A Drama Filled Family on Reality TV: Bad for Society, Good for Ratings

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Written by: Michael Sabatino

I will admit, I am a consumer of reality television, and this includes “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”. The family has benefited since the start of their original show which has now branched into others like “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami”, “Kourtney and Kim Take New York”, and “Rob and Chyna”. The family is truthfully famous for no reason, and society just feeds into the family drama that is talked about on E!News, in tabloids, social media, etc.  For example, most recently Kourtney and Scott are off in their on again off again relationship.  Scott was asked to leave the family’s vacation in Costa Rica by Kim Kardashian, and TMZ paparazzi caught him lounging poolside, cuddled up with a model in Miami, FL.  In all seriousness though, I am over always seeing or hearing about them because they are not good for the development of society.

untitledSome people turn to reality television as a way to escape the reality of their own lives.  Huffington Post states in an article titled, “What Kind of TV Viewer Are YOU?”, there are at least four types of TV viewers.  The ones who follow reality TV shows like “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” are known as a “rubber-necker”.  A rubber-necker is, “someone who admits to watching reality TV because it’s like a train wreck they just have to watch.” (huffingtonpost.com).  These types of viewers also may like shows such as “Real Housewives”, and “The Bachelorette”.  The way many of these reality TV stars talk on their shows often make us cringe as viewers.  For example, it is no secret that Robert Kardashian Jr. has been struggling with weight issues for years now.  As I am sure many do sympathize with the struggle of having the body we want, Rob acts like an absolute jackass. In countless episodes, the family goes above and beyond trying to set Rob up with trainers and nutritionists.  Rob just does not seem appreciative of the help, and many viewers can see that when he constantly blows off workouts with his eldest sisters, a family therapy session, or lunch dates with his mom.

The family tries extremely hard to make Rob happy, Kris Jenner even bought him a home and had an interior designer come in to furnish the whole pad for him as we see on season 12 episode 4.  I feel for Rob to a degree because I can recognize the struggle of being unhappy with yourself and your body, but Rob seems to not have a care in the world, and it irritates me as a viewer because he has a family that cares about him.   Stuck up, and unappreciative reality stars do not always make for an interested viewer.

Quite honestly, I would not even want to be a Kardashian due to the amount of negativity they face in their day-to-day lives.  All of the siblings have been in the spotlight for the same amount of time, but for sister Kylie it started at a younger age.  Since she was 10 years old, society has literally seen Kylie transform from a young child to a young woman.  When she was 17, Kylie decided to get lip injections, and her parents had no objections with this decision, as far as we know. This sends a message that kids can do whatever they want and not be reprimanded for irresponsible, body altering decisions.

Kylie was not happy with how her lips looked, and many people in society can relate to this problem.  However, that does not mean that we should go directly to plastic surgery in order to make ourselves feel better.  Being that she is a young woman, girls emulate her for her looks, fashion, and wealth.  People of all ages then started the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge in hopes to get a plumper look like hers.

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The family puts an emphasis on the value of physical appearances.  This is not to say that Hollywood itself has not created an impractical idea of beauty or unhealthy way to obtain this beauty, because it has.  A majority of the family has tried to obtain a new physique or look through beauty enhancements like a waist trimmer, lip injections, or a nose job.  Instead of promoting natural beauty, the family always has to make sure that they go out with a fresh face on to be photo ready, dressed in designer clothing.  The pressure is on to look beautiful, but girls should not feel like they need to have a full face of makeup or fake eyelashes on. Unfortunately, there are those girls that feel like it is necessary to do this, and that is the problem.

According to an article titled, “America’s Pursuit of Unattainable Beauty”, society sees families like the Kardashians and instantly think unobtainable beauty. People do not give themselves the credit they deserve for their natural beauty; instead they attack their imperfections.  This creates body image issues, insecurities, and low self-esteem levels (comactivist.com). The Kardashian family is not a good staple family for society to emulate.

As much as we all want the fortune and success they have, their lives are not that desirable.  The family has no privacy what so ever and episodes have gone from watching their day to day lives out in society, to them sitting in their extravagant homes talking about how Kris is going through a midlife crisis dating someone 10+ years younger than her.  Elite daily says, “You’re paying them because you think that money isn’t worth the same as dignity and you don’t mind paying to watch other people lose theirs. You would rather keep your dignity and be poor than lose it all and be rich. And that’s admirable.”  This could not be anymore spot on because we are in fact paying this family to lose their dignity, gaining good laughs about their lives and problems, compared to focusing attention on our own issues.  This is a problem in society because we are so focused on keeping up with the shows like this that we are not keeping up with what is actually important for us.  I know that asking society to stop paying attention to tabloids and families like the Kardashians is like asking them to not buy Starbucks, but being aware of the amount of reality TV we consume on a weekly basis is smart.

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If society’s views on beauty and success could be shifted from unobtainable goals, to realistic and natural ones, we could get back on the right track.  People need to realize the negative effects reality TV shows, and families like the Kardashians have on the view of entertainment and future generations.  The odyssey published an article titled, “Why The Kardashians Are Bad For Society”, agreeing with this fact and went on to tell people, “… stop feeding into drama frenzy media take over, then America could be great again.”  (theodysseyoneline.com).  If society can go without feeding into materialistic views, we can focus on natural beauty and obtainable success, rather than an unachievable lifestyle reality TV creates or makes us feel like we could never have.

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2 thoughts on “A Drama Filled Family on Reality TV: Bad for Society, Good for Ratings

  1. This entire article is completely spot on. The Kardashians form a bridge between the fictional, unattainable beauty standards of Hollywood and the real world. When we put reality TV stars, who model this insane standard of beauty, up on a pedestal as icons and role models for younger viewers, we accelerate this process of pushing unrealistic beauty standards on young women. At the same time, it was also extremely important to note that living up to these beauty standards, as the Kardashians do, can be a living hell. Not only does this cause physical pain through multiple surgeries and medical procedures, it inflicts mental trauma from the judgement of bystanders in society who sit on the couch watching the “train wreck” happen and lashing out on social media. The article concluded perfectly, pointing towards a direction of self-reflection as well as personal action and achievement.
    -Ian McNeice

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  2. Like you said in your article, when I think of the Kardashians I think of unobtainable beauty. Their reflections on to young women in society is something that I think is terrible. I am not a fan of the Kardashians at all, I cringe when my friends obsess over Kim and what she is wearing or who Kris Jenner is dating. I think that it is ridiculous how caught up people can get with reality television. It is funny however, that I think it is totally normal and okay to be obsessed with characters like Meredith and Derek from Greys Anatomy. (I guess it just seems like a more realistic life) I think that you have a lot of very good points here that are all very different. When you talked about how Kylie Jenner got implants at a young age, and her parents didn’t stop her I agree that shows a very bad example for young women because they are not embracing their natural self. The tweet that you included in this article is very contradicting by the way Kylie is saying she is encouraging people to “be themselves” yet the next thing she says is “don’t be afraid to experiment with your look” which almost is her telling young women that it is OK and acceptable to get surgeries and change the way they are. Doing that is NOT being yourself!!!!!! People like Kylie Jenner should not be considered by any means a role model and I think it is very sad when I hear girls say “I wish I was Kylie”, or for the matter of fact any of the Kardashians. Like you said, they do not have private lives, they are constantly in the spotlight and although I myself contribute, they are constantly being criticized. I agree, we need to focus on self worth and natural beauty and shows like the Kardashians just lessen this in women everywhere. Good job on this blog!! Very interesting read!

    -Kelly Hartlage

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