Is Snooki A Bad Role Model?
A recently released study showed a connection between girls watching women behave horribly on reality TV and behaving horribly in reality. (Does this mean flipping over tables and ripping out weaves isn’t normal?)
The Girl Scout Research Institute (which must have taken a break from developing superior merit badges) released the results of a national survey of girls between the ages of 11 and 17. It showed many depressing trends among girls who regularly watch reality TV, especially when compared to their non-reality-show-watching peers.
First, a majority of girls have a skewed perspective to begin with. Seventy-five percent say competition shows and 50% say real-life shows are “mainly real and unscripted;” apparently unaware of the intense editing and manipulation employed by so-called reality TV.
The regular viewers of these programs are then much more likely to hold a whole bunch of negative and anti-social beliefs than non-viewers, including: “Gossiping is a normal part of relationships between girls” (78% to 54%); “It’s in girls’ natures to be catty and competitive with one another (68% vs. 50%); and “It’s hard for me to trust other girls” (63% vs. 50%).
Furthermore, reality TV viewers are more concerned with their appearance, more eager for boys’ approval, and believe more often that meanness and lying are important and necessary to get ahead.
Perhaps worst of all, while this programing appears to feed cruelty and pettiness, it inflates egos at the same time. Reality TV viewers saw themselves as more mature and better role models, and aspired to leadership more than non-viewers.
Of course, the survey does not show that reality TV causes these beliefs. It is possible that young women with these opinions gravitate naturally to watching reality shows.
The study does note several positive aspects, as several girls reported receiving inspiration from the shows. Also, many leaned about different peoples and important social issues from the programs.
What do you think? Are reality shows a bad influence, or is the survey misleading?