Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Troubling Sign of the Times

Ever since reality TV became the norm for evening programing, I've been a fan. Having a degree in sociology and a minor in psychology, the group and individual dynamics of reality shows has always fascinated me. I caught an episode of a program called "What Would You Do?" this past Friday that I found especially interesting.

This particular program, hosted by John Quinones, has actors portraying particular scenarios in public places and then films the reactions or non-reactions of the unsuspecting public on the scene. They've had actors dress in fat suits to see if there is an obesity prejudice among Americans. In another episode, an apparently attractive person and a not so attractive person with the same resumes and qualifications have applied for the same job to see if attractive people have an advantage in the job market. They've had actors portray an abusive relationship to see if anyone will step in and stop the abuser, stepping up the intrigue by changing the appearance of the actors to portray different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. The show seeks to expose racism, sexism, agism, etc., and then asks, "What would you do in this particular situation?" I find folks behavior during these episodes can be surprising at times and predictable at others.

This past Friday they had a teenage boy approach pharmacy patrons asking if they would purchase condoms for him and his girlfriend, who would like to take their relationship to another level. They then had a teenage girl ask patrons to purchase "Plan B" because she failed to use contraception with her boyfriend. "Plan B" is a controversial contraceptive that prevents implantation, thus making it a potential abortifacient. Amazingly, the boy actually had difficulty in getting people from all different walks of life to help him purchase condoms, but the girl had almost no trouble at all, especially when she asked women. I found this very troubling. Why did folks have qualms about helping in one situation, but had no problem at all in possibly murdering an unborn child? Is it because many have not completely thought out what "Plan B" actually does? Or do folks just have their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that is what "Plan B" does? While I do not agree with contraception of any sort and I applaud those, especially the Catholic college professor, that refused to buy condoms for the boy, it is a truly troubling sign of the times that the girl was so easily helped along in such a morally and physically dangerous way. If thrown into this scenario, what would you do to keep each of these youngsters from moral harm?
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Natalie said...

That sounds like a very interesting show. What time and channel does it come on?

My guess at why the boy had so much difficultity is because boys are often sterotyped as the more physically sexual gender than girls. Girls are often seen as the "victim" to the boys raging hormones and must give in to him in order for her to feel worthy or loved, or to feel the need to "prove" her love to him. I think that is why the girl had it easier; it wasn't her fault she had unprotected sex. Some boy must of tricked her into it so she shouldn't have to deal with the consequences. It's complete bull, but there's my two cents for you. =)

Maurisa said...

ABC Friday nights 8/9

I agree with your assessment if the approached patron is a woman, but it was the older men's refusal to purchase condoms for the boy that I found interesting. One even counseled that the boy should forget about the idea of taking the relationship to the next level altogether.

It really is an interesting show. Of course, they could easily use their creative editing power to skew the show if they wish, so the results should be taken with a grain of skepticism.

Natalie said...

I don't know why, but I'm betting the only reason older men wouldn't buy the condoms is because it's embaressing. Much of society has basically said birth control is the woman's responsibility since it is her body.