Reality TV and Softcore Porn: is this the future? (SFW)

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The Real L Word

I am officially hooked on the The Real L Word, a Los Angeles reality TV show based on the everyday lives of a group of LA lesbians. There’s no shortage of hookups, fights, love and lust in each episode and the amount of drama that goes on between these girls makes you feel thankful for your somewhat drama-free life. As I watch some of the girls struggle with personal relationships it makes me wonder just how comfortable we’ve become sharing ourselves, warts and all, online or in a reality TV show. Is it important to keep a few skeletons in the closet and not reveal everything about yourself? Have the lines blurred between our private and public lives as we spend more time behind a computer than we do actually having a conversation to someone’s face?

This is one of things that concerns me with Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram – that we’ve become so ingrained to update every facet of our lives that we no longer have any news to tell people because it’s all in our news feed. I’m guilty of this myself and I like to share online but I think there comes a point where I feel I’m over sharing and I need to step back and not get sucked in to the social media web. Just the other night as I was going through my camera roll I found a dessert I know my dad enjoyed a few weeks ago. I showed him the picture as he was describing how memorable it was and I was all like “look, look I captured the memory for you!”. He laughed, rolled his eyes and said I needed to get a life. I tried to tell him that’s what people do these days on Instagram; take photos of their food. He wondered why they didn’t just eat it and enjoy. Fair point. Why do we need to share everything? Why can’t we just enjoy the moment?

There’s a scene in Season Two of The Real L Word where the main character, Whitney, is approached by girls in a club in San Francisco as they recognise her from Season One. They feel like they “know” Whitney and want to smell her hair (she has dreads). There’s no doubt that Whitney is the star of the show – whoever generates the most drama is always going to be at the centre of the lens. Whitney has ex-girlfriends everywhere; even one that still lives with her (awkward!) and I guess you could call her a player in the lesbian world. She confesses she’s not ready for a relationship yet girls continue to fall at her feet. It’s really no different in the straight world, you always yearn after someone you can’t have. It’s human nature. Watching the life of a lesbian player is a little more interesting I have to say – girls are very emotional creatures so being with so many girls and dealing with the height of their emotions is almost like a full time job in itself.

It’s not that I’m particularly worried about any of these girls sharing their vulnerabilities on a reality TV show but more that we’ve become accustomed to it. It’s voyeurism at its finest. Whether you’re into Jersey Shore, Keeping Up With The Kardashians or The Real L Word you’re able to enjoy the drama of their lives without it ever really becoming real for you. I must admit I do enjoy a bit of drama – in the past I have been known to be a bit of a drama queen (especially in high school, but let’s not go there). As I approach my late 20s I’m realising more and more that I don’t want that kind of drama in my life but I’m more than happy to watch an episode of high drama reality TV and sleep soundly at night.

What surprised me the most about this show is that it definitely crosses some lines. I’ve shared a lot about myself online and I guess that it even surprised me. I’m not a prude by any stretch but showing real life sex scenes with your partner on reality TV is definitely crossing the line for me. I’m not saying it’s not pleasant to watch, especially one of the characters Sara (I may rewind on those bits) but I do wonder where reality TV turned into soft-core porn, or in some cases just actual porn. I highly doubt that most relationships, gay or straight, would be comfortable letting a cameraman into the bedroom to film them reaching orgasm. Call me old fashioned.

Do you watch reality TV? Would you ever let a film crew follow your everyday life? Does the amount of information people share online concern you?

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  • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

    Pretty shocked that they show real sex, frankly.

  • Jessica Chapman

    I just don’t know why you would want to do that. Everyone you met who said they watched the show wouldn’t your first thought be ‘you’ve seen me have sex.’ To me it would be like showing some one going to the bathroom, it’s a pretty private moment.