The Culture Wars Are Fought on Reality TV

As the proud Baylor University grads go from everyday people to household names, they join a cast of reality TV families known — and scrutinized — for the values they represent. The discussions around the Gaineses and their beliefs reveal how great a role reality TV plays in how Americans think about marriage, family and sexuality.

“Reality TV comprises a new chapter in television’s history as a domestic medium that has always focused on the family,” wrote Leigh H. Edwards in “The Triumph of Reality TV: The Revolution in American Television.” “Pundits, politicians, media critics, and psychologists alike have insisted that television helps define the modern family and contributes to that social unit’s evolution or decline.”

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