Why I quit The Bachelor, Real Housewives and other $hit reality TV
By: Jen Schaeffers, Founder NetworkinginVan.com
Disclaimer: I feel the need for this at the front end of this blog since some readers might read this blog post title and think I am one of the following: a prude, take myself too seriously, am no fun or generally suck. I would like to think I am none of these things. I am the first one on a dance floor, a woman who likes to shop, drink wine and be silly, I do not get offended easily and I am the first to make fun of myself. There, I said it.
The Hills. The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, Laguna Beach, Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of you name it, The Kardashians…I could go on. Trust me, I have watched them all. I have relished in drinking bottles of wine with girlfriends and laughing, often judging, uttering “she did that???” “what is SHE wearing???” and thoroughly seemed to enjoy myself along the way. I mean c’mon I would never be as shallow as the women on those shows and a little reality tv isn’t harmful, right?
Until I realized something this year…my brain cells were dying little by little every minute of this media garbage I consumed. Even though I abhorred some of the behaviour shown on the shows and knew deep down I would never be a goldigger or slap another girl in a bar, I still continued to watch.
WHY??? I don’t know why, why do you watch reality TV? Why are some of you dying a little tonight because the Real Housewives of Vancouver is premiering? A little self reflection please.
I am honestly not sure. But I woke up a little in the last six months. Maybe it’s because I watched a thought provoking, insightful and educational documentary called Miss Representation - which made me realize a little bit more about myself and how the media is doing an awesome job at manipulating us in ways even I wasn’t aware of. Maybe it’s because I have become exposed to powerful women – women who have gained their empowerment through their work, their brains and by helping their community – not by the fact they slept with a really rich guy or that they use their sexuality to make gains for themselves. Maybe it’s because I now have a young daughter and I am really scared about how this is all going to affect her as she grows up.
But I noticed something in the last six months since I put the ban on all crap reality tv and tabloids.
I am noticeably happier. Coincidence? Maybe. But I don’t think so.
You see, I think reality TV portrays some pretty horrific stereotypes of women. Women are catty, bitchy, goldiggers who are always going to create drama. This is SO limiting and yet – we accept it – we watch it – we love it – we want more of it! I think this is very damaging, especially for young girls growing up and looking at these women as role models, as women that they would want to be like. EEEK. Put that up there with Women’s Football Lingerie League.
I think as women, this affects us in a way that is so deeply rooted in our subconscience, that we actually aren’t even aware of it. How do you feel after watching a show like that? I don’t know about you, but I usually feel like I need to make some sort of improvements to my looks, my body….maybe not right away but the ideas creep in there. Maybe I am alone in this thinking. How do you feel?
Bottom line is for me, I’ve given it up and I am using the time that I used to spend on these programs and putting it to good use. Mentoring, supporting and promoting other women. I am meeting dynamic women who are doing it all and making it look good. I am feeling empowered because of my mind and my work and not because I have a bangin’ body and I just got my weekly botox injection (which I have never had). I am not judging. I am just saying what seems to be working for me, and as a 33 year old woman who grew up fundamentally insecure, I’ve never been happier and more fulfilled in my life.
Got a comment? Would love to hear it.
Follow me @jenu2
Some of my faves:
Miss Representation (DVD comes on Tuesday!)
NIV’s Women Making a Difference Profile Series
Think: Straight Talk for Women in a Dumbed Down World