I love reality television. There, I said it. I am a fan of an industry that arguably does nothing beneficial for society. It is an entire franchise that promotes social norms such as conventional and hard to reach beauty standards, consumerism, vanity and continues to circulate money to people who are often already wealthy, and have limited talent and resources which they truly use to improve society. I understand all of these things and I get that by flipping to station to any of "The Real Housewives" or "Keeping up with the Kardashians," I am in some way supporting concepts that I otherwise stand against, but hear me out.
For me, reality television is mindless and relaxing. After a stressful day, I love to hear about other people's non-problems. Watching someone stress out over lunch reservations in the back seat of limo somehow puts my problems into perspective. I know that some people prefer to think about how their situation is not the worst when they are feeling overwhelmed, but that just depresses me. Rather than try to think of the millions of ways my life could be worse off, I like to immerse myself in pointless drama that is interesting without being stressful, and shows me how silly life's problems really are when they are seen as a part of the bigger picture.
Plus, when I start to watch the shows regularly, I get attached to the characters. Removed from the all of the stigmas surrounding them, they are all real people with hopes and dreams and likes and dislikes and concerns and joys. At the heart of it all, they are people, who despite seeming out of touch are deserving of love and respect and appreciation.
Maybe it is all a strange self-justification I made up to ease the guilt on my guilty to pleasure, but I really do feel that watching trashy TV, not only helps me deal with random things that stress me out, but it has also helped me understand that social problems cannot be solved by being pegged to a human face. They can be actualized in that form, but given the chance to get to know other people better, we will understand that the issue is not them, but the ideas that are cast around them. Change must be conceptualized and that can only happen when we start to see everyone for what they are: humans.