A New Form of Representation or Depictions as Usual?
The origins of reality TV can be traced to the 1940s launch of Queen for a Day, an early US game show. Since its emergence, the genre of reality television has grown in presence and popularity among producers and consumers. We might assume that these unscripted, yet heavily edited, shows present reality to their audiences. However, scholars have found that many audience members acknowledge and accept the fact that reality television is not real (Andrejevic & Colby, 2006; Biressi & Nunn, 2005; Clissold, 2004; Gillan, 2004; Gray, 2009; Stern, 2005). Many producers and directors acknowledge the extensive participant recruiting and editing processes that go into the production of reality television shows (Andrejevic, 2004; Ouellette & Murray, 2009; Pozner, 2010). Thus, one could argue that the reality in these television shows is actually a constructed reality—produced by the editors, rather than the actual participants. So what does this constructed reality say about Black women in contemporary US society? We begin this exploration, first, by assessing what others have written about women’s roles, in general, in reality television. Then we discuss what reality television is, its effects, and potential implications of mediated depictions of women in these programs. We can then establish the basis for this project and begin to interrogate Black women’s ← 1 | 2 → depictions in reality television in general and in docusoaps, a subgenre of reality television, specifically via #EnoughisEnough.
Women in Reality Television
Reality television has helped to increase the number of...
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