The Effects Of Neoliberal Ideals On The Portrayal Of Class

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The Effect of Neoliberal Ideals on the Portrayal of Class in Reality TV Over the past two decades, reality TV has become an increasingly popular genre of media and a staple in entertainment culture. As reality TV has continued to grow, scholars have become interested in examining the societal effects of the messages that it promotes. Thus, scholarly research in the genre of reality TV examines how the use of neoliberal ideals affects the portrayal of socioeconomic class. This field of study was first founded in the research of neoliberalism’s presence within the media and reality TV. As time has passed, many scholars have narrowed their examination to the portrayal of socioeconomic class that results from the promotion of neoliberal…show more content…
Unlike George Mantsios, Rennels and Edwards focused their work specifically on reality TV. Each author completed case studies of individual reality TV shows; yet they came to the same conclusion that reality TV presents the poor as individuals, or singular families, that can overcome poverty by working hard and adopting traditional “puritan-esque” values. Here Comes Honey Boo focuses on a southern working-class white family and intentionally emphasizes their lazy lifestyle as well as unconventional behaviors, which implies that their unorthodox lifestyle has lead to their state of poverty (Rennels). Outside of the United States, scholars such as Annabel Tremlett have studied the ways in which class has played into the representation of marginalized minorities, specifically the Gypsy community, in reality TV. Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, “glosses over social conditions and ignores potential for social and cultural change” (Tremlett 324). The immense poverty found within the Gypsy community is attributed to negative aspects of their culture rather than systemic oppression. Narratives in which the men are “drinking and fighting” while the women are “oppressed housewives” are common plotlines that contribute to enforcing Gypsies “otherness” as a reason for their poverty (Tremlett 327). On the other hand, shows such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition “present families as private units that must be helped, not by public aid,
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