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Published on December 12th, 2012 | by Kelie Kyser


Mean Girls-Are Women Being Brainwashed?

“Any enemy of Kenya’s is a friend of mine.”

This callous confession flowed effortlessly from the lips of former super model Cynthia Bailey when referring to her frienemy during this week’s latest installment of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  What a diabolical proclamation– even if it was made in jest.

Lately, I’ve started to wonder how much this insidious form of “entertainment” resonates in our psyche.  Could it be that The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and The Mob Wives of New Jersey are influencing the way women relate to one another?

I also question why we watch?

For what it’s worth, I openly admit I have developed an appetite for the shameful depiction of women cunningly veiled as reality.  It’s fun to see ladies with over-the-top personalities, extreme wealth, famous friends and beautiful homes.  And it’s amusing to watch them parade around ostensibly projecting an “average Joe” persona.

On top of it all, it’s comforting on a certain level, to observe people who appear to “have it all” encounter embroidered drama.  It provides an escape from my own.

From table flipping to hair pulling and bottle throwing; my DVR is overloaded with footage that contends with Manny Pacquiao’s latest Pay-Per-View event.  The altercations broadcasted on these shows are outrageous.  Exhibiting conduct that far exceeds unladylike behavior – it’s downright savage.

Are women really this mean to each other or is the sisterhood being typecast by mainstream media?

And if art is in this case truly imitating life; is reality TV to blame?

There are two schools of thought regarding this topic. One is that viewers are not foolish enough to accept depravity as chicken soup for the soul.  The audience is sensible; surely they will disregard the sinister parade after Sunday night.

Alternatively, a social experiment detailed in the book Blink suggests a different account.  The controversial study (conducted by psychologist John Bargh) examined a theory identified as priming on 60 unsuspecting NYU students.  Supposedly, when “primed”, an individual’s subconscious mind is influenced by words, visions, and sounds – prompting them to react to people and scenarios according to their obscured experience.

Is it possible the female viewing audience is being subjected to the same type of subliminal persuasion during any given Wives’ episode? Perhaps even encouraging us to disrespect and bully each other in the real world?

And while we’re on the subject, lest we forget, young ladies are watching too.

Real to Me a national survey funded by Girl Scouts of America champions the argument that the portrayal of women’s relationships on reality television is unhealthy.  The statistics in essence reveal the souls of future generations are being unequivocally altered.

And so, I believe, it may not be so far-fetched to conclude:

A correlation exists between the surge of mean girl behavior and reality TV.  [Tweet this!]

What do you think?


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About the Author

is a reporting authority. Her talent lies in the ability to communicate succinct messages that are rich with information to a diverse audience. The Denver native holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in organizational leadership.

4 Responses to Mean Girls-Are Women Being Brainwashed?

  1. Ashley Genrich says:

    I completely agree! Some of the things kids say and do today are far beyond the now seemingly innocent things that even my generation said to each other to cause insult. It astounds me some of the language these kids use. And a third grader knowing that a middle finger wave is considered an obscene gesture astounds me! It begs the question, when did watching girls fight and yell at each other become entertainment?

  2. Tiffany says:

    I agree with Ashley. When did this become entertainment? Yet it is, and although I can’t stomach the worst of the shows because of the constant bickering I will find myself watching RHOA and laughing. I wonder how these groups of women define “friends”. I meet my friends for coffee with my hair in a bun, sweats and makeup free many times. The women on these shows, shamelessly try to one up one another with outrageous outfits and professional makeup for lunch. Are they really “friends”? Society has become obsessed with trying to act out staged reality TV. I tell my young son all the time that rappers lives as portrayed on TV omits what’s really “real”. The importance of a FICO score, financial responsibility, education. I just pray he listens to me rather than try to keep up with a Kardashinan.

  3. Jay says:

    I personally believe that reality TV or TV in general is taken too seriously. It’s for entertainment people! We should not base our lives off of what we see on TV. We may meet our friends at times casually allure or straight from the gym but we also do not have cameras following us around either. Would you honestly want to be on TV not looking your best? I can definitely list more “mean girl” moments I’ve seen personally versus on TV… Sad thing is most women are mean and consistently look for flaws in other women without reason. Say that you haven’t… Therefore, most women are “mean girls” and established their ways prior to reality TV. And as far as the influence on children, shouldn’t parents monitor what their children watch? I’m just saying…

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