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Queerness as Authenticity in Reality TV

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Abstract

Lovelock conceptualises a compelling new way to understand queer representation in reality TV: compulsory authenticity. Through case studies including Big Brother, Boy Meets Boy and America’s Next Top Model, this chapter argues that reality TV has challenged traditional understandings of TV audiences as always heterosexual. Instead, reality TV has crafted a worldview in which the determination to be true to one’s apparently ‘authentic’ self unites members of contemporary societies. Lovelock argues that because reality shows maintain that ‘real’ selves can be concealed or suppressed, and assert the importance of being authentic, they question heteronormative assumptions that everyone is straight. The chapter concludes by suggesting that reality TV can be interpreted as queer utopia which imagines of a more equal world for sex and gender minorities.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-14215-5_3
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Notes

  1. 1.

    For extended analyses of this trope see, for example, Corner (2002) and Andrejevic (2004).

  2. 2.

    See Jones (2003), Hill (2004) and Skeggs and Wood (2012).

  3. 3.

    For expanded analyses of Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out see Lovelock (2017a, b).

  4. 4.

    See Carpentier (2014) for a discussion of the discursive construction of ordinariness in reality TV.

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Lovelock, M. (2019). Queerness as Authenticity in Reality TV. In: Reality TV and Queer Identities. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14215-5_3

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