The Legalization of Prostitution

When Donna Summer “works hard for the money,” we think of nothing more than “bad girls” singing a catchy disco tune that gets us on our feet.  When we are reminded of Julia Roberts’ famous role as a hooker in Pretty Woman, we think of an unlucky woman just trying to pay the bills who gets lucky – yes, it has two meanings – when Richard Gere whisks her away and turns her into the classy gal we all knew was hiding under that platinum blonde wig.  But once we turn our heads back to reality, we realize that prostitution is hardly rewarded with gold records and shopping sprees, but two silver bracelets and a lovely orange jumpsuit.

Yet reality keeps trying to convince us otherwise.  (Forgive me, I meant reality television, not reality realty.)

All based upon the phony concept of “finding true love,” we find season after season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette slathered across our TV screens because, in lieu of creativity, the TV powers that be think that watching 25 women throw themselves at a single man (and vice versa) is the new wave of entertainment. This love fest culminates in the dramatic outpouring of emotions and inevitable proposal, followed by the couple’s eventual separation, keeping misguided fans talking long after their 15 minutes are up.

And now, ABC has brought back past Bachelor and Bachelorette rejects in a new reality series, riding a wave that has quickly morphed into the tsunami of overkill.  If watching one man or woman flirt, kiss and reach near pornographic levels with 25 members of the opposite sex in just a number of weeks wasn’t sleazy enough for your viewing pleasure, the creators of Bachelor Pad have upped the ante, adding a $250,000 bonus as incentive in an already deceptive crowd.

Now, in Survivor-like fashion, these 19 contestants – 11 women and 8 men – will compete in various challenges.  The winner will then get to choose three members of the opposite sex to take on a date, one of which will gain immunity when the cast decides who should stay or who should go at the end of the episode.  (This is where I could begin an annoying and much too feminist rant on what the gender imbalance could very well imply, but I think you can all draw your own conclusions pretty well.)  Here, these lovely cast members play for love and money… but mostly money.  (Read this article by Entertainment Weekly’s Mandi Bierly posted earlier today for more information.)

They are, in a sense, selling themselves by using their sexuality and permiscuous nature to earn quite a large payout.  And while I do not want to sound overly judgemental, I do believe streetwalkers and gigolos use the very same tactic.

We will watch them fight, play, scream, cry and kiss all for our entertainment and their own monetary gain – porn for primetime television, if you will.  The only spark of reality that will ever gleam from this show is the hard truth that television continues to wane in the creativity department, while the viewing audience continues to gobble up this garbage, voluntarily demeaning themselves and nixing any chance for intellectual respect.  In fact, perhaps the biggest perpetrators are those who have unleashed such horrendous intellectual crimes on our culture, numbing our minds so we’ll never notice the atrocious programming they continue to slap in our faces.  Because if these shows and these contestants accurately represent today’s reality, then what they say about the world going to Hell in a handbasket really rings true.  Loud and clear.

(Photo courtesy of abc.com.)

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  1. I’m totally guilty of indulging in a little Reality TV (Survivor, Big Brother, The Real World, etc), but you’re right on the money in terms of dating/romance-based Reality TV. It’s so fake and trashy it hurts.

    The sad part is that quality fictionalized television suffers because Reality is so cheap for networks to produce. It’s really sad that a show like Mad Men only gets 2.5 million viewers, while Bachelor-esque shows’ ratings are through the roof.

      • Anna Papachristos
      • August 11th, 2010

      Indeed! I’ll admit, I’ve gotten sucked into my fair share of reality shows, but they tend to be the ones that display people’s talent, not their bodies. Though I’m not shocked that shows like this continue to pop up and run rampant… We should’ve all known TV was doomed when The Jersey Shore took off.

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