Publication Date

April 2015


Sarah Carney




English (United States)


This study analyzed the cultural and social representations of parents on American reality television within the last ten years. Due to the enormous recent popularity of reality television, this study asked: how are parents represented in American reality television and what themes are present within those programs? In this study, the sample consisted of six families and three television shows that aired between 2008 and today. A qualitative coding scheme was developed to analyze these families, with particular attention to parenting style and the relationship of the parents. The results of this study contain two cases that illustrate the negative representations of parents today while one representation of parents is lifted up as an idealized version of what it means to be a parent. It was discovered that reality television does not teach us how to parent but instead reaffirms negative gender roles and stereotypes.

Available for download on Monday, April 15, 2019



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