“Jersey Shore”: Showing Us that MTV is DTF with Our Culture

24 Apr

MTV really hit the reality television gold mine (or should I say, “land mine”?) when it premiered it’s Guido-tastic show “Jersey Shore”. If you didn’t understand that awesome “land mine” joke I threw in there, it’s okay. That just means that you’re not watching “Jersey Shore” (or as I will now refer to it, JShore) enough. Unfortunately for myself, I can’t say that, as I avidly watch the show despite how ridiculous and offensive it is.

I know way more about these people’s lives than I do most of the people I know in real life.

JShore came to fruition in the winter of 2009 and was an instant success, despite protests from Italian-American groups, and also from those in the beautiful state of New Jersey. They were convinced that JShore would tarnish the good name of the people of Jersey and also mess with businesses there, but also that the show would promote negative stereotypes against the Italian-American community. Both are valid claims after watching the show, but were not the aims of the show when it was created. JShore is all about a group of guidos and guidettes staying at a house in, as you would have guessed, the Jersey Shore, and basically just having fun, partying, fighting, drinking, more drinking, hooking up, and blacking out. Despite that, the controversy did not let up.

However, the uproar from the Italian-American and New Jersey communities haven’t been the only complaints about the show. JShore has been criticized for promoting an unhealthy hook-up and binge drinking lifestyle for college students. Students have begun to emulate the actions of the cast members and the way that they dress. While the students see this all as being a part of a  good time, it makes me wonder about a more serious questions having to do with sexism, objectification, unsafe sex, what it takes to really have fun, and what this all says about our society.

The men of JShore make no qualms about their hook-up style; they pick up a girl at the club, go home, all have sex in their beds (that are usually in the same room as someone else, if not multiple people), and then call a cab for the girl to leave. The girls that are invited to come back to the house are never allowed to stay the night. This sets a horrible example of objectifying women and seeing her purely for sex, and nothing more. It’s actually disgusting to me. Arguably one of the funniest characters, Pauly D, also says some of the most offensive statements. Some quotes from him:

“When I go into the club I have a game plan, I don’t wanna waste my time and take home a girl that just wants to hang out, I just wanna get to the business… so. you light it up and then you move on & at the end of the night you see who you end up with.”

“They’re cool girls. They’re smart and everything, but they want to hook up just as well, but I think it will take a couple of times seeing them to hook up. They’re not like whores.”

I think I’m starting to see some gray in that blow out…

These are only two of the many examples of what Pauly has said over the years. What bothers me the most about this is that Pauly D is around 30 or 31 years old. It makes me think about what college aged males think of this example, of how long they can continue living this sexist lifestyle before actually realizing they need to grow up and respect women (which our society really should have already taught them to do). Boys watching this show want to be like Pauly D, or the other males, because they get women, but they are further being taught by these men that women are purely sex objects; if she doesn’t want to have sex with you, she isn’t worth your time. They will describe women as “DTF” (“down to F…” I think you can figure that out), and that’s all they’re looking for.  Also, the men refer to “ugly”, “unattractive”, or “fat” women that are with “hot” women as “grenades” or “landmines”. They even go so far as to use a “grenade whistle” that they blow when these women are around. This just adds to the body image problem that girls and women already have from what our country has taught them. No one wants to be labeled a “grenade”, so girls would be trying harder to not get that label. In reality, many of the girls they refer to as “grenades” aren’t even unattractive or overweight, but the men decide to insult her and make fun of her anyway to get it in with her friend. What’s worse is that females have been calling other females “grenades”, and this is just adding to self-loathing in our country for our gender. Really, this show is repressing women and doesn’t even realize it or address it.

Also, I’ve noticed the show talks a lot about sex (aka “smushing” or “getting it in”), but not much about if the sex is protected. That’s just plain setting a bad example right there for a younger audience, who already think they can act without consequence. Add the smushing to the excessive drinking in every single episode and you really have a recipe for disaster.

What fascinates me about JShore is not just the characters on there (yes, I’m referring to them as characters because I refuse to believe they are real people), but also the fact that this show came on the air when MTV was looking to revamp its programming. True, JShore is not glamorous or classy like “Cribs”, “My Super Sweet Sixteen”, or “The Hills”, but it also shows so much excessiveness; excessive drinking, tanning, sex, etc. The cast is being paid millions now to live their ordinary lives, and as I’ve said before, living them without consequence. Rather than attempting to emulate those doing good in the world, students watching this show would rather dress like Snooki (I’m not sure why), or JWoww (again, I’m not sure why), or just go to clubs with the intent of picking up agirl for a few hours and then forgetting about them in the morning.

Seriously? People want to dress like this?


I’m ashamed to say how much I watch this show, but I watch it for the entertainment value, rather than the aesthetic value. I see the show as a joke, as the people on it as characters, and as it holding absolutely no messages about life. Unfortunately, I can’t speak for everyone when I say this, and I think that despite some of the cast getting pregnant or going to rehab (cough cough Snooki and the Situation), the show is here to stay for many more years, continuing to infect our culture.


5 Responses to ““Jersey Shore”: Showing Us that MTV is DTF with Our Culture”

  1. giddenscomm397 April 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    I have never seen an episode of jersey shore. I’ve never even seen a jersey shore commercial. This blog post is all I know about it. I have one word: gross.

  2. Media's Story vs. Our Story April 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    I think you’ve made a great blog post here. First off, you have a strong voice that comes through while reading it. The title of the blog post is very intriguing from the start and immediately grabbed my attention. I was once a big fan of the show Jersey Shore; yes I’m guilty of it. However, as the seasons progressed, the excessiveness of their lifestyles and lack of substance in the lives they live during the summer at the Shore house caused me to lose interest in following the episodes. You gave good comical relief to some serious issues that you discussed here, such as the topic of body issues with women and how the way the Jersey Shore guys promote these insecurities. It was also wonderful to read “In reality, many of the girls they refer to as “grenades” aren’t even unattractive or overweight, but the men decide to insult her and make fun of her anyway to get it in with her friend.” My friends and I have always been disgusted by the fact that some of those girls they insult really are pretty and how disrespectful they still act towards them. This blog relates to the misrepresentation of economic squeeze amongst the youth because we all see how even though we don’t see the “classiness” as we do in Cribs and My Super Sweet 16 but we see extravagance in the money spent on alcohol and partying. Being a 21 year old, with college to pay for and working hard, I see that this is not how everyday people my age act, but it makes me wonder how its perceived by the even younger generation and what expectations they have for when they get to our age.

    Aesthetically, your blog posts are also very nice. Though you’ve written a lot for some of your posts, they are broken up well and appropriately for the context of the post. You did a good job of putting in hyperlinks and the videos you included are very relevant to the topics and help you elaborate on the points you try to make.

  3. kelseyannasullivan April 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    I really liked your overview of Jersey Shore and the critiques it has received over the years. I also watch the show (definitely a guilty pleasure) even though I am constantly horrified by the things I’m seeing on the TV. Also, I cannot BELIEVE PaulyD is 30 years old! I had no idea. You are right, that is a terrifying thought to think that males in our society will continue acting that immature for even longer periods of time now because they are trying to emulate these characters.

  4. D.M.C. April 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    I am so glad you chose this topic and specifically talked about the Italian-American/New Jersey uproar! I am a part of both of those communities and am outraged by Jersey Shore! They are a disgrace to the state of New Jersey. I am sooooo sick of people associating me with those scumbags and their ways. New Jersey is a great place to live and has MANY beautiful areas that are NOTHING like Seaside. This show is a prime example of what NOT to do for children. The fact that little kids watch this show and think that it is cool to act like a slob and waster their lives acting like drunken animals makes me SICK. Sorry for going off on this post but I take it personally haha. Great job!!

  5. coreyunderwood May 1, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    This article is phenomenal. You did a great job explaining how terrible MTV truly is. It gives off a terrible view for women. How these 30 year old men are disrespecting women and they are putting it on national TV is ridiculous. You did a great job making your point of how awful Jersey shore is and how people watch it as entertainment. It is putting a terrible idea in these young peoples minds and you did a great job in portraying this. Jersey shore was a great topic to pick because this show is so known within our generation. This is one of my favorite blogs so far and you did a great job showing your belief on this.

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