Wed April 21, 2010
Women and Reality TV --- It Ain't Pretty
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On our show today, a detailed discussion about the distorted if not damaging ways in which women are portrayed on America's reality television programs. Our expert in this regard is Jennifer Pozner, a writer and critic focused on all matters related to women in media. Last week, at the invitation of the University of Tulsa's Department of Women's Studies, Pozner gave a free-to-the-public lecture here on the TU campus. She's our guest today on StudioTulsa. As the executive director of Women in Media & News --- and you can find this organization on the Web at www.WIMNonline.org, by the way --- Pozner has written about women, media, politics, and culture for publications like The Chicago Tribune, Ms., Newsday, Salon.com, and TomPaine.com, among others. She's also appeared, as a TV commentator, on ABC News Now's "Top Priority," Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Fox News Network's "The O'Reilly Factor," WNYC's "On The Media," and elsewhere. Pozner is also the author of a forthcoming book, which is due out in the fall, called "Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty-Pleasure TV." As she tells our host Rich Fisher on today's program, for all its widespread popularity, reality TV actually has very little to do with "reality" as we know it. And although it's thought by many to be largely unscripted and unrehearsed, reality TV is, in fact, a very carefully designed creation that basically functions --- since it's all but controlled by various big-money advertisers --- as a series of infomercials. The real problem here, as Pozner notes, is that these de facto infomercials are both perpetuating and glorifying harmful stereotypes of women --- and of minorities across the board, for that matter.