Tell us about the new book and how you came to write it. We needed to analyze representations of women in media, and call out the worst offenders. I saw that the classic templates of backlash against feminism — dividing women against each other, getting women to devalue themselves — were being played out for fun and profit. Did you ever think the industry would grow the way it has? Is it worse now?
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Tell us about the new book and how you came to write it. We needed to analyze representations of women in media, and call out the worst offenders. I saw that the classic templates of backlash against feminism — dividing women against each other, getting women to devalue themselves — were being played out for fun and profit. Did you ever think the industry would grow the way it has? Is it worse now? For example, VH-1 in gave us Flavor of Love [starring rap star Flavor-Flav], and now we have dozens of shows featuring people of color of both sexes.
For example, E! But I do think that these are divide-and-conquer tactics. And it escalates in times of anxiety. In general, most of what you see on reality TV is a result of media companies targeting their programming younger and younger — and mostly white.
Just as that scripted show Cougar Town pretends Courtney Cox is anything but a stone fox. What do you see happening? We will not really know what it is until we have serious studies, like the ones that have been done about fictional shows or Barbie dolls.
But I can tell you that the way women perceive these shows has shifted as these shows became more pervasive. I got a lot of questions about Ryan Jenkins, a semifinalist in Megan Wants to Marry a Millionaire , when the supermodel he married turned up dead — so much so, that the only way she could be identified was by her breast implants. You also write about the product placement. How does that link to sexism? Or the shampoo-branded hair salons on Runway.
Instead, they can collaborate with producers to turn entire reality series into commercial for their products, rolling out all their messages over a season.
What can we, as self-aware women with a stake in this society, do to counteract these trends? A resource guide on the Reality Bites Back website that will point you to organizations that can help you get involved.
Choose a strategy that energizes you, and work to transform the media. We need to join together to beat Goliath. And we can.
Reality Bites Back
Wealthy ladies who lunch backstab while obsessing over brand-name clothes, cars and jewels on The Real Housewives Of…everywhere. What has a decade of reality TV taught us about women and men, race and class, love and sex, beauty and violence, advertising and consumption, and more? And, what can you do about it? Read Reality Bites Blog for news and analysis of current reality shows, stars, advertisers and producers. Have questions or concerns about images of women and people of color in reality television? Share your thoughts in the comments — or pitch a guest post to the blog.
Women's Voices For Change
Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV