality TV shows are all scripted with “Frankenbites,” which help exaggerate and distort a character’s true motives or intent. For example, she notes that formerReal Housewives of Atlanta cast member Deshawn Snow was kicked off the show after the first season because she did not fit into the producers’ desired depiction of black women. Instead of highlighting the positive aspects of Snow as a dedicated student, an advocate for women of color, and an avowed Christian, the producers instead wanted to focus on negative imagery of black women.

The internet has become another host to negative depictions, through the posting of videos showing violent real-life confrontations such as the recent physical altercation between two teenage age girls in Ohio over a Twitter dispute that was videotaped and posted online—with over two million viewers. While there may be at best a tenuous connection to the Ohio incident, there is little doubt that its presence online is aimed at audiences who have been conditioned through media, including reality TV, to accept as normal, even heroic, behavior we would once criticize. It’s time to take a step back and reassess our TV standards and take a serious look at the psychological and behavioral impact television, particularly reality TV, has on today’s young women and girls—and vow to do something about it.

 

 

The Negative Influence of Reality TV on Teenage Girls

Many of us may have conversed around the water cooler about the provocative behavior that is displayed on some reality TV shows. It’s like junk food: we love it and we know it’s bad for us, but we—and our children—watch anyway. You might say that it’s a parent’s duty to steer a child in the right direction; however, with loads of technology available at our fingertips on a variety of devices, it can be next to impossible to shield a child from junk TV. Reality TV is popular entertainment that may be having an impact on teenage girls, making it seem that the impertinent verbal exchanges and sometimes violent confrontations displayed heavily on reality TV shows such as Basketball Wives and Real Housewives of Atlanta are normal and desirable forms of behavior.

A research report commissioned by The Newspaper Association of America Foundation, Fitting into Their Lives: A Survey of Three Studies About Youth Media Usage by Vivian Vahlberg, found that “young people spend about as much time consuming media everyday (7 hours and 39 minutes) as their parents spend working.” Also, “if you factor in the additional media usage consumed in multi-tasking, young people pack 10 ¾ hours’ worth of media content into every day.” Many studies over the years have documented that some of our opinions are formed by what we consume through the media. Reflecting on over 10 hours of daily media consumption, it is reasonable to wonder how teenage girl’s behavior and perception – of society and of themselves – are being influenced by the portrayals of women on TV.

Jennifer Pozner, the director of Women in Media & News in New York City and the author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, shared her perspective on reality TV in an online interview with Anne Kingston of Maclean’s, a Canadian weekly magazine. Pozner emphasized how reality TV shows are all scripted with “Frankenbites,” which help exaggerate and distort a character’s true motives or intent. For example, she notes that formerReal Housewives of Atlanta cast member Deshawn Snow was kicked off the show after the first season because she did not fit into the producers’ desired depiction of black women. Instead of highlighting the positive aspects of Snow as a dedicated student, an advocate for women of color, and an avowed Christian, the producers instead wanted to focus on negative imagery of black women.

The internet has become another host to negative depictions, through the posting of videos showing violent real-life confrontations such as the recent physical altercation between two teenage age girls in Ohio over a Twitter dispute that was videotaped and posted online—with over two million viewers. While there may be at best a tenuous connection to the Ohio incident, there is little doubt that its presence online is aimed at audiences who have been conditioned through media, including reality TV, to accept as normal, even heroic, behavior we would once criticize. It’s time to take a step back and reassess our TV standards and take a serious look at the psychological and behavioral impact television, particularly reality TV, has on today’s young women and girls—and vow to do something about it.

 

 

Political Party and the Demographics of America’s Governors

The previous post examined “the demographics of America’s governors and compare[d] them to the demographics of America itself.”

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

It resulted in the following map:

This post will examine the party break-down of this.

Party

Currently twenty out of the fifty states have Democratic governors, twenty-nine out of the fifty states have Republican governors, and one state has an Independent governor:

Let’s first look at gender. Out of the twenty Democratic governors, eighteen are male and two are female. These are Governor Beverly Purdue of North Carolina and Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington.

Out of the twenty-nine Republican governors, twenty-five are male and four are female. These are Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina.

10% of Democratic governors are female while 13.8% of Republican governors are female.

Now let’s move to race. Out of the twenty Democratic governors, nineteen are white and one is black. This is Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

Out of the twenty-nine Republican governors, twenty-five are white, two are Hispanic, and two are South Asian. These are Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Brian Sandavol of Nevada, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina.

5% of Democratic governors are minorities while 13.8% of Republican governors are minorities.

Conclusions

A Republican governor is marginally more likely to be a woman, and about 2.8 times more likely to be a minority, than a Democratic governor.

A lot of flak gets thrown at the Republican Party for being less friendly to women and minorities. Some of the criticism is valid and some is not. A Democrat might volunteer that their party is more friendly to woman and minorities by pointing to the higher number of Democratic woman and minority officeholders in the House of Representatives, state legislative offices, and the presidency.

Nevertheless, it appears that the Republican Party does a better job at promoting minorities and woman at the governor’s level, as of October 2011, than the Democratic Party.

--inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

The Demographics of America’s Governors

This post will look at the demographics of America’s governors and compare them to the demographics of America itself. It will specifically examine gender and race, which are easy to determine. I would add other factors, such as income, age, or area of birth – but these factors are a lot harder to find and work with.

A future post will examine how political party plays into this.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Gender

About half of Americans are male, and about half of Americans are female.

Most of America's governors, on the other hand, are male.

Out of the fifty governors in the United States, 44 are male and 6 are female as of October 8th, 2011. In other words, 88% of governors (about every nine out of ten) in the United States are currently males.

Race

Race is a bit more complicated than gender. According to the 2010 Census, 63.7% of Americans are white – which means that 36.3% of Americans are not white.

The majority of America is white, and similarly the majority of America's governors are white.

Out of the fifty governors in the United States, 45 are white and 5 are minorities as of October 8th, 2011. Exactly nine out of ten governors in America is white.

Gender and Race

We can combine these two sets of data to get a map of America's governors by both gender and race.

Out of the fifty governors in the United States, 41 are white males, 4 are white females, 3 are none-white males, and 2 are non-white females as of October 8th, 2011. White males overachieve quite splendidly; despite being less than one-third of the overall population, they compose more than four out of five of America’s governors. 82% of America’s governors are white males.

Conclusions

America is a very diverse place.

Its governors, on the other hand…not so much.

--inoljt

 

 

Diaries

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