Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted (Opt-Out)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Deidre Hill Butler


Reality television, Discrimination, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality, Ableism, Theory, Sexism


For the past twenty years, reality television has been one of the most popular genres of entertainment. Although successful, reality television has a dark history of discrimination against those cast on the show, whether it be by other contestants, producers or the show’s setup.

This thesis provides numerous instances of discrimination on reality television that have been used for entertainment purposes, exploiting those who are victims of discrimination. Also, this thesis addresses the intersectionality of discrimination, not just one form of it. Furthermore, this thesis interweaves many sociological theories and the ways in which they present themselves throughout reality television that are proven to be biased.

There was a minimal amount of scholarly sociological research on the topic of reality television bias. Nonetheless, from what I could find, I extended this research, providing a more comprehensive and encapsulating analysis. The results indicate that regardless of the genre of reality television and the channel that is on, reality television takes advantage of its cast and their personal issues and experiences. Furthermore, the results indicate that simply diversifying a cast will not solve the issues with reality television, it is only the starting point.

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Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.