Reality Television through the Lens of Catholic Social Teaching and Quintilian

  • Author(s): Elessa Young
  • When: 2016-06
  • Where: John Carroll University
  • A wealth of existing research demonstrates many injustices in the modern reality television show, stemming from the increasingly blurred line between the version of “reality” as a product for entertainment and the real people who are affected by becoming entertainment. An analysis of The Bachelor through Catholic Social teaching and Quintilian’s lens shows that “true love” is not the true intent of The Bachelor franchise. The constructs of the show create an imbalance of power, which produces stunted, unhealthy relationships. The Bachelor produces hurt, humiliation, and changes contestants for the worst, while it degrades its audience’s moral character and respect for others. Its main focus is to pander to the audience’s guilty pleasure of voyeurism, with no real consideration for the relationships or personal well-being or development of its participants or audience, becoming overall very destructive to the common good. Even more irresponsibly, ABC touts it all as true love and romance, while The Bachelor marches forward into prime-time television posing as a noble service to the men and women who are fortunate enough to land a spot on each season. Quintilian urged orators during his time to strive above all to be the most moral individual possible. This is in stark contrast to observations on this particular program, where objective morality is apparently not a consideration. The Bachelorette turns its 57 star into a consumer of men and an infallible deity. The producers play god, giving generously in the form of lavish vacations and exclusive dates, then take away even more, while contestants are robbed of the freedom to make rational and safe choices for themselves.

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