Honey Boo Boo in the Mediated Sphere

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The reality television show which follows the life of the southern, overweight, seven year old sassy pageant star Alana Thompson. Do I need to say much more? Being a self confessed follower of the show it is easy to understand how the show can lead to mass debate within the mediated public sphere.

Exploitation of children is the under riding call of debate within the mediated public sphere. Christopher Zara, 2012 in his article argues that children like Alana are far too young to give “informed consent” when entering reality television and the consequence of thrusting a seven year old into the national spotlight has overseen a volatile mix of inflated ego and diminished boundaries. Another issue, which draws debate in the mediated public sphere, is Alana and her families “pleasantly plump” state. It is fair to say the show promotes behaviours that lead to obesity particularly seen in Alana’s class one-liners: “I wish I had an extra finger, then I could grab more cheeseballs.” (Alanna Thompson). Jane Valez Mitchell expresses in an interview “When I see this I become outraged because we have an obesity crisis in the country. It is codependent enabling. It’s an outrage”.

The show has even led to debate on quite surprising topics such as poverty. “The show gives viewers unfettered glimpses of lives lived near the poverty line” (Jamshid Ghazi Askar, 2013) and has called for question in the mediated sphere whether viewers respect or ridicule of the poor by watching this show. On one hand the show has been described as a solution that soothes the aches and pains of busy lives” because the show is a form of entertainment that is approachable, fun loving and light (Jeremy Wo, 2012) but on the other, it has been used by viewers as a way to make themselves feel better by comparison (celebuzz, 2012).

An example of Honey Boo Boo in the mediated public sphere is the popular YouTube series Kids React. The children were asked to watch a number of clips from the show and then asked to give their opinions on issues that had been identified with the show.

So it seems although Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is an example of modern day “trashy television” there are a number of serious issues which can be derived and debated in the mediated public sphere.


3 thoughts on “Honey Boo Boo in the Mediated Sphere

  1. Honey Boo Boo definitely raises some issues within the mediated public sphere! It’s interesting to see even children’s reactions to the show and what debates they came up with. Great blog! 🙂

  2. I really liked how the video you chose gave comments from children about a child star instead of an adult’s comment, which would usually dominate a news story. As Alana is only a child, I found it really interesting to listen to how the other children reacted, as they would be envisioning themselves as having her childhood as a current child. I strongly agree with Christopher Zara’s article that argues that children like Alana are far too young to give “informed consent” when entering reality television. I think this show deserves to have debate in the mediated sphere, as the exploitation of children is an important debate that needs to be addressed. Whilst I shamefully admit that I too love watching rubbish TV shows like this, I often worry about the long-term physiological damage child TV stars like Alana may end up with.

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