While flipping the through the stations last night, I came across “Extreme Makeover” on ABC. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a reality show where a couple of people are picked to undergo plastic surgery and they present the whole before/after drama.
Anyway, this woman was being interviewed and she’s sobbing as she’s describing the impact her appearance has had toward on her life. She believed that she was ugly and had low self-esteem and so on.
I was instantly revolted by this show because it is so obviously exploitive that it turned my stomach. I simply could not watch more than five minutes.
And I wondered if these people have any idea that they are vulnerable and are being exploited.
And then I wondered if they cared.
And I thought it ironic that the mass media that is largely responsible for “image issues” in consumers is now making a buck by curing them of these issues.
So, the question is: is it still exploitation if the person being exploited either agrees to be exploited or doesn’t realize they’re being exploited? I think you can apply this to any reality show, from Survivor to Cops.