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Emotion Appeal Pozner Unreal World

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dschuler22
Words 1047
Pages 5
Emotional Appeal in Jennifer Pozner’s “The Unreal World
How many times have you seen a reality TV show that pans out the exact same way as others you have seen before? These shows claim to be unscripted yet almost always have similar characters that act the same way. This is because Reality TV executives cast people they know can be easily manipulated into entertaining television. By using diction and figurative language in “The Unreal World”, Jennifer Pozner arouses fury from the audience that helps prove reality TV forces an idea of unattainable beauty on women and creates hurtful gender and racial stereotypes.
To elicit anger from the audience, Pozner uses diction to demonstrate how Reality TV gives women unachievable standards for beauty. Pozner explains how Reality TV has this idea of a “perfect ten” (445). The use of a numbered scale implies that women are constantly being judged on their looks. It also insinuates that women can achieve a perfect score on this scale even though perfection is unattainable. A scale implies that everyone is judged the same way; however, beauty can come in many different forms. Both of these implications are incredibly hurtful to the young women watching these shows because it puts an onus on external aspects of the human body rather than the internal. Shows exist that are completely devoted to finding flaws in women such as “Are you Hot?: The Search for America’s Sexiest People.” This show uses a laser “flaw finder” (446) to rate women completely on their looks. The use of the term “flaw finder” gives the impression that all women must be flawless to be beautiful. Both examples of “perfect ten” and “flaw finder” show how reality TV forces a certain standard of beauty on the public and looks down upon people who do not meet the conventional requirements of attractiveness. Naturally, these implications cause anger from the audience because of how the standards of beauty and judgment affects the young viewers’ self-esteem.
Throughout the essay, Pozner uses diction to create an irritated reaction to the racial stereotypes that occur in reality TV. The phrase “sista with attitude” (445) is insulting for many reasons. First, using “sista” points to how African Americans don’t pronounce the “r” at the end of sister which implies that they are uneducated. Second, the phrase shows how reality TV casts certain roles for their shows. The “sista with attitude” is the one on the show who is sassy and causes conflict. Omarosa Manigualt-Stallworth of “Apprentice” and Camille McDonald of “Top Model” fall into this category. Usually, the only time an African American is on a reality television show is in this role. Not only does it imply that African Americans are incapable of doing anything but causing trouble, but it also produces a deficiency of black role models for the young African American viewers of reality TV. The inferences from the phrase “sista with attitude” angers the audience because of way it portrays African Americans in a negative way.
In addition to stereotypes about race, Pozner uses to diction to foster anger towards how reality TV portrays women as dependent on men and men as insecure idiots only concerned with outer beauty. The phrase “a husband-hunting harem competes to marry a hunky lunkhead” (443) gives a negative illustration of both women and men. The word “harem” is a derogatory term for a group of women who all serve one man. Using “harem” indicates that women are completely reliant on men financially, socially, and sexually. Reality TV discourages women from having a career for themselves and tells women that intelligence in a negative attribute. Tyra Banks, host of “America’s Next Top Model”, said, “One thing with [your] intelligence is that it can intimidate people” (443). Women are expected to hide their intelligence to attract a mate because a man does not want a “Brainiac in a bikini” (443). Not only does reality TV generalize women but men as well. The phrase “hunky lunkhead” (443) can attest to this. Men are expected to have large muscles to even have a chance of getting a beautiful woman. In Reality TV, the internal aspect of life is completely neglected. Men and women’s worth as an actual human being does not matter in Reality TV. The phrases used here irritate both men and women because it shows how reality TV want bimbos completely reliant on men and portrays men as insecure morons incapable of loving an intelligent woman.
One way Pozner arouses anger is through fairy tale analogies that suggest women try to be something they are not in attempt to allure a man and promote an idea that the society will only accept beautiful people. Alluding to fairytales helps the readers’ make a personal to connection to the issues being demonstrated. Use of the phrase “masquerading as would-be Cinderellas” (445) gives the impression that the women on these shows are trying to be something they are not in order to attract a “Prince Charming” (445). “Cinderella” was chosen because of the 1950’s gender roles it endorses as well. It gives the impression that marriage is the ultimate goal in life and women are incapable of being independent. Pozner also uses the phrase “ugly duckling” (443), alluding to the Danish fairytale, a story about an unattractive duck that is not accepted by his peers because of his appearance until he naturally transforms into a beautiful swan. The shows dedicated to changing appearance like Fox’s The Swan and ABC’s Extreme Makeover do not realize that the duck’s change was natural. These shows promote a message that the only way to be accepted by society is to be beautiful. This message is creating a culture that believes self-worth is directly related to external beauty.
The stereotypes and gender roles being shoved down the throats of the viewers by reality television is toxic to the young viewers. Reality TV gives a skewed view of women, men, people of color, and love in general. Pozner attempts to alert the people by appealing to the audience’s emotional side. She wants the readers to be angry and stirred up to affect change. Change will only occur if the viewers hurt the TV executives where they hurt the most, their wallets.

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