Presentation on theme: "Analyzed through the eyes of the three sociological perspectives Meghan Setser."— Presentation transcript:
Analyzed through the eyes of the three sociological perspectives Meghan Setser
I chose to do my topic on reality TV. This I feel is an interesting topic because of the large role and growing affect it has in our society today. The ways in which we view television personalities and how we in some ways choose to model our lives after them is really astonishing, and I wanted to further explore these affects.
Social Conflict Views society as a battle for power and resources Symbolic Interaction The symbols we share with one another shape our interactions Structural Functional Views society as a machine with all of its parts working together
What is the Ultimate Goal? The ultimate goal for the contestant is to achieve high show ratings, which in turn allows them to make the most of those 15 minutes of fame. Someone on a reality TV show doesnt want to be forgotten when the season ends; they want to reap every benefit possible. This includes, but is not limited to money, additional fame, spin-offs, signature products, etc. Similarly, the goals for the show are to achieve high ratings so that the show stays on top (which means relying heavily on the shows cast to lure in viewers). The high ratings leads to more publicity and more viewers. An example of this would be John and Kate Plus 8, whose high ratings lead Kate, John and the kids to be on the cover of popular magazines, oftentimes with a spread in the magazine telling a story about the latest things going on in their lives. This in turn attracts new viewers. What are the Power Resources to Help People Attain the Ultimate Goal? Some of the power resources are attractiveness, an outgoing and interesting personality and the way in which they interact with their cast mates.
Who Wants Them? People who are in search of fame and fortune want the power resources. These may include aspiring actors/actresses, singers, dancers and even comedians. The power resources appeal to people who are looking for an easy way to get their foot in the door of the business industry as well as those in search of fame and fortune. Who Has Them? Those who are willing to go outside of the box and get wild are typically those who are in control of the power resources. Those who are able to recognize what makes for good TV and give the people what they want (unexpectedness) and keep them on the edge of their seat will ultimately reap the benefits of possessing such power resources. An example of this would be Teresa Giudice from The Real Housewives of New Jersey who flipped a table at her costar and neighbor Danielle Staub. This unexpected act was just what the viewers wanted.
How/Where/Why Are They Fighting About the Power Resources? People are fighting for these power resources by constantly trying to go above and beyond and outdo their competition. In many cases, this is exercised through erratic behavior. Such behavior can be linked to partying, sexual relations, and the abuse of drugs and alcohol that is caught on camera. Also, people use their sexual appeal to fight by staying in-shape and turning to plastic surgery in order to maintain the perfect body, which is being done off camera. This is all happening in the hopes of staying on top and in the limelight. As Heidi Klum says on Project Runway, one day youre in, the next youre out and when youre out the fame and fortune ceases.
Who is Winning? The one who is able to continually entertain their audience and keep things fresh, exciting, and unexpected is winning. People want to watch someone when they never know what crazy thing theyll do next. A prime example of this would be Spencer Pratt from The Hills.
What Are the Structures? The structures involved in reality TV are the contestants or cast members, the host and judges (if applicable), the production crew, and the viewers. How Do the Parts Work Together As A Whole? The contestants or cast members are there to compete with one another for either prizes and money granted to the winner, or a paycheck depending on the type of reality show (i.e. Survivor v. Jersey Shore). If there are judges or a host, they work with one another to maintain fun relationships viewers like to see (i.e. playful fighting between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell on American Idol) as well as with the contestants to set rules and guidelines for the show. The production crew works with everyone involved in the show. It is their job to catch all of the juicy material on tape as it happens. They also edit the tapes to put together a final product that will be satisfactory to the viewers. The viewers then have the responsibility to watch the shows and weed out the good ones from the bad. This is done by viewer loyalty and watching the shows regularly to keep up the good shows ratings.
What is the Function of the Whole Social Interaction? The function of the reality TV shows is to provide entertaining shows for the viewers, who in turn watch them and select the best ones by increasing the ratings of the most watched shows. This allows those shows to gain popularity and high ratings and those involved in the making of the show to become famous and receive a payout.
Manifest: Money Ratings Latent: Entertainment for viewers Creates jobs Spin-offs Creation of products by cast members (perfume, books, clothing line, etc.) Members of show become icons and role models for viewers Dysfunction: Members of show may be bad influence/ role models for viewers May send message condoning the abuse of drugs, alcohol, risqué and reckless sexual behavior May set the example to disregard rules and consequences
How Do the Structures Adapt? These structures have adapted by a shift from reality TV to scripted TV. Almost all reality shows are scripted now in order to achieve the ratings the producers and cast members crave. Writers are hired to incorporate scandal, controversy, love triangles and alliances into the shows story line in order to attract new viewers and keep old viewers watching. A prime example of this is The Hills finale, where at the end of the final episode a set was revealed to show that the reality show wasnt always as real and true as it was assumed to be. As one of the main stars on the show was quoted after the big reveal of the final episode, Nothing you see on TV is real. Fans need to understand its all entertainment. Its all in fun. I would never put my close friends or a real relationship on a show. The Hills Finale
Symbols and Their Meaning: Phrases (grenade, smush, fist pump hot) Clothing- the type/brand of clothing you wear associates you with certain groups and either a positive or negative connotation Hairstyles (poof=guidette) Guidos/guidette- assumption is made that everyone from New Jersey/ New York is a tan and juiced guido Peoples behavior (binge drinking, partying, drug use, promiscuous sex) Alliances
Does Everyone Agree on the Meaning? Society labels and stereotypes you based on the way you look and dress and pretty much everyone agrees on the meaning of each stereotype. An example of this is how people from New Jersey are often stereotyped to be like those seen on Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Because of the image the media is portraying of New Jersey, people are likely to think that those on the shows accurately reflect those in New Jersey. Also, the understanding of an alliance is pretty universal and at one point or another in most reality shows they are formed in order to achieve something. This could be money in Survivor, whose motto is to Outwit, Outplay, Outsmart, or the opportunity to befriend someone so you have someone on your side to defend you or lean on like on Americas Next Top Model, The Hills, or Jersey Shore.
How Does the Interpretation of Symbols Shape Peoples Interactions? They way these symbols are interpreted affects the way people interact with one another because people are greatly influenced by what they are around (partying, drugs, drinking, etc.) And if they are around such things as in many times they are while filming, they may act differently than they normally would in order to fit in, look cool, or make for good TV. Are Interactions Changing On This Issue? Yes, interactions are changing on this issue. It is being more widely believed that any publicity is good publicity. People are more likely to go outside of their comfort zone because of the social pressures experienced around them by their peers and the media. I feel that standards for appropriate behavior are dramatically falling and there is no limit to what can be sacrificed when possible fame and fortune are at stake, especially in todays economy.
After evaluating the messages of reality TV, whos involved and whom it affects, I was able to apply the same concept in other areas of our society. There are a lot of cultural echoes in todays society. My findings on reality TV through the three sociological perspectives were also apparent in other forms of entertainment, such as facebook, and even google, and in videos such as Girls Gone Wild. We as a country are crazed and obsessed with what the media has to offer us next, and because of this the title of reality TV is extremely contradicting. Everything we view is a carefully calculated move made by advertisers, production staffs, and corporations, and we are more than willing to soak up everything they have to say. We keep it in the foremost parts of our mind so we can soon adjust our lives to fit the demanding cool and sexy molds the media is constantly spewing out every day regardless of its declining standards and morals and the lack of core values. We need to regain control of our core values and resist the temptation of getting sucked into TV shows and distasteful messages the media tries to convey. A recent Calvin Klein underwear commercial displays these lack of values. Calvin Klein X (Click)