Tag Archives: mtv

Scrubbing in to “Reality”

Today, television seems to be a melting pot of misrepresentation. TV shows like The Real World, Jersey Shore, and even News programs often set a false stage for information gathering and entertainment. MTV thrives on their ability to distribute content featuring misrepresentations of real American lives, and their new “reality” show: Scrubbing In is no exception.


Last October, MTV released a new TV series called: Scrubbing In, featuring travel nurses and their “real” lives on and off duty. They took nine nurses from all over the country and brought them to one 12-week post at an Orange County, CA hospital. Just like any other reality show, the cast is good looking, dramatic, and “diverse”. After painfully watching the first episode online, it is clear that the show has been set up to be a dramatic and wildly over the top experience. In the first episode alone, we are introduced to the drama that will ensue throughout the system.

Scrubbing In Episode 1

Each cast member brings a typical reality television role to the show. I am not going to go into specific details, but the male and female roles are wildly blown out of proportion. The women form clicks, and the men stick together trying to score every second they can. There is one African American and one Homosexual man, both of whom form their own click, as they feel left out by the rest of the group. An article by the National Nurses United blog expresses that: “We feel that this obvious dramatization is a gross misrepresentation of the nursing profession. Not only are we tired of the negative stigma that surrounds our profession but also of the senseless sexual objectification that we as nurses, both male and female, continue to endure.” It is evident that nurses are sexually objectified, but this show takes that to a whole new level; with the cast consisting of good looking individuals that seem to have three “equally” important jobs: Work, Drinking and Sex. When MTV was working on getting release forms to film in the hospitals they explained to the labor representative that this program: “would kick off the transition to a kinder, gentler, less exploitative MTV”. The sensationalism about the life of a travelling nurse represented in the first episode proves this to be a false piece of information.

As someone who has experienced their fair share of hospital visits due to injury, I don’t want to see nurses getting plastered at night and then going in to work the next day to help patients. The ideologies put forth by this show may be trying to reach out to a younger audience, telling them that being a nurse is fun; but to people who rely on nurses to help them in a sterile hospital environment, it is scary. In any case, this show has offended nurses all over the country by: “promoting unskilled and naughty nurse stereotypes”.




How MTV’s “Girl Code” Reinforces Gender Roles/Stereotypes

When viewing any/all programming from MTV, it’s almost a given that you will undoubtedly run into something that makes an effort to “push the envelope”. This is seen on MTV in a variety of ways stemming from how our culture craves the need for promiscuity, drama, and controversy. Of all of MTV’s robust examples programming  to choose from, Girl Code really stood apart from the rest in how it has (somewhat) good intentions from its creation, only to ultimately get in its own way and fall flat. As a spin-off from the less successful Guy Code, this show aimed to “open the dialogue about the wonders and woes of womanhood” as MTV described it. The show centers around 3-4 topics of discussion each episode, as a slew of comedians we’ve never heard of give their take on these “topics”. Why the quotes? Well the topics in question are merely age-old gender-confined tropes that are only reinforced again and again. We see the classic reinforcement of how young woman are supposed to act, think, behave, and ultimately feel. There are also scenarios that add to commonplace stereotypes, such as: tips on what to do in a heterosexual relationship, dealing with pregnancy scares, getting dumped, the notion that all guys care about are food, video games and porn, and the perception that all girls like sleepovers, to name a few.

The above clip centers around weight gain, and all of the negative backlash that comes with it. We see an overall negative stigma around weight gain, and the idea that women have to be thin to be considered attractive. The comments made by the guests are sometimes going against social norms I will admit, but in terms of the overall message of the show, the ideology behind it still manages to reinforces the norm.  The Parents television Council had this to say about Girl Code, “it is a series which degrades young women by teaching them that they are valued only for their looks, and that servicing men sexually is their purpose in life.” The quote may seem a bit extreme at first, but after watching a few episodes it’s hard to argue. While yes, the goal is to open a dialogue about these topics is done in a successful manner, via the integration of social media, is it something that is hurting or helping young women?

The heavy use and references to popular social media go a long way in how it has managed to connect with its audience. The show has a huge presence on the micro-blogging site, Tumblr and over 854,099 followers on Twitter. The show’s stars take this a step further and often live-tweet the show and create unique hashtags, and retweet the best responses from the public. While highly successful, the messages the show provides give a good arugment to the idea of post-feminism. The women of the show have all of the agency in terms of what they say, and their opinions on subjects, but what they actually end up saying is merely a rehashing of stereotypical social norms, unbeknownst to them or not. This is more an operation of the hegemonic ideology and less about the individuals agency. What is considered common sense to these speakers really isn’t anything more than a clear demonstration of the masculine power that still exists. The show’s stars are the agents of there own oppression. The show speaks to female empowerment, but at the same time argues about what it takes to look and feel attractive in order to attract the opposite sex. Evidence can be seen in a segment around the female genitalia, when regular Carly Aquilino says, “A vagina is something every girl has, THAT YOU LET A LOT OF PEOPLE IN”, as we see a cartoon illustrate this point with the following image:


The image above tells viewers everything they have to know about MTV’s attitude toward women. “Rampant promotion of sexual promiscuity, without concern for consequences or potential problems…standard procedure for MTV”, says the Parent Television Council. The show does aim to be sarcastic and funny, but even the jokes themselves are disjointed and the “advice” given to the audience is so obvious that we are left wondering what the actual message behind the segment was.

The Feminist movement itself is an intellectual, conscious raising movement to get peole to understand that gender is an organizing principle of life. The belief is that women and men should be accorded equal opportunities and respect, but having shows that segregate the genders while reinforces certain masculine stereotypes to a younger audience goes directly against that goal.








Viacom is one of the largest conglomerates in the world, containing many popular cable and movie networks.  Here are the following companies that Viacom owns:

Cable Networks

Atom Entertainment







BET Networks


BET Event Productions

BET Gospel

BET Hip Hop

BET International

BET Mobile

BET Pictures



CMT Loaded

CMT Mobile

CMT On Demand

CMT Pure Country

CMT Radio


Comedy Central



GT Marketplace





MTV Networks


MTV Books

MTV Hits

MTV Jams


MTVN International


Game One


MTV Boombox


MTV Revolution


TMF (The Music Factory)

Tr3s: MTV, Musica y Mas






Nick at Nite

Nick Jr.


The Click

Nick Arcade

Nick GAS

Nickelodeon Consumer Products

Nicktoons Network





Spike TV

Spike Filmed Entertainment

TV Land


VH1 Classic



Viacom International Media Networks


Paramount Pictures Corporation

MTV Films

Nickelodeon Movies

Paramount Animation

Paramount Home Entertainment

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Vantage

Viacom Digital








Rainbow Group (Minority Interest)

Before exploring Viacom, I had no idea how many companies were running underneath it.  Honestly, I was surprised.  I learned that Viacom is a company that definitely relies on advertising to fund their many channel outlets.  Typically, I think that they air different commercials targeting different audiences on their various channels (for example, airing acne commercials on MTV or airing commercials for new toys on Nickelodeon.)  I also learned, from Viacom’s annual report, that Viacom intakes fees from cable companies, just for being officially attached to the conglomerate.  I think that Viacom is a large enough company already, but it may benefit Viacom if they were to horizontally integrate by possibly picking up some music media outlets as well.  Mainly, Viacom distributes film and television shows to the public via various outlets like Paramount or Cable Television networks.  I think that they do a great job in running their company, but some of their television networks (like MTV channels) are losing their popularity over the years.  They are synergistic in that Viacom works with various tv channels and shows, regardless of the content.  For example, they run Southparkstudios.com, which airs one of my favorite shows of all time.  However, Viacom also airs children’s tv shows on cable television and also iCarly.com, a teen show.  Viacom works well with both adult and children’s content, in my opinion. I feel that since Viacom picked up all of the TV networks, it is really focusing on advertising as a point of business, so that they can fund their projects for Paramount or other movies.  It is good that they do not run legitimate news stations, because I feel that those stations would be riddled with advertising focusing on the consumer instead of informing the public on the actual news.

I got this information from the Columbia Journalism Review and Viacom’s website: