Like many females, I’m perpetually attracted to jerks.
However, unlike those who agonize about their rhyme or reason, I’ve discovered my rationale for such the irrational attraction – TV.
There aren’t many times you’ll find me in front of a TV set, however there is not a Tuesday at 9 p.m. you won’t find my best friends and I watching MTV’s reality shows “The Hills” and “The City.”
Allow me to begin by acknowledging it’s my fault for trusting a channel that terms a series “reality,” but pays its stars up to $65,000 per episode. However, that’s no excuse for the imbalanced male-female relationships the shows, which are supposed to be based on women’s independence in exciting metropolises, portray.
There have been seven major boyfriend-girlfriend relationships on the shows– six of them involving the male treating the female like dirt.
Let’s begin with “The Hills.”
In the early seasons, Lauren’s boyfriend Jason treated her about as well as he’s treated society with his recent drunken driving arrests. There were rumors he cheated on her, and she was portrayed as stupid when she chose to spend the summer with him rather than accepting an internship in Paris.
Finally, when he led her to think their flame may rekindle, he invited her to a party which turned out to be a soiree for none other than his own engagement.
In 2008, Lauren began dating actor Kyle Howard, who wasn’t shown on the show. Despite other rumors, I’m going to speculate that’s because it’s a good relationship, or what TV producers may call boring.
Audrina has had an on-and-off again relationship with “Justin Bobby.” JB has been rumored to cheat on Audrina every season, yet each time she goes back to him like the weak woman TV producers love.
In the latest season, he claims to have never have been in a relationship with her, while going on dates with her and the show’s newest cast member, Kristin Cavallari.
Also this season, Brody Jenner and his girlfriend, Playmate Jayde Nicole, break up when she throws him a birthday party and he leaves to go hang out with an ex-girlfriend.
As for Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt’s relationship, I assume everyone who has made it to this point has heard of “Speidi” and how he treats her like a combination Barbie doll-maid-object. But it’s worth mentioning that she accepted his marriage proposal after she suspected he’d been cheating on her for months.
On the East coast, Whitney was also faced with rumors her boyfriend Jay cheated on her – and, surprise! MTV captured this moment. She stayed with him until he decided to tell her only a few days before he left that he was going on tour with his band for months.
Whitney also dated a guy named Freddie who lied about having a girlfriend this season. But we won’t count this as a major relationship, because it only lasted a few episodes.
Season One viewers saw Allie’s boyfriend Adam run around town with other girls, while she was yelled at for being anorexic and left to cry on her own.
The only relationship in which a female was depicted as having any control, was when Erin two-timed her boyfriend Duncan. But of course, she was given a hard time about it.
Whether these situations are accurate depictions of real life isn’t what matters. What matters is that females are consistently being portrayed as subservient, and people believe it’s real.
Back when I used to watch “Survivor,” the females were portrayed as weak, bikini-wearing pawns while the men were shown as the hard workers and likely victors.
And it doesn’t take hearing more than the name of Desperate Housewives to know how that show depicts women.
It isn’t likely that any TV show is an accurate representation of reality. But real or not, these women should be ashamed for the roles they’ve cast.
Beyond the relationships on “The Hills” and “The City,” the females are shown as unqualified for their jobs, gossipy and spending all of their free time eating out, going out and shopping.
I can lament with women for being attracted to jerks. I can’t empathize with any who think it’s OK to portray a woman’s role as an idiot.
Yet I’m still watching the shows. Maybe knowledge isn’t half the battle. Maybe we’ve all been trapped into thinking this is how it’s supposed to be.
Emily Regenold is a senior journalism major from Cincinnati. She is the Scout managing editor.
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