Don’t Blame Reality TV for Real Life Bullies, Phaedra

November 2, 2011  |  

Phaedra Parks has taken a line from the Shaunie O’Neal book and decided to speak out about the ills of reality TV. “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star recently told The Associated Press, that shows such as her’s promote a “culture of bullying.”

“I believe that the behavior you see on reality TV does not exactly exemplify how adults should be conducting themselves,” she said, adding that the show is not for young viewers and that parents need to monitor what their kids are watching. Well duh.

When AP asked her costar Kandi Burress for her thoughts, she said: “A lot of people try to find reasons or ways to blame people or situations for their grief or sadness. Personally, I think reality TV is a mimic of what’s happening in real life, not the other way around. People have always had arguments, and there’s always been cliques.”

I’m more in agreement with Kandi. Reality TV is like the new token scapegoat—what rap once was and in some ways still is. I completely agree that children shouldn’t watch these shows; therefore if as a parent you allow your child to catch Malaysia and Laura throwing blows at a restaurant on “Basketball Wives” and your daughter decides to do the same thing at school the next day, is someone across the country who never met your child really to blame? Or are you?

Why was she allowed to watch the show in the first place, and why is the example being set for her in her home not stronger than the one she sees on TV? I’m not saying some of these shows couldn’t use a bit of a cleanup, but I look at them as adult entertainment—something to be enjoyed by a person who knows that they can’t get away with acting a fool in public without serious legal, financial, and professional consequences. If you don’t know the difference between scripted reality and true life, you shouldn’t be watching.

What do you think about the idea that reality TV promotes a culture of bullying? Is Phaedra right about the way these stars conduct themselves? Or is Kandi correct in stating that reality TV mimics real life? Maybe her life…

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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