Between racial slurs and obvious discrimination to saying Atheists are nothing more than devil worshipers, in The Real World, season 31, Jenna causes a lot of controversy throughout the season based on the things that come out of her mouth. One episode in particular raised quite a stir on social media.
In episode 4 of season 31, Jenna and her roommates are riding home from a challenge on a bus. One of the roommates, Dione, begins to drill Jenna with questions (she is from a small southern town and has proven to be extremely conservative, Mormon, and opinionated). One of his questions was if Jenna would stay living in the Real World house if she was forced to watch gay sex. Jenna immediately replies with “the thought of gay sex disgusts me”. This was very offensive to all the roommates but especially Chris, the one pansexual roommate. As he begins to defend himself and many of his friends, Jenna berates him with many names, devil worshiper being one of them. For the rest of the season you never see Jenna and Chris interact in a pleasant way. You could tell that when she found out his sexual orientation, she immediately cast him out.
These comments and this lack of understanding outside of her own religion and hometown beliefs poses a real threat to those watching the show. It furthers the agenda of heteronormativity in society. This reminds a lot of the movie Pariah. Once the main characters mother found out she was gay, she ostracized her and was extremely hateful. Her own beliefs, her lack of understanding, and her unwillingness to accept her daughter led her to disown her.
I feel like showing this kind of behavior and these kind of comments on reality tv, especially MTV, is extremely counterproductive. The audience watches these things and just becomes angry, they lose their motivation to educate the people who are obviously ignorant, and instead become enraged. Throughout the whole season, the racist and anti-gay comments are never addressed by the producers. The whole season Jenna is never held accountable for her actions until things blow up at the end of the season.
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