Race and Gender Portrayal on MTV Reality Shows
Magdalene Manuel, COM450: Communication and Society
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Ann Liao, Communication
MTV has been producing reality shows since the early 1990s, and the network continues to create different reality shows today. The purpose of this study was to investigate how cast members were portrayed on MTV reality shows, in terms of their race and gender. Cultivation theory was used to examine how the people on these reality shows were depicted when it comes to race and gender, to the viewers that were watching at home. Cultivation theory helps to relate what's shown on reality television with what's true in the real world. To better understand how different races and genders were portrayed on MTV reality shows, I plan to do a content analysis on five different MTV reality shows “The Real World, The Challenge, Are You the One?, Jersey Shore, and Floribama Shore. I viewed the first season of each of the shows to record the ways in which the different cast members were depicted. My initial goal was to observe how visible the members were in terms of their race and gender. Next, I noted how visible races and genders were in individual confessionals/interviews. My viewing observations concluded by predicting how likely cast members were to start fights, both physical and verbal.
Manuel, Magdalene, "Race and Gender Portrayal on MTV Reality Shows" (2021). Communication and Humanities. 4.