Losing Sight of Ourselves: A Theoretical Analysis of Reality Television in the United States

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The focus of this research is the emergence and encouragement of the false self in our society and how this is portrayed through four reality television shows: Toddlers and Tiaras, Hoarders, Sister Wives and Catfish: The TV Show. Content analysis in combination with various theoretical perspectives will be utilized in order to examine the effects of narcissism, consumerism and the emergence of the false self.

The limitless character of a consumer society coupled with narcissism and an increased focus on the self contributes to the development of the false self within the individual. People may not even be aware of the push to be narcissistic, focused on our own biographies and self-promotion, yet people are aware of their suffering and unhappiness. Many individuals are left questioning why it is that they are never completely satisfied even as they accumulate notoriety, success, material wealth and possessions. An ideology of greatness and being the best is found in so many avenues of our daily lives, and at times it can be overwhelming, and if we do not possess these skills and qualities we are encouraged to just fake it.