Since moving out on my own, I’ve wanted to see what I can do without. At first it started with no TV, no cable, no internet. After about a month, I welcomed internet into my life again but remain without cable. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. No more wasted nights in front of that screen watching stupid, vapid, mindless television. I have a few great (and well-written – keyword, written) shows that I download but no more reality TV. This has, by far, been the worst thing to come into our lives… ever. And I was a HUGE reality TV junkie.
A coworker passed along this post from Jezebel. Coles notes version: On last night’s episode of Bachelor Pad, female contestants were stripped down to bikinis and the male contestants were asked a series of questions one of them being Which contestant are you least attracted to? The male contestants then threw an egg at their answer – the poor, unsuspecting female. This is humiliating. No woman wants to hear they’re ugly, no less getting hit with an egg on the back to tell you you’re the ugly one. Bullying like that, even with the most confident of people, can lead to some serious mental trauma.
As this challenge progressed, one contestant in particular, Erica, was pelted with nearly every egg. The girl is not ugly, none of the people on this show are ugly, I couldn’t help but feel for this poor girl. My jaw dropped as each male contestant hit her on the target painted on her back while she was blindfolded.
I have so many things to say about this particular episode (and I only watched the 3:28 clip in the article) that I need to get this out of my system. So, in no particular order, everything wrong with reality television, life as a North American and Bachelor Pad all based on the 3 minute clip I just watched.
1. Bachelor Pad – I had to Google the show, I had no idea what the point of it was, so for those, like me, who are so out of the Bachelor Pad loop, here’s the show in a nutshell courtesy of Wikipedia: The contestants live together in a mansion and take part in challenges to prevent elimination, go on dates with contestants of their choice, and choose other contestants to eliminate and one walks away with a cash prize.
On the surface, I have a hard time feeling bad for any contestant on Bachelor Pad. For starters, you’re put on the original show to win a chance at love, rejection is inevitable. As a viewer, do you cry when people are voted off Survivor? Just because contestants’ emotions are being toyed with on Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad, everyone on that show is still trying to outwit, outlast and outplay the others.
In the case of the video (you must watch it if you haven’t yet, click here), I’ve admitted that at first my heart went out to Erica. It was degrading to watch these stereotypically hunky men throw eggs at her on national television. However, if you made it towards the end of the clip, you’ll see her trying to win back some confidence. Girl puts down other female contestants to rationalize the whole thing. I quote, “When there’s someone like Ella who’s definitely way bigger than I am and I don’t think she’s that pretty. Now all the girls can feel more conceited than me and they can feel more attractive than me. Like, even someone like Ella, like, I feel she can feel, like, better than me now.” For real? This is how you’re making yourself feel better after washing the egg paint/yolk off your body. Someone needs to stop competing on this show, it’s doing nothing for her self-esteem, even if Erica did end up winning the title of most attractive in the house, she’d still be unhappy.
2. Pretty People – Do tall, thin, well chest-dowed women with thick and volumonous, shampoo commercial hair actually feel entitled to more than anyone else? We allow celebrity and entertainment to place far too much focus on appearance when it should be on much more important matters. Don’t get me wrong, I am that girl who wears makeup daily, my wardrobe only consists of dresses, I accessorize and smell pretty. I’m hot and sure I appreciate when I get things for free because I’m a pretty girl but I would never go so far as to expect certain things because of this. And just because I’m pretty, does not give me the right to determine who is not at par with me in the looks department.
3. Mix of celebrity and pretty – The limelight will always seem better than reality, celebrities will always look better than us regular folk, you know why? Because there are teams of people making them look good. Think about it this way, the packaging of a legal blu-ray disc will always look better than that pirated version you bought in Chinatown – it should. There are countless hours of work put in and oodles of cash spent to ensure the appearance of that movie is appealing to the masses and it doesn’t look like something a teenager printed off in his basement. With the advances in technology and social media and the rising popularity in reality shows, the gap between regular people and celebrity has decreased, they’re so much more attainable now and many non-celebrities are trying to make the celebrity lifestyle a reality. You are not getting an invite to the Oscars, please cancel that boob job, George Clooney doesn’t want it.
What this all boils down to is this: North Americans lack confidence. We care too much about body image and getting the latest boobs, the smallest thighs, the cutest nose. And while I’m in no way condoning living an unhealthy lifestyle (do not get that Baconator!), I think we all just need to learn to love ourselves. I know, I will never be a size 2 and to be honest, I don’t want to be, my hip bones are not getting any smaller no matter how much I starve myself. I used to be that girl who would critique every single female who crossed my path and it was never to say something positive about them. It took loads of work to discover that the reason I did this was because I was so unhappy with myself, not just how I physically looked, but the whole package. I’ve worked hard to love myself as I am, who I am, what I am and since changing my frame of mind, I’ve become a much more positive person, sure I still critique women, but it’s to let them know that they have a great dress on, their shoes are absolutely adorable, the presentation they just gave really got me thinking about how I can apply those ideas into my own life. Sure, there are times when people knock me, but I have to remind myself that the reason this person is hating on me is because they’re not happy with themselves.
Judging from the popularity of reality television and trash television, like Bachelor Pad, I suspect that the majority of North Americans are unhappy with their lives and don’t know it. It’s too easy to get stuck in the routine of wake up, eat, work, eat, work more, come home, eat, watch tv, eat, watch tv, sleep and repeat. While most in this routine are perfectly content with life, I am compelled to ask, have you really sat down to seriously consider the true state of your happiness? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as I became a happier person, the amount of trash television I watched decreased. I no longer felt the need to zone out in front of that screen, with a bag of chips in hand, watching America’s Next Top Model and then feeling sorry for myself an hour later, once I was back to reality. I think we need to shake up our routines, shock ourselves into enlisting change in our daily lives. I’m actually living my life now, I’m constantly out and about, going to events, grabbing dinner with friends, playing sports, reading under a tree, discovering new neighbourhoods or even spending an entire afternoon cooking the most fancy meal I can from scratch and it’s amazing. I’ve never felt better about myself. What do you think would happen if you cut out one trash show from your television viewing schedule and had a free hour once a week to do something? Not in front of a screen. What would you do? Try it out.
Lastly, I’m going to end this with my favourite hashtag. This whole show and many of the things we complain about on a daily basis are cases of #firstworldproblems. Let’s find something more important to cry over.