I don’t actively judge people for watching reality television. However, when the topic comes up and I have to admit that I don’t watch any of it, I’m immediately tagged as being an intellectual elitist. 

Why is this? Why is it ok for you to judge me for not watching something I don’t care for? When I ask people why they watch reality television, the most common answer is “it makes me feel better about myself.” I am here to disagree with that statement.

Here are my top 5 reasons why I don’t think watching reality television is all that cool:

5. Reality Television celebrates stupidity. We now live in a world where nearly one in five girls say they deliberately underachieve in maths skills to avoid being bullied. What if we started to celebrate achievements? Shouldn’t it be as big of a deal to be the best at something smart as it is to be the best at something athletic? 

4. Reality television says that underachieving should be rewarded. I understand that not everyone in the world can be the smartest person in the world BUT I’m also not sure we should encourage the idea that that you can be famous for doing nothing. 

3. Reality television says that fame equals success. Outside of reality television, I’m pretty sure fame follows successfully achieving a goal, it isn’t the actual goal. Wait, is this the same as #4? it might be, but it is a really, really important point. 

2.  Reality television says you don’t have to worry about the long game. Just be famous right now, grab all the money you can and then…? What are all of these reality television ‘stars’ going to be doing with their lives in 20 years? Do they all make enough money to be living happily ever after? Do they all have to go on club tours to remote cities forever? Do they all become actors in straight to DVD movies?

1. Reality television means missing out on the world. All of this reality television means you are missing out on learning about things that will actually make you a better person, instead of just making you feel better for a moment. 

Here’s 5 suggestions for things to do that are just as entertaining (if not more) than watching reality television:

5. Read the Internet. Mental Floss and Brain Pickings are two great choices for learning about stuff you didn’t even know you wanted to learn about. 

4. Think of something you’ve always wanted to learn about. Learn it. Be proud of yourself. Weird, right? 

3. Go old school with the radio and figure out your favorite NPR and CBC programs. I like to download Q podcasts and take them with me for train rides and walks outside. 

2. Get physical. Set a goal for yourself and see it through. A half marathon or 100 push ups – any goal that is attainable with effort. Putting the hours in to achieve it will make you feel far better about yourself than sitting on the couch. 

1. Make something. Do you find yourself drawn to a certain kind of reality television shows? Why not act on your love. Cook, bake, sew…(ok those are the only three I can think of right now) your way to being better than what you see on television. 

So there you have it. The reasons why I don’t watch reality television. It goes deeper than that – I think most of the women in those shows set bad examples for young girls (a heavier post). It also goes way up into the shallow end –  I get really bored about five minutes in to most shows. 

How many times have I just typed out reality television? Ugh.