Welcome to RealityBitesBackBook.com, where smart meets snark, manipulative “unscripted” television gets exposed, and “Fun with Media Literacy” activities and resources can help you become a more critical media consumer.
On The Bachelor, twenty-five interchangeable hotties compete for the chance to marry a hunky lunkhead they don’t know from Adam. Weepy waifs line up to be objectified for a living (or simply for a moment) on America’s Next Top Model. Wealthy ladies who lunch backstab while obsessing over brand-name clothes, cars and jewels on The Real Housewives Of…everywhere. Branded “ugly ducklings,” appearance-obsessed sad sacks risk their health to be surgically altered on The Swan and Dr. 90210. Starved women get naked for Oreos and men gloat about “dumb-ass girl alliances” on Survivor. Women of color are ostracized as deceitful divas on The Apprentice, lazy or “difficult” on Wife Swap and Bridezillas, and “ghetto” train wrecks on VH1’s Flavor of Love and I Love New York. And through it all, slurs like “bitch,” “beaver,” and “whore” are tossed around as if they’re any other nouns.
And it’s all happening in the name of “reality.”
Why has it come to this? What has a decade of reality TV taught us about women and men, race and class, love and sex, beauty and violence, advertising and consumption, and more? And, what can you do about it? Find out in the groundbreaking new book, Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV.
RealityBitesBackBook.com picks up where this genre-exploding book leaves off. Read Reality Bites Blog for news and analysis of current reality shows, stars, advertisers and producers. Want to dish about your love/hate relationship with Jersey Shore’s Snooki, the latest American Idol judge or contestant, or that reality scandal Joel McHale snarked about on The Soup? Have questions or concerns about images of women and people of color in reality television? Share your thoughts in the comments – or pitch a guest post to the blog.
Check out our Reality TV Drinking Games, Mad Libs (send us your own today!), Deconstruction Guide, and other resources that prove that media literacy is not only the best way to arm yourself against commercial and ideological propaganda—it can also be a lot of fun!
Need a speaker on gender, race and class in the media for your college, high school or community group? Want to offer a media literacy workshop for your campus or non-profit? Organize an event with author Jennifer L. Pozner, and she’ll bring Reality Bites Back on the road.
Looking for an expert source or guest for your story on reality TV, or other media issues? Media critic and journalist Jennifer L. Pozner has been monitoring the genre since 2000, and has offered media commentary to dozens of print, broadcast and online news outlets. Contact Jennifer for an interview, and she’ll be happy to provide context, clarity and laughs for your story.