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Black Reality Television: The Media's Portrayal of Black Women on Reality TV Shows

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Shaquanna Shields

on 6 May 2013

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Transcript of Black Reality Television: The Media's Portrayal of Black Women on Reality TV Shows

History of Reality TV -Dates back to the Cold war when Americans were influenced by the government to use hidden cameras and microphones for surveillance purposes (Clissod, 2004).

-Created in 1948, Candid Camera was the first TV reality show (Clissold, 2004).

-The first reality television show with cast members was called ‘An American Family’ (Discovery, 2011).

-While a typical scripted show can cost between $1-2 million per prime-time hour, an hour of reality TV programming costs roughly $700,000 to create (Rendon, 2004). History of Black Women in the Media Purpose Significance of Study Theoretical Perspective -The idea that television has the power to shape our perceptions of reality and the world by affecting attitudes and certain ways of thinking

-Television is a way to market images of the Black community. Repetitive exposure to reality television portrayals of African Americans may lead to viewers’ acceptance of these messages (Fujioka, 1999). Hypothesis and Research Questions By: Shaquanna Shields Black Reality Television: The Media's Portrayal of Black Women on Reality TV Shows The Mammy image was created to imply that black women were only suitable for domestic work, and that they were undesirable by white men. She was considered to be kind, loyal, a mother figure and sexless. MAMMY Jezebel image began as a rationalization for sexual relations between white men and black women, especially sexual unions involving slavers and slaves. In later days, they were seen as a black woman with a big appetite for sex. JEZEBEL SAPPHIRE Sapphire image is described as rude, loud, malicious, stubborn, and overbearing woman with a sharp tongue. Emasculating, one hand on a hip and the other pointing and jabbing, violently and rhythmically rocking her head, mocking Black men. To identify and analyze the positive and negative images of Black women on reality television shows, and investigates which are featured more often and why. The image of black women on reality television shows is a relatively new research topic and has limited pre-existing literature. This research is significant because it will provide new scholarly research on a topic that is relatively popular and a genre of media that is growing. Method -Contextual analysis . “Content analysis enables researchers to sift through large volumes of data with relative ease in a systematic fashion. It can be a useful technique for allowing us to discover and describe the focus of individual, group, institutional, or social attention” (Stelmer, 2001).
-9 Hours of Shows
-Collected data was analyzed using analytical models. Qualitative data, collected data was arranged, and coded Theoretical perspective can be defined as a systematic order of ideas about the phenomena being investigated or as a systematic account of the relations among a set of variables (Warmbrod, 1986). Cultivation Theory Uses and Gratification Theory -Examines the nature of audience involvement and gratification obtained from viewing television, with an emphasis on motives for medium, psychological, and social traits that influence the use and behaviors, or attitudes that develop as a result of the influence of motives and traits

-The theory has proven helpful in identifying a variety of motives regarding media use and viewing patterns that reflect the utility, selectivity and intentionality of audience activity
H1: Negative images of Black women on reality television shows are seen more than positive images.

RQ1: Are Black women portrayed in a more positive or negative image on reality television shows?

RQ2: Why do television stations continue to promote images of black women in reality television shows? Findings The Real Housewives of Atlanta Positive Images of Black Women on The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Number of Black women who were the following out of 6 women
Employed - 5
Married Mother - 2
Non No Alcohol Use - 2
Non-Sexual (clothing/gestures) - 2
Stable family - 4
Did not use vulgar language - 1
Talked positive about cast member(s) - 1 Negative Images of Black women on The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Number of Black women who were the following out of 6 women
Unemployed - 1
Unmarried Mother - 2
Seen Drinking Alcohol - 4
Portrayed Sexual Image (clothing/gestures) - 4Unstable family - 1
Used Vulgar Language - 5
Talked Negatively about cast member(s) 3 Basketball Wives of L.A. Positive Images of Black Women on Basketball Wives of L.A.

Number of Black women who were the following out of 6 women
Employed -5
Married Mother -2
No Alcohol Use - 0
Non-Sexual (clothing/gestures) - 2
Stable family -3
Did not use vulgar language -0
Talked positively about cast member(s) -1

Negative Images of Black women on Basketball Wives L.A.

Number of Black women who were the following out of 6 women
Unemployed -1
Unmarried Mother -4
Used Alcohol - 6
Unstable family -3
Portrayed Sexual Image (clothing/gestures) -4
Used Vulgar Language - 6
Talked Negatively about cast member(s) -5 The Tia and Tamara Show Positive Images of Black Women on The Tia and Tamara Show

Number of Black women who were the following out of 2 women
Employed-2
Married Mother-2
No Alcohol Use-2
Non-Sexual (clothing/gestures)-1
Stable family -2
Did not use vulgar language-1
Talked positively about cast member(s)-1

Negative Images of Black women on The Tia and Tamara Show

Number of Black women who were the following out of 2 women
Unemployed-0
Unmarried Mother-0
Used Alcohol-0Unstable family-0
Portrayed Sexual Image (clothing/gestures)-1
Used Vulgar Language-1
Talked Negatively about cast member(s)-1 Run's House Positive Images of Black Women on Run’s House

Number of Black women who were the following out of 3 women
Employed -2
Married Mother - 1
No Alcohol Use - 3
Non-Sexual (clothing/gestures)- 3
Stable family -3
Did not use vulgar language- 3
Talked positively about cast member(s) -0 Negative Images of Black women on Run’s House

Number of Black women who were the following out of 3 women
Unemployed-1
Unmarried Mother-0
Used Alcohol-0
Unstable family-0
Portrayed Sexual Image (clothing/gestures)-0
Used Vulgar Language-0
Talked Negatively about cast member(s)-0 Results Positive Images of Black Women on Reality Television Shows

Number of Black women who were the following out of 17 women
Employed-82%
Married Mother-41%
No Alcohol Consumption-41%
No Sexual Image (clothing/gestures)-47%
Stable family-70%
Did not use Vulgar Language-29%
Talked positively about cast member(s)-23%

Negative Images of Black women on Reality Television Shows

Number of Black women who were the following out of 17 women
Unemployed-17%
Unmarried Mother-35%
Alcohol Consumption-58%
Showed Sexual Image (clothing/gestures)-52%
Unstable family-29%
Used Vulgar Language-70%
Talked Negatively about cast member(s)-52% THE END
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