11 September 2011
Cause of ambivalence:
Jersey Shore (and the portrayal of women in reality TV)
"Dear Jersey Shore, in many ways you are entertaining and you make me laugh, but mostly you are setting the woman's movement back about a million years.❤
ps. The deep fried pickles were amazing."
In a hoodie pocket, at the Shore Store, in Seaside Heights, NJ.
Being the pop-culture junkies that we are, my friends and I made a point of stopping in Seaside Heights during our summer road trip (aka the beach town where the MTV show Jersey Shore is filmed.) I will admit that I am a fan of reality TV. Not only is it entertaining, but I am completely fascinated by the way people act when they are on camera. I am also interested in how influential these low budget shows can become, even though they are centered around the lives of seemingly uneducated, ignorant people.
Whether you've taken the time to watch the show or not, chances are, you've heard of Jersey Shore. As unbelievable as it may seem, the six New Jersey self-titled Guidos, have left their mark on North American pop culture. The show has become so influential, that the American clothing brand, Abercrombie and Fitch, has publicly asked the Jersey Shore cast NOT to wear their clothes on the show, even offering to pay them if they comply. This request, which smells more like a publicity stunt than anything else, included the following statement: “We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans.” Although it may, at first glance, seem like an honorable mandate, one wonders however, why the brand felt it was ok to "borrow" one of the show's signature acronyms: GTL (gym, tan, laundry) for a graphic tee design a few months prior?
Nevertheless, my main concern it not how The Situation's outfits are going to affect A&F's annual sales, but how the show's popularity and power is affecting the status of North American women and their relationship to their own sexuality. I applaud the Jersey Shore women for being sexually liberated and for attempting to show to the world that anything the boys can do, they can do better (even if all they do is drink, party and pickup random strangers). However, I do worry about the lightness in which women are discarded at the end of each debaucherous night. Be it the Jersey Shore girls themselves, or the women who the male housemates bring home, MTV producers always make a point of highlighting the fact that once a woman has sex, she becomes worthless. Regardless of this, women still willingly participate. Even after several seasons of the show, women still go home with the Jersey guys, knowing full well that their morning walk of shame will be ridiculed and filmed for all to see. I wonder why they do it, and if it's worth it.
Labels: MY AMBIVALENCE