To say the general public is obsessed with reality shows would be putting it mildly. Coming home from a hard days slog and relaxing in front of the TV with a glass of wine (or two) and an episode of the Kardashians seems to be routine for many, many people.
And though some would only admit this obsession if they were forced, and only shamefacedly, this habit not unique to the few. As we can tell by the sheer amount of money people like the Kardashians earn, there is a large captivated audience eagerly waiting for their next reality fix.
The Science Behind The Reality
Though it may seem like a silly thing to study, Reality TV has been studied, and in quite a bit of detail. The main findings in these studies seem to be our social need for voyeurism, which sounds a bit creepy. Spying on your neighbour, peeping in windows creepy? Not really that form of serial killer, hidden camera in your hotel room, head in a fridge kind of creepy voyeurism.
The type of voyeurism we are now displaying seems to be due to our lack of connections to other people. We create busier and busier lives, with crammed schedules that do not allow for the old-world little town drama we used to have. We replace this need for interaction with reality TV, easily accessible in small doses with no need for serious emotional investment from ourselves.
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Some experts believe the need to watch reality TV is bad, while some say its harmless. While this can depend on the person, and their reactions, experts are divided on the end results of reality TV.
Some experts believe that it is a positive form of voyeurism, evoking feelings like empathy for the characters and their situation. While other experts claim that it is a negative form of voyeurism, with people wanting to view peoples most cringe worthy moments and feed off their embarrassment.
The Long Term Impact Of Reality TV
People have moved on from the early days of Survivor and Big Brother and we want different things from our real heroes – but the obsession is still there and does not seem to be flagging any time soon. Is this fascination with all things reality a good thing or a bad thing? Will we grow as emotionally intelligent humans or will this stunt us and create voyeuristic negative societies?
A lot more studies need to be done on the impact of reality TV on society in order to answer these questions. But while society still has the need to intrude on others intimate lives, reality TV will keep going and Kim, Kourtney and Khloe will keep on raking in the big bucks.