The Real World destroyed television. What once was a group of 20-somethings getting tanked in a really expensive house has turned into a group of skinny, surgically enhanced blonds sitting in a hot tub as they wait for some guy in a tight shirt to take one of them out, either for dating or getting-kicked-off-the-show purposes.
This is reality television, the cast of which is made up of a herd of perfect genetic freaks that should probably live on their own private island to spawn more genetic freaks. And of course they’ll need a hot tub.
“Reality” is a misnomer. In reality, I have never once sat in a hot tub with a bottle of booze and looked as good as the women on those shows.
I turn red and blotchy and always have to pee. Thus, I avoid hot tubs in general, including those that contain better looking chicks.
Also, the only guys I have ever seen in, around or near a hot tub have strange, patchy shoulder hair and look, on average, 43 years old.
I have concluded that reality TV is just another ingenious scheme that the media has thought up in order to make us feel bad about ourselves.
No, it’s not the ridiculous scenarios. It’s the perfect-looking people that play out these scenarios.
A problem arises when people allow what’s displayed in television, ads and fashion to influence how they shape their life.
Some may adhere to a different reality that revolves around the pursuit of perfection, one that is a false construct.
I have watched a friend from my former college starve herself because she was under the impression that she was fat. She hardly went out to eat with us, and when she would, she would stare at disgust at what we were eating while she played with a piece of lettuce for 20 minutes. Eventually, she turned a rather unattractive shade of yellow, and her hair started falling out.
It made our mutual friends more than a little disturbed when she would emerge from the bathroom holding a clump of hair in her hand.
She would also lock herself in the bathroom until she (and whoever else was in the immediate vicinity) was certain whatever food she had eaten that day had not entered her digestive tract.
It was draining on all of us when we would assure her that she was not overweight.
To this she would respond with anger, locking herself in her room which she had decorated with magazine pictures of scantily-clad models, all of whom were also grossly underweight.
For her, all of this started as a goal to lose five pounds, then five more and so forth until she had to go for counseling for anorexia.
On Nov. 10 Oprah’s tough-love sidekick, Dr. Phil, had a show on this topic. He interviewed two women who were similarly consumed with weight loss. The first woman, a 21-year-old law student, smokes, takes speed and ecstasy so she can stay up all night, allowing her to burn more calories.
She weighs 118 pounds and still thinks she is fat, even as her teeth are rotting due to malnutrition.
The other woman on the show formerly weighed 300 pounds before she started taking over-the-counter diet pills. She now weighs about 140 pounds, takes nearly two-dozen pills a day and twitches uncontrollably.
If she tries to cut back on her pills, she goes through withdrawal. She said she can’t gain weight again because people made her life a living hell when she was obese, and now people treat her differently.
In these cases, all three people have allowed their personal images to be distorted by the false reality that society projects.
Consequently, they lost control of their lives as they let the unobtainable goal of perfection motivate their actions. Since none of these three women seemed able to see their own worth, they used others’ approval of their initial weight loss to validate themselves.
In the case of my friend, I felt that as she became unhealthy, she used other peoples’ concern for her as a reason to keep destroying herself in order to feel cared for.
Although I don’t feel that she consciously made this decision, I feel that it was a symptom of her desire to be shown that she was perfect, not “just the way she was” but compared to the supermodels she had pasted all over her room.
The three examples above are a few of the many that exist. People with these types of problems will never be good enough and will constantly run around in circles trying to become what they see in advertisements and television.
They let reality become intertwined with fantasy, as they try to live up to unachievable standards.
Meredith Lindemon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.