Queering Reality Dating Television

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2023-05

Authors

Vanden Bout, Marianna

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Abstract

This thesis explores the ways that the reality dating television genre reinforces heteronormativity, with a focus on the role of format in constructing circumstances in which participants must perform heterosexuality in order to succeed. Beginning with a discussion of the conventions of the 2000s and continuing through the 2020s reveals the role that borrowing from established formats has played in the emergence of the reality dating genre, creating representations that continue to reproduce heteronormativity because they are reliant on what has come before. Despite this, reality television has presented unique affordances in terms of queer visibility, because of its internal commitment to authenticity as well as its unscpripted nature. As a result, the relaity dating genre makes for an interesting case to examine the ways relevision has represented queer people and relationships.

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