Has reality TV gone too far?

I’ve long admitted I’m a watcher — if not all-out fan — of reality TV.

I watch every season and version of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and endure whatever “Housewives” rerun is on at 2 a.m.

But I can’t say I’m a fan of all reality TV.

There are some I just can’t get my head around, let alone stand. Shows about teenage mothers, polygamists, extreme hoarders, pageant toddlers, folks who coupon and greasy attentive-starved twentysomethings living on the Jersey Shore just don’t appeal to me.

But there’s one show that I feel has crossed the line of decency — and it’s not even that interesting, either.

According to the New York Post, the production company that brought us “American Stuffers,” “Outrageous Kids Parties” and “Dance Moms” has created a reality TV show about mothers who breastfeed older children.

Maybe Collins Avenue is riding the controversy generated by a recent Time cover, which showed a mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son.

Who in the world wants to watch this? I mean, are we that starved for content on TV we’ll turn to watching the strange breastfeeding behaviors of mothers? What’s wrong with us, with them, with society?

I guess watching a Nobel Peace Prize-winning scholar work in her lab or a best-selling author write his next novel isn’t riveting TV. But at least it will be educational and useful on some level.

Breastfeeding toddlers? I don’t think so.

Anyone over reality TV, too?

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6 Responses to “Has reality TV gone too far?”

  1. bumper July 10, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    I disagree about a breastfeeding show crossing the decency line further than shows like Housewives or Jersey Shore. Breastfeeding is a natural, non-sexual, healthy act, and there are no hard and fast rules about when to call it quits. I can’t say I’m interested in watching such a show or that I’d make the same choice, but I’d rather see a mother caring for her child — even in the toddler stage — in this way, than watch more plastic-surgeried, mean-spirited, sex-obsessed exchanges on those other shows.

    My biggest problem with this new show is not the public breastfeeding aspect, but rather the idea that these moms have signed up to be paraded about, laughed at, and critiqued. It’s hard enough being and feeling like a good mom in private; it’s harder yet when society doesn’t respect the variety of mom-choices out there and instead wages the “mommy wars.” Where’s the support for mothers and families when they don’t make the same choices as you might?

    The TIME cover sensationalized one type of parenting that is quite popular these days — attachment parenting. And the cover photo is certainly an extreme. It’s unfortunate that the article didn’t stimulate thoughtful conversation, but instead fueled more criticism of many well-intentioned mothers. I don’t understand why we choose to be so judgmental about mothering, yet so accepting of a lot of the sex, drugs, and violence we see on TV and in real life. But, maybe I feel differently because I am a mother…

  2. Emily July 10, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    I agree with Bumper, but maybe it’s because I’m a mama, too! I would be interested in watching a reality TV show that was informational and supportive of diverse parenting styles, instead of feuling the mommy wars by stigmatizing parental choices through extreme examples. But, that’s reality TV for you. Have you seen the TLC “Twintervention”? My twin and I about died. Watch that show, and you’ll know for sure that all identical twins are freakishly co-dependant. I might as well be breastfeeding HER child, instead of my own :)

  3. Annoddah Dave July 10, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    CAT: I avoid commercial reality TV shows, all it depicts is everyone’s greed. The only reality shows I watch are those documentaries on PBS.

  4. rayboyjr July 10, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Hey Cat … I agree that this show crosses the line of decency … as I also suspect that they are really exploiting these women AND children for the almighty advertising dollar … instead of truly promoting the benefits of breastfeeding older children … and I really really don’t like the shows that prominantly showcase children who have no say in their appearances on those shows … like those pageant kids …

    … I may be wrong, but I would think that if it were an educational or informative show then it would be on the health channel or maybe even Oprah’s channel … and not some other network that does these outlandish reality shows …

    @bumper & Emily … I agree that breastfeeding is a natural and wonderful act, but that doesn’t necessarily legitimize a show about it …

    • bumper July 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      I didn’t say that the show was legitimate; I think it’s a bad idea, personally. I am just disappointed that people lump mothers who breastfeed their toddlers (12-36 month olds) in the same category of indecency as the raunchy and raucous casts of Housewives or Jersey Shore. To question, “What’s wrong with us, with them, with society?” just seems a bit harsh.

      In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics maintains that it’s ideal to breastfeed until a child is AT LEAST 12 months old. Does the idea of going beyond that really incite that much disgust? Apparently so, but I really don’t understand why.

  5. Carla July 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    I understand that this is an opinion piece, but I find it to be a narrow-minded and uninformed one. Should you ever become a mother, I hope society looks upon you with a little more respect and understanding.

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