Forming connections in a world filled with people with ulterior and selfish motivations can be difficult. What better way to combat that than by parading your emotional vulnerabilities all over semi-scripted reality TV shows designed to stimulate as much drama — translation, heartache — as possible? Sure, letting someone else deliver romance to your lap sounds tempting, until you realize love is much more complex than something you can just order on UberEats when you don’t feel like going out.
Reality TV shows like “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” “Love Island,” “Are You the One” and countless others make a mockery of the human condition. They encourage viewers to shut off their sense of empathy and mindlessly digest others’ hardship. Not to mention, these shows display their participant’s tendencies to manipulate and lie without thought to how the normalization of malice contributes towards persistent social trends of emotional toxicity.
Most people who choose to be part of these shows are not yet emotionally developed enough to be in a relationship for various reasons. Some of these people are simply emotionally unstable and desperate for any form of affection without regard to whom it comes from and while there’s nothing wrong with still needing time to grow, rushing into a relationship is unhealthy for both parties. People in relationships like this are in danger of being placed on a pedestal where there’s nowhere to go but down, being valued only for their superficial aspects or ability to give attention rather than their unique qualities or becoming dependent on their partner for validation they should work on building in themselves. Worse, some of the people on these shows are there to take advantage of the insecure personalities they are sure to encounter. Especially on shows that offer chances at shifting romantic focus to different love interests, many players are there to manipulate their way into emotional and sexual gratification from already-vulnerable people.
Not to mention, this disregard for an individual’s humanity does not end when the season does. Many media outlets continue to pursue reality stars, dishing out any “juicy” detail of their lives and ignoring what emotionally impact any breaches of privacy or boundaries may have on these very real people. This gross digestion of other people’s lives should stop, or at least be reformed. It’s heartless — the exact opposite of what shows like this purport to be.