Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Salon: "Is reality TV good for girls?"

Salon reports that a new study from as reliable source as the Girl Scout Research Institute found plenty to confirm all your worst fears about girls who define themselves as “regular” reality watchers. After surveying 1,100 girls aged between 11 and 17 nationwide, the Girl Scouts found that compared with their non-reality TV watching peers, reality fans are likelier to agree that gossiping is a normal part of girls’ relationships (78 percent vs. 54 percent), that girls are naturally “catty” with each other (68 percent vs. 50 percent) and that it’s “hard to trust” girls (63 percent vs. 50 percent).

Regular reality-TV viewers also report spending a significantly larger amount of time on their appearance and are far likelier to agree with statements like “Being mean earns you more respect than being nice.” Apparently, reality fans don’t join the Girl Scouts to make friends; they join to win.

But maybe not everything dished out on reality TV has a soul-crushing effect. It turns out, according to the poll, that reality watchers exceed their peers’ confidence levels regarding “almost every personal characteristic” — including maturity, intelligence, and humor. They’re also more likely to aspire to lead and more aware of social issues. Two-thirds said that the shows have sparked important conversations with parents and friends.