This post was written by a student in Susan Schuyler’s Narrative, Rhetoric, and Identity class at Stanford University. Each student in this class will complete a research-based argument related to the course topic.
For my research project, I have decided to take a closer look at gender roles and reality TV; in particular, I plan to study the show The Bachelorette. This will let me explore not only concepts of identity but also narrative strategies on reality TV. Initially, I plan to examine how gender roles are typically portrayed on reality TV as a whole; many shows have similar characters (such as a gay guy, a crybaby, a catty girl, etc.), and present females and males in specific manners that are seen over and over again. I may also investigate how these gender stereotypes affect society as a whole, or how society’s stereotypes have effect who is cast in these shows.
I also plan to compare the show to its predecessor, The Bachelor, to explore the effect of reversing the gender of the title character. I think that this show reflects the time since a generation ago, women were less likely to propose. I haven’t finished researching yet, but I still hope to find a few different perspectives on this issue of feminism and reality TV.
Megan Schwarz (Stanford University)