While watching a few of my favorite reality television shows, I started to realize that the LGBTQ+ people on the shows exemplify gay stereotypes. I asked myself do reality TV shows have LGBTQ+ contestants to boost ratings?
Survivor, the CBS survival show, is a culprit of ratings boosting using the LGBTQ+ community. They had one cast member Colton, who was ever the bitter, whiny queen that never wanted to work to help around the camp and loved to start drama. When he was on the show he refused to help out his tribe when he was asked and he intentionally went behind peoples back and talked about them. Colton enforced the stereotype that gay men are bitter, whiny and lazy. The show’s ratings sky-rocketed because of this.
Another show where LGBTQ+ is shown as just a ratings-booster is Big Brother. The last season winner Andy is gay, but that is just because he played the game right.
During the game there was lots of tension. The winner was effeminate and a little whiny, but not in an irritating way. The issue here was cast members ignorance; there were a few contestants that made racial remarks about other cast members. When these women were voted out of the house, the show’s host, Julie Chen, confronted them about their racist remarks.
Yet when Spencer, a homophobic cast member, referred to Andy with a derogatory nickname, there was no discussion of Spencer’s actions when he was booted from the show. Why didn’t the host confront him about the remarks he made? Is demeaning a person because of sexual orientation not as big of a deal as doing the same about race?
There isn’t a difference. People with sexual orientation and race differences have both faced discrimination, and are worthy of equal treatment.
Not all gay men are the way reality TV portrays them. I have many gay friends that are outdoor enthusiasts, who can work hard, and are never creating drama. And these same people will not stand for any type of discrimination.
This is the issue with reality TV today.
They want more ratings and will do anything to get it. If the method they use to earn ratings is body image-related, race-related or social status-related, it is not okay. From what I can tell, if they use a person’s sexual orientation as a ratings booster it is acceptable. Why is this so?
We need to take a step back and look at what we find are acceptable ways to portray the LGBTQ+ community from within first. I know plenty of LGBTQ+ people that degrade others within the community because they dislike how they present themselves. This has to stop first if we are then going to ask those outside the community to portray us differently on reality TV and TV in general.