Praise for Reality Bites Back

What Journalists, Professors & Bloggers Are Saying About Reality Bites Back

“F*CKING AMAZING BOOK!!! Everyone who owns a TV, or plans to interact with anyone who owns a TV needs to read this book! It is insightful, well written, and an easy funny fun read. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is easily the best new non fiction I’ve read in years! For reals y’all: do yourself a favor and pick it up!”

Cecilia Lederer, Comedian and Writer, The Colbert Report

“A witty, original and very smart analysis of the dark side of reality TV.  Pozner expertly reveals the toxicity of what many consider to be simple lightweight entertainment and arms readers with creative ways to resist and fight back.  A serious scholarly work based on years of research, Reality Bites Back is also fast-paced and fascinating.  You’ll never look at these shows the same way again!”

Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D, Creator, Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series, Author, Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids

“Jennifer Pozner’s Reality Bites Back is an extraordinary gift to critical media literature.  Instead of hurling down invectives against popular culture from an insulated ivory tower; Pozner grabs a bowl of popcorn and sits down to watch your favorite guilty pleasure TV by your side. She is a smart, snarky fellow traveler who offers stinging criticism and stunning insights peppered with just enough colloquial profanity to keep readers laughing and shaking our heads. With delicious detail Pozner reveals the corporate interests, labor abuses, and human humiliation at the heart of unscripted television. She reminds us that television is never accidental. It is always purposively directed to reinforce particular social lessons. Pozner reminds us that “reality” TV’s portrayal of love, beauty, desire, success and consumption serve very specific political and ideological purposes.  This should be required reading for every American girl and woman.”

Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Professor, Department of Politics and Center for African American Studies, Princeton University; Commentator; MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann; Columnist, The Nation

“It’s been a decade since reality TV came on the scene with its hot tubs, interchangeable bachelors, and ladies who weren’t there to make friends, and while most of us have been able to say that it’s not necessarily good for us, there’s been no comprehensive argument as to what makes it, well, bad. Reality Bites Back is that argument—a cogent, witty, and exhaustively researched look at how your reality-TV sausage gets made. And since the next decade of reality programming is likely to continue down its slippery slope, the book’s forward-thinking call for more media literacy and less televised stereotyping couldn’t come at a more crucial time. TV can still be a guilty pleasure, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be an informed one.”

Andi Zeisler, Editorial Director, Bitch Media,

“Hooray! Here comes Pozner, ready to lay some reality on reality TV. Find out why these shows sell even when we don’t watch, and what they sell, thanks to producers who say “it’s a lot of fun to watch girls crying.” Fun, fresh and furious, Reality Bites Back is feminist media criticism at its best. Brava Pozner. Reality TV’s not real, but some might like it to be, and this is really good, important reading.”

Laura Flanders, Host and founder, GRITtv, Author BUSHWOMEN, Tales of a Cynical Species and Real Majority, Media Minority: The Cost of Sidelining Women in Reporting

“A landmark study of one of the most misunderstood (and vitally important) aspects of popular culture. Mixing superb extensive research with crystal clear writing (and a scathing wit) Jennifer Pozner demonstrates not only the entirely fabricated nature of so-called ‘reality’ television, but illustrates how the gender, racial and class narratives it spins for its audience are deeply reactionary – and how those narratives fit seemlessly into the commercial logic of the corporate media system. If reality television is a ‘guilty pleasure’, this book will disabuse any honest reader of the notion that it is just escapist and innocent.  An indispensable tool for teachers of media and popular culture. I will use it in my classes.”

Sut Jhally, Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Founder and Executive Director, The media Education Foundation

“Amazingly on-target… packed with incisive commentary about reality TV programming along with a wealth of in-depth research to back it up. Pozner writes in an engaging, shoot-from-the-hip style that adds additional impact to the excellent material she presents. An essential read.

Carol J. Binkowski, Library Journal

“Media is a form of sustenance for our society. Right now, our television “diet” consists of fables about what reality looks like, fables that often leave women looking damaged and destructive. How do you change the game? First you understand it…. Pozner’s `Reality Bites Back’ is a chance to understand why reality television is such a dominant form of media, and how that shapes our interactions with each other and the world.”

Farai Chideya, Radio and television broadcaster, Author of The Color of Our Future and Kiss the Sky

“Reality Bites Back is an incredible resource for media educators. From concrete examples of destructive messages in specific programs, to media literacy activity ideas, to a thorough resource guide, it offers an evidence-based analysis of reality TV without demonizing its audiences for watching. In fact, Pozner empowers viewers to confront sexist, racist representations in unscripted programming in ways that are fun, meaningful, and do-able for young people. I can’t wait to share Reality Bites Back with the teen filmmakers I work with at Reel Grrls.”

Maile Martinez, Program Manager, Reel Grrls, Seattle

“With Reality Bites Back, author Jennifer L. Pozner provides a decoder ring for understanding how today’s most popular TV shows manipulate what we think about ourselves and others. Revealing complicated issues of body image, sexuality, money, race, and gender, Reality Bites Back is a smart and witty lesson in media literacy. Readers new to the topic will come away with a clear understanding of the pop culture politics we’re swimming in. Those more familiar with the subject will find updated examples and deep analysis. Jennifer Pozner is a clever writer with a keen eye for the issues that matter. Expect to be both edified and entertained.”

Shira Tarrant, PhD, Author, Men and Feminism, Associate Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, California State University, Long Beach

“A must-read for every parent who wants to understand what their kids are watching. Jennifer Pozner does a brilliant job at exposing the troubling hyperconsumerist messages and offers common sense ways for fighting back. As a feminist, a mom and an educator, it frightens me how easily we have allowed reality TV to define beauty, intelligence and what we should own.”

Veronica I. Arreola, Writer,, Program Director, WISE (Women In Science and Engineering), University of Illinois at Chicago

“Reality Bites Back is a MUST READ for casual reality TV watchers, committed reality TV show addicts and those frustrated by the onslaught of reality television. It is a comprehensive, well-researched, intelligent look at voyeur culture and what reality television tells us about our cultural understanding of race, class, gender and status.”

Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Executive Editor,

“Pozner delivers the goods by comprehensively analyzing race, class and gender in TV reality shows, imagining healthier media alternatives, and offering viewers concrete steps to deconstruct racist messages and build their own media activist projects. A must-read for all avid TV watchers, and those who love us.”

Rinku Sen, Publisher of ColorLines magazine, and President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC)