Real World Views

In case you haven’t noticed, just about every television show nowadays is some sort of “reality TV” program. A cooking show. A travel show. A spouse finding show. A house flipping show. A rich-people-fighting show. Heck, there’s even shows about people taking their junk into pawn shops! Every channel is teeming with shows that peek into the (heavily edited and likely scripted) lives of our fellow non-celebrities or even would-be-used-to-be celebrities.

Believe it or not, despite how inescapable it is, I’ve never been bitten by the reality TV bug. My parents watch Big Brother and Survivor. They’ve been trying for years to get me hooked on them, but I just can’t. Not for lack of effort, though. To be fair, I did watch Survivor ONCE. What happened in that episode? Let’s see. If I recall correctly, one of the players stole all of the other team’s stuff before they even got to the island where the contest was supposed to take place. When that happened I said “screw this” and put reality TV in my rearview mirror. I just find that watching cheaters do terrible things to other people is more annoying than it is entertaining. As it turns out, that’s pretty much the entire foundation that reality TV is built upon. Not just Survivor, but all of them. Apparently, playing dirty is the norm and expected.

Sometime after the Survivor fiasco, I went back to the well and tried again. This time I chose Dancing with the Stars (after it had been on for a while). That one wasn’t too bad. I even made it through a couple of seasons. The first season I watched was okay, but I had my qualms. I didn’t like that the fan voting made it more of a popularity contest than a dancing contest, and the good dancers got sent home because of it. The second and third seasons kind of lost me when I realized some of the “celebrity” guests they threw in there were pretty much professionals themselves who had obvious dance expertise (a choreographer, an ice skater, a gymnast). How is that fair to the others? That’s like competing in a swim meet and the person you’re up against is a professional lifeguard. Plus, the one guest celebrity who had absolutely no dancing experience and yet was improving over time (which I thought was the whole point of the show) was treated horribly by the judges. I mean horribly. It was cringe-worthy. That turned off whatever interest I may have had in the so-called contest.

Even though I’ve been burned twice, I can’t say that I’ve given up on reality TV quite yet. Much to my dismay, actually. My daughter has turned me on to Project Runway and, to be blunt, it’s driving me insane. I get anxious. Then, I get angry. Then I get anxious AND angry, not to mention loud. And while the emotional roller coaster the show puts me through is not exactly a pleasant experience, I just can’t turn away. I must see who wins. And if it ends up not being the person I want to win, well, I simply can’t be responsible for my actions or what happens to my TV. The problem is that I get too invested. I feel attached to certain players. I become incensed over the rude comments made by the judges. I feel betrayed pissed off when someone cheats. I take offense when a player reveals they are two-faced. How annoying is all that!?  And hey, it’s only my first season of watching. So, yeah.

Watching reality TV just reaffirms everything I hate about people in general and I find it very frustrating that I now wait anxiously for Thursdays to roll around so I can see what the hell happens. I won’t be watching another season of Project Runway, I’m sure, but as it stands now, I just want to make it through this one with my TV and vocal chords intact.

Eye of the Beholder

We live in an age where people list their occupation as “Television Personality.” This means that they appear on television, and that gives them a marketable personality. Think “Kardashians.” No, please, don’t think Kardashians. God knows they get enough press. We have become a Reality TV culture. We watch relatively unknown people, waiting to see what wild and crazy thing they do next and by so doing, make them famous. This brings me to young Farrah Abraham and an article I just read about her.

Eight years ago, Ms. Abraham was a pregnant 16 year-old living with her parents in Council Bluffs, Iowa. MTV announced that they were going to do a program called 16 and Pregnant. Farrah, apparently realizing that she filled the requirement, applied to appear on the show. She was cast and appeared on the second episode. Her baby was born, and, quite fortuitously, MTV announced the premier of a new show, Teen Mom. Farrah was again cast to appear. A Television Personality was born.

Teen Mom was followed by a stint at cooking school and the release of a cookbook. In 2012, she released a studio album AND an autobiography, both called “My Teenage Dream Ended.” This was followed by an appearance on “Couples Therapy.” Of course, her burgeoning fame led to starring in adult movies, you know, as it does. Still, I guess Television Personality sounds better than Porn Star on the resume. Farrah landed a $500,000 contract to appear as a regular at a “Gentleman’s Club” in Texas. Celebrity Big Brother came along in 2015. Farrah was then just 24 years old. After she was “evicted” from the Big Brother house, she looked for the next project.

In so doing, I suppose she felt she must somehow perfect herself. She was already quite lovely. However, some folks think that multiple plastic surgeries will make them more attractive, happier, …and more marketable. It’s sad, really.

Abraham underwent three breast augmentations, a rhinoplasty, chin implant, and lip injections.  Then, she decided that maybe it was time to remodel, as she calls them, her “lady parts.”  She just recently announced that she’d undergone a “vaginal rejuvenation” procedure.  That is the not-so-discreet subject matter of the article I read.

In an interview, she said this about the procedure: “Like you’re 16 again!”  I find that odd in and of itself. It’s not as if she’s 80 to begin with… she’s only 26 for Pete’s sake. Not to mention, I have absolutely no idea why someone would want to announce to the world that they’re even having this kind of procedure, let alone document the whole thing on Instagram and discuss it at length in interviews. But there you go. That’s the world we live in today.

Apparently, this procedure is becoming more and more popular. Who knew?  Ms. Abraham said that she did it so that she would be more attractive and to “heighten feelings of intimacy.” What!? I won’t even get into the fact that science debunks the claim this surgery enhances sensitivity. However, I will say that if she rationalizes her attractiveness and worth on her nether regions, I just find that overwhelmingly depressing.

Now, I’m big on “live and let live” so long as whatever you’re doing isn’t somehow infringing on someone else in some way. But this issue, it just boggles my mind and it saddens me to see us, as a society, going in this direction. I’m reminded of the Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder,” but in a much more intimate setting.

I know women have altered their appearance since the dawn of time, but we’re not talking tattoos or hair color here or even breast implants. This type of surgery, with all of the inherent risks that go with it, is a permanent alteration to your innermost person for no other reason than to look good during sex (or simulations thereof). That’s it. That’s the purpose.

It’s so very disheartening to see women feel the need to go under the knife just to be more accepted, more attractive to others (key word, others), to further their career, to become… more.

Quite frankly, it also seems to run against her claim that she is a “model for all teen moms.”  Having plastic surgery on your vagina at 24 years of age shouldn’t in the remotest be seen as a goal for young women. Well, unless you want to be a Television Personality, I guess.