Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wowowee, Sinong Nawiwili?

It is amazing how a lot of people would rather line up outside ABS-CBN and wait to be approved as a Wowowee contestant rather than get themselves a decent job.

Sure, it's easy to say that these people are not given chances for proper employment but if we assume that is true, we ask the question: are ALL of these people unemployed? Of course not. In fact, 86% of those who join reality game(of luck) shows have jobs/small businesses but would just go and join Wowowee because it's easy money.

The truth is, reality game shows are being advertised by media as something that works for the good of the masses. They say that these RGS(Reality Game Shows) operate in the pursuit of charity, generosity and bayanihan. Sure, the intention is good---they want to help the less fortunate. But we question, is the process correct?

What I will actually be discussing in this essay is how RGS provide more harm than good. That though it is masked with smiles and upbeat songs, it is actually an agent of social deterioration.

The reason why people join contests in RGS is that they are poor. The reason why they are poor is mainly of lack of self-sufficiency. They can NOT work because there are other means to acquire money. This is the kind of mindset that these RGS paint in Juan's mind that he would prefer lining up for easy money rather than work. The message that it sends to society is that, "It's OK to be poor, you will be provided money anyway". If you ask any media person why the Wowowee stampede happened, it's because this wrong mindset of easy money has contaminated the masses gravely! People now think that game shows are the answers to poverty. This is so not true. The media is not the right proponent to answering poverty. We have social welfare centers that even help housewives acquire livelihood skills necessary for little capitalization. Those livelihood programs teach the people to become self-sufficient. Let's juxtapose it to the Wowowee model, where one is given a sari-sari store showcase/jeepney/tricycle and it ends there. They do not even teach you about proper financial management. The capital is given to the winning Juan one-time. It shuns the idea of a good education for a better future and hard work to get to the top, which is what really happens in the real common world. This model becomes detrimental to the winning Juan because it does not teach him to be self-sufficient and perhaps that is why he is widely known to be lazy.

The next thing that we should always remember is that RGS are capitalist in nature. They continue to be aired in TV because they have sponsors. They earn from these sponsors. The RGS would want more sponsors so they must keep their ratings high. Although they claim that they "help" the poor, how do they give the money? See, before Willie Revillame gives Juan the "honorarium", he makes him cry and talk about his forlorn life in the TV. This is to induce pity among the audience, to ensure their support for a longer time. Again, this is for the pursuit of a higher rating. Another way of money-giving is that they get the funny-looking people from the audience and make them dance/sing in front of the camera. The hosts make sure that these people are really funny looking so that the audience(both in and out the studio) are well-entertained. They get those who have funny teeth, those who are so fat, those who are physically incapacitated, very old, those who talk funny and even the boisterous gay men who like dancing in front of the camera. What these RGS do not even care about is that they actually bring about more discrimination from the people because they kind of pinpoint those who are very vulnerable to discrimination. These discriminated people, on the other hand, are forced to humiliate themselves in public because they will be given money afterwards.

Let us not also forget that the RGS also has these half naked women dancing for "entertainment". A lot of foreigners even throw their money at these half naked women as if they're inside a strip bar. In this sense, the RGS becomes anti-feminist because it commodifies women. People can dance and entertain without having to do it with skimpy clothing! Why does it have to be a requisite? This is also present in Eat Bulaga. And get this, the dancers there have skimpier clothing. Again, people think IT'S OKAY. Why? Because there is money, because it will go to the poor.

At face value, Wowowee is very good. You see the people pitching in money to help other people. You see the helped ones crying for joy and hugging the host. What is another wrong thing is that the helped ones give the host too much credit. They sometimes treat him as if he is God. They support him. They call themselves his "fans". The host, in return, abuses the credit he gets and sometimes uses the show for his self-interest. Yes, I'm talking about Willie defending himself against the case of physical abuse filed by his wife. He uses the show to gain public sympathy. One cannot directly conclude that he is such a righteous man just because he is the non-abstract representation of helping the poor. He is paid to do his job. Zip. Nada.

You are probably one of Wowowee's patronizers. What I'm trying to say is that you open to eyes to what implicit harm it does to society. Then ask yourself, do you want a community that depends on easy money? One that degrades women? One that wears a mask of charity but operates on massive capitalization?

Wake up.

However, if you agree that Willie is not the modern-day prophet, if you hate seeing commodified half naked women, if you continue to study well because there's more to life than Wowowee, and lastly, if you believe reality shows are anything but, then you and I might have coffee sometime.


Bam the Great said...

Hahahaha! This is sooo correct.

Wowowee is a fallacy.

Paolo said...

but which one do u prefer? eat bualga or wowowee.

battle of d station na to ! =P

Peppermint Streak said...

i generally dislike GMA shows. hahaha. actually it's not that i really hate wowowee, but i just made it as a model, since it's more famous and sensationalized. :) i was supposed to criticize noontime shows in general. :)

Nigel said...

haha.. you took the words right out of my mouth..;p

abidubi said...

blugre then? :P

Peppermint Streak said...

omg. blugre's chocolate cake glazed with condensed milk is so sinfully good. :p

aRiS said...

I don't enjoy watching Wowowee. I cry when I saw people sharing to the show's host their sufferings and difficulties. I have a soft heart for these people!

Peppermint Streak said...

abs-cbn seems to enjoy it by the way. hah.

falling na kasi ang Lopez businesses. oops. do i have to say that? haha

Anonymous said...

Very well substantiated, but very wrong. You have to remember that Wowowee is fundamentally PROFIT-ORIENTED. That is the reason why it is created at the first place. Social Service comes next. It is not their goal to help people. It's a dog-eat-dog world. They are people from the corporate world. You can not expect them to have hearts of gold.
You have good ideas and you write well. But you must also be factual.

Peppermint Streak said...

Of course they have to be controversial and happy and sexy and funny to gain high ratings!

Wowowee is profit oriented(I never said they weren’t) and that is precisely why it is a social “harm” for people to THINK that it is operating in the primary pursuit of charity. I’m not talking against what Wowowee could have done but what Wowowee makes the people THINK.

Bam the Great said...


Tama, tama. Pero in what way can we combat Wowowee? I say, it's by watching EAT BULAGA! Wahahaha! I kid.

Bitaw bru, i miss our coffee sessions at basti's. You're busy na kasi with "other" things. *sniff*

Peppermint Streak said...

magbastis tau pagsweldo ko :)