Sunday, February 1, 2009

SOUND OFF Ethics 101: To Watch or Not to Watch?

Written by Guin

Recently, regular poster Marci brought to our attention a discussion at GWoP about whether those who consider “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” to be exploitation should stop watching the show. This has certainly come up before, on GWoP, here, and no doubt on other blogs. But we thought we’d revisit the topic. One poster there (a regular who even contributes show recaps to the blog) expressed disappointment that so many people who felt that the show was exploitive continue to watch. A moderator argued that watching the show constituted “child advocacy”, and that if people didn’t watch, they would be unable to fulfill their roles as child advocates, contact sponsors, etc. Then of course, there is the argument from another GWoP moderator from a while back (which surprised a lot of Gosselin bloggers) that GWoP’s main purpose was not and had never been “advocacy”.

What do you think? Is it okay to watch the show for entertainment purposes if you believe it’s exploitive? Do you believe the argument that a large number of people watch simply to further their efforts to bring the show to an end. Would you watch a television show that you believed was exploiting children?

65 comments:

Anya said...

What do you think? Is it okay to watch the show for entertainment purposes if you believe it’s exploitive?

In general I try and avoid telling other adults how to live their life. That said, I don't really approve.

Do you believe the argument that a large number of people watch simply to further their efforts to bring the show to an end.

No, I don't. I also don't believe in psychics.

Would you watch a television show that you believed was exploiting children?

I would not and I do not.

Bridget said...

If I truly thought the show was exploiting the children, I absolutely would not watch. And I would not visit any Gosselin blogs. My belief is the more attention one pays to something, the less likely it is to go away.

That being said, I do not believe the Gosselin kids are being exploited. I watch it every Monday night, enjoy visiting this and other Gosselin blogs, and have read the book.

Who knows, maybe someday I will change my mind about the show. Maybe then I will stop watching. What I really dislike are the comments from people who claim to hate Kate, but not only watch, but DVR, rewind, and watch track by track, looking for something to find fault with.

Florida Mom said...

I decided to read some at GWOP today, before answering. I don't understand and probably never will.

I think the Gosselins are a beautiful, blessed family. I am more impressed by their physical blessings(to have that many children, and all of them healthy), than their material blessings.

I am happy for their success. But, I did as one poster there talked about, and googled Maddy Gosselin. If I googled my child and found such meanness, I think I would put him in hiding for a while. There are some real nuts out there.

This show will not last forever. I wish these advocates could relax a little. Maybe start a quilting circle on Monday nights:).

Quiltart said...

Florida Mom, I agree. I honestly feel that those who purport to be advocating for the children and are trying to undermine the parents' livelihood and are leaving a trail of hateful, spiteful messages about the parents AND the children on the internet are in no way concerned about the Gosselin children.

rain88 said...

What do you think? Is it okay to watch the show for entertainment purposes if you believe it’s exploitive?

I watch J&K but I do have some issues with the fact that the bulk of their income has become the show. I first felt that way when Jon quit his job to do the show full time. I still watch though because I love the kids and their antics. Does it make me a hypocrite? I don't know but I do know that my watching isn't going to change if the show is on or not.


Do you believe the argument that a large number of people watch simply to further their efforts to bring the show to an end.

Nope.

Would you watch a television show that you believed was exploiting children?

Depends on your definition of exploitation. One definition says "to make productive use of"
So yes, in that definition it is exploting.


I wouldn't watch if it showed children in constant distress. The only example I can think of is child porn and that's a given for all of us.

Good questions Anya.

rain88 said...

Sorry, I meant to say good questions Guinevere not Anya.

MoreCowbell said...

First of all, it needs to be established once and for all that GWoP does NOT exist for "advocacy," and to even put those two words in the same sentence is an utter and complete joke. Child advocates do not make fun of the children the claim to be advocating for, or bully and harass people who do not hold the same beliefs as them (case in point, Rev. Craig). Child advocacy does not include invading the privacy of the family they are supposedly advocating for, or make said family fear enough for their safety that they hire body guards for public appearances.

Anyone at GWoP still trying to insist that they are advocating for the Gosselin children needs to back away from the crack pipe and take their heads from out of their rectums. They are a HATE site, plain and simple, and they should own up for a change.

Would you watch a television show that you believed was exploiting children?

I would not and I do not.


Amen.

themrs said...

interesting questions...

as far as the exploitation issues goes, i'm on the fence. it bothers me that their income is based on their children. i would honestly prefer that they end the show because i think it's time for the kids to have a normal life. that being said, i do watch the show because i think the kids are really cute. i don't think they are abused or neglected nor do i think they will be serial killers :) as far as the "advocates" are concerned, i don't see any advocating going on there. i personally do some advocating in my life and would never insult or demean those i advocate for. it just doesn't make any sense! i also find it ironic that all those people are watching and recording this show which just adds to the ratings. TLC doesn't care if you're watching because you love it or because you hate it, as long as you watch. so they are just adding to the ratings. as long as it's a top rated show they'll keep producing it.

on a side note, florida mom, a few months ago we were discussing the internet issue on this site. i also googled maddy to see what would come up (this was after one of the shows where jon said the girls love google). one of the results that came up was a facebook group called "maddy gosselin is a B#%^" (without the censoring of course!) i was soo disgusted i reported it to facebook and wrote them a letter (now i'm a letter writer too LOL )
i think it's sick that people would actually start a FB page hating an eight year old child. i hope they took it down, i've never checked though.

Theresa said...

I totally agree with you Florida Mom.

yourmama said...

I'm on the fence with themrs. It bothere me too that their income is based on their children.

Mady is not very well liked on the internet and that's sad. I read an article that said she was the most unliked child on TV. It would be sad if she looked herself up and found all the bad things that are said.

I love all the kids, but those little boys are my favorite. :>)

merryway said...

Like the questions Guin.

I do not think it's okay to watch a show for entertainment if you think it's exploitive. I have watched a few movies that I felt were exploitive to the child actors; Gummo comes to mind as the strongest on that point. I really wondered at the parents who let their children be involved with that film.

I do not believe that a large number of people watch simply to help in an effort to bring the show to it's demise. I believe a small minority (700 by the petition) with home computers watch to share their hatred with each other and to harass innocent by-standers and such. I wonder in their effort to do so they realize they set women's issues back to the 50's.

Would you watch a television show that you believed was exploiting children?

I don't know. I can't watch
anything harsh involving children that was supposed to entertain me. I have watched some gruesome documentaries, but that's more in a sense of wanting to know what the world is truly like. I might watch something for the history of it. There's degrees in there, so I can't give a yes or no. The Gosselins are a unique situation as are the other families involved in these shows. I don't think any of them are being exploited. It's the lifestyle they've chosen for themselves. I think the Gosselin children are very lucky to have the parents they have. I don't think J&K take advantage of the situation, I think it's all for the family. After reading the link in the last VIDEOs thread that said J&K were bombarded with requests for a statement on the oct mom, I view it as the family going to work with mom. She's a spokesmom and had the kids with her.



I am happy for their success. But, I did as one poster there talked about, and googled Maddy Gosselin. If I googled my child and found such meanness, I think I would put him in hiding for a while. There are some real nuts out there

I felt the same way when I was on youtube the other day. I couldn't believe what I saw. Others see it for what it is, but it's certainly telling about those posters. The Gosselins are already “there” in there status and this kind of stuff is a draw-back of fame. It's a shame isn't it?...

Whoa, check out the new rules over there. Now, what are they going to talk about?

jace said...

In my opinion it is completely hypocritical to watch the show for entertainment purposes if you believes that it is exploitative. If it is wrong for it to be on the air surely it is wrong to watch it. If it is still in the TV listings than you pretty much know that what you object to is still going on so what's the point in nitpicking everything in excruciating detail? Most of which have nothing to do with the exploitation issue but are more about parenting styles or family dynamic (or appearance) which will not change whether or not we see the Gosselins on TV.

If the owners of GWoP were for child advocacy, they wouldn't be wasting all their time on a blog running down one particular family. There is a whole reality TV world out there that features children.

And the things that they post about the Gosselin children convince me that they are not fighting against child exploitation but participating in their own brand of it for their own weird agendas. If they cared one whit for those kids, they would quit treating them and their parents the way that they do.

Saint said...

I have never thought they were exploiting their children. I have always understood the reservations of sensible people like thems or yourmama or rain88. The kids do not have a completely "normal" life and they have traded some of their privacy (google Mady) for their financial security. I'm not completely convinced this was the wisest choice.

What's done is done, though. The questions I ask myself with regard to these sticky issues are: how are they handling it now?

Jon's & Kate's books and speaking engagements and spokesperson roles are a way of taking the pressure off the children. If people were really concerned for the children, they'd support these new income sources and roles for the parents. You don't have to like the Gosselins to support these roles. I don't like basketball, but I support all of the players who make their livings using their talents to entertain other people. I don't object to and write letters to sponsors so that they can't earn money that way. Why do peole write to churches about Kate telling her story of depending on God through a challenging and miraculous pregnancy? How does that speaking engagement exploit the children?

I don't think Jon should work at a job that pays a pittance compared to the show/speaker's fees/spokesperson roles. I think it shows that he values his time with his kids more than money. He should get every monetary benefit possible from the show, as long as he's doing it, then take the added benefit of being home with his wife and kids.

Saint said...

Merryway, I just read your post and I agree completely with you.

These are great questions.

Lizabeth said...

I just had a post all typed but my computer froze and I lost it. Grr.

It was pretty much what Saint just posted, though-- I think the steps Jon and Kate have taken to brand themselves outside of the show are how this family can get off the air and stay secure in todays volatile economy.

I could not watch a show I thought was really exploiting children. I can't watch any shows that just don't sit well with me (like Super Nanny and Trading Spouses). Life is too short to surround myself with things I am not happy with, which is also why I have stopped reading comments on blogs I do not agree with. Why give them page clicks when I do not support their cause? Just my thoughts-- like Anya, I would never propose to tell others how to feel or act, but I sleep better at night when I don't have really mean statements about adorable kids in my head.

I think there are some people who honestly, genuinely feel that the show is wrong and are making concerted efforts to change legislation because of that. I also think that these people are lost in the midst of a roar that Kate has a new house and Hannah is the favorite. When you have something you really believe in, its important to not diminish your credibility with those you ally yourself with. I think that more posters who have an honest desire to help things for all kids in reality TV and entertainment should move ahead with that goal away from sites that constantly bash this family.

merryway said...

I said: The Gosselins are a unique situation as are the other families involved in these shows. I don't think any of them are being exploited.

I should add that while I don't believe the G's children are being exploited by their parents, with TLC/F8 it's all about ratings. I believe they went too far in stirring the controversy and some execs are loving the attn it brings to the show. If they had shown us the real deal the show would have been just as interesting. They would have still gotten controversy just by showing a “real” mom, they didn't need to add to it.

Linda said...

Just an FYI -

The Facebook page is still there. Wow.

Linda said...

Just an FYI -

The Facebook page is still there. Wow.

Too Funny said...

I think that if they have such a problem with it then they shouldn't watch. That's like getting punched in the face, saying you didn't like it, but then going back for more. lol It's just dumb.

I also don't think they are being exploited. Their show is no different that LPBW, The Duggars, Snoop Dog's Fatherhood, Nanny 911, Super Nanny, Meet the Barkers, The Osbournes, Run's House, and I could go on and on.

Funny how all those other shows exist, which show their entire family (kids and all), all their ups and downs, and not a word of exploitation or ridicule is mentioned. Only J&K are given a hard time.

This is why I think these haters really just have a problem with Kate personally. They just hide behind words and excuses like "exploitation" and "child advocate." It's a real shame but they aren't fooling anyone.

Maria said...

I don't think anyone who honestly feels that there is child exploitation occuring in the Gosselin house could bring themselves to watch the show. Case in point, I love animals and rescue dogs; and I could NEVER watch a show or video that shows animals being abused, harmed, exploited, etc. It would rip my heart out. I certainly couldn't watch it for 30 minutes without going crazy. All of those people claiming they watch because they are child advocates are clearly using the "child exploitation" issue as a disguise for why they really watch -- to bash Kate out of pure jealousy.

Saint said...

I have been reading some of the "saner" objections to the show recently and I just want to respond to something. Some people liked the show until the Gosselins appeared to "strike it rich." There are fans who turned when they realized Jon could quit his everyday job and they were going to move into this big house.

If the cameras are bad for the children (I think you could argue that rationally,) aren't they bad whether they make a thousand dollars or a million dollars? Why do people "like" the show when the Gosselins struggle, but "started to notice something wrong" when Jon quit his job, Kate started wearing nicer clothes, and they bought the house and property? I understand not "relating" to rich people, but "hating" them? I don't get it.

This show is a trade-off for those kids. For the children, they have some of their daily lives filmed (how much is still in dispute as is how much is too much.) I would rather see them with a dad who isn't going to work everyday, but is around to supervise and play with them. I would rather see them afford the best school they can, get a bigger house, have more space for pets, if they are going to have a "family job."

Why shouldn't the kids get a lot out of this? Why should former fans of the show resent their material improvement?

I hope I am clear about what I am asking. I understand the people who have objected to the intrusive quality to the show from the start. It's the people who liked it at the start, but don't like that the Gosselins are doing so much better that have me baffled.

Nina Bell said...

I would not watch a show that I felt was exploiting children. All it takes is one episode to form an opinion. After that if I decided to advocate for those children, I would find other means besides blogging excessively about hair,freebies and how someone cleans a fridge.

I also believe that GWoP is purely a site for people's entertainment. Just like this blog. People frequent GWoP to fill their own needs, not to advocate for children.

Saint said...

At GWOP, a poster argued against the moderator's position that unless you are a Nielson Ratings family, your viewing the show doesn't "count" in the ratings for Jon & Kate Plus Eight. I have cut and pasted what she said is from DirectTV's website:

We may disclose aggregated Anonymous Viewing Information and any derived analyses to third parties including suppliers, advertisers, broadcasters, research companies and other organizations.

I checked; the above statement is under the privacy policy online at the Direct TV website. So this poster is right, and the GWOP moderator who claimed her watching didn't affect the show's marketability was wrong.

I wonder if she'll make a correction?

I have to agree with the posters over there who say that the controversy they drum up at that website has increased viewership and interest in the show.

I am proof. Had I not found GWOP which linked to Julie's blog and then Penn Mommy's, I would have given up this show in September. The online buzz has kept me watching.

Nina Bell said...

Saint,

I couldn't agree more. It was GWoP that motivated me to start this blog which in turn motivates me to keep watching the show.

I like the show but I am not sure that it would have held my interest for this long if it wasn't for the controversy surrounding it.

lulubae said...

I will echo others' sentiments; if I thought it was exploitative, there is no way I would watch or condone it. I am sensible enough to change a channel when something comes on that I'm not interested (anything with Paris Hilton, for example).

People will always have an opinion about things. It comes with the territory of free will. I'm all for differing opinions. What I don't get is people's wish to torture themselves watching or commenting on something that creates such fury in them. How does living your life bitterly or teed off at a group of people you've never met, whom you see through the filter of television and will probably never be in the presence of make your life or that of those around you better?

Saint said...

Well, besides watching the show, Nina, I got the book as a gift for Christmas (I liked it.) And now I am thinking of purchasing "Eight Little Faces" with my Borders online coupon. I support the speaking engagements and books 100% since "telling the story" is no big violation of their privacy. There is no way I would have even thought about that without the blog controversy.

On a happy note: I like the new GWOP posting rules. I hope they stick to them. There are whole posts up now that violate the posting rules, but maybe they are starting fresh as of two days ago?

SamanthaNC said...

If you truly believe any show is exploitive- I cant imagine why you would think its okay to watch it. Aren't you just contributing?

I have yet to see any "Advocates" and I honestly think they enjoy the drama/gossip they create and that that is their real purpose.

I've been very busy this weekend and I feel like I missed a lot!

MommyZinger said...

Do you believe the argument that a large number of people watch simply to further their efforts to bring the show to an end.

*snorts* No. If their definition of exploitation is "making money off the backs of their children" then all they would need to know is that the show exists.

Maybe I would believe their reasoning if they only spoke of particular scenes on the show that concerned them. If they want to snark, there are lots of other sites for that.

That is just their way of convincing the lemmings that its okay to watch.

One would only have to compare them to real advocacy sites to see they are posers. On his site, does their hero Paul Peterson talk about how Hannah looks "slow"? Don't think so.

Would you watch a television show that you believed was exploiting children?

I'm not sure. I would like to think not. I can't say for certain that all of my clothes were not made in a sweatshop that employed minors. If I said I wouldn't watch a show that I believed exploited children, I would be a hypocrite.

Amelia said...

A poster on the other board said that her obsession with the Gosselins has become a "bone of contention" in her relationship with her husband. She states it in a way that seems to imply that she's proud of that and that other posters should be, too. Almost like, "I'm SO into this family and protecting those kids that it's causing problems with me and my husband. Look how much effort I'm putting into this. Go, me!" She also says it as if it's completely normal for her, like, "I wore pants today."

It's almost cult-like now. Those people claim others are sheeple, yet their "following" has become extremely creepy. I think the Gosselins consume their lives. I'm afraid of and for them. Their ability to think independently and rationally has completely left the building. I wonder if in a couple of years they will look back at this time in their lives and regret it. Or if they'll just move onto a different "cause" and attempt to bring down another innocent family, pastor, doctor, etc.

FIONA said...

OK, I do think the Gosselin kids are being exploited by their parents. I don't think it is OK. I also watch LPBW, The Duggars and Toddler and Tiaras at times, but do not feel as strongly about those shows.

That being said I started watching this show from the very first special and fell in love with the kiddos. I enjoyed the banter between Jon and Kate and the planning that went with raising all the kids.

I liked seeing Jon handle it on Kate's work days, and I liked seeing Kate handle it when Jon worked.

I don't think anyone can deny that both Jon and Kate have changed from what we have all seen from the earlier shows.

They have both undergone physical transformations surgical and non.

What bothers me the most is to see the kids being affected by the show. I think we have all seen scenes that we wished we had not.

I don't begrudge their money or their new home-a bigger house makes sense to me.

I don't care that companies give the kids clothing or juice or even toys.

However none of that would have happened if Jon and Kate had not been proactive in moving themselves forward...marketing their multiples for financial gain.

Maybe I am a hypocrite to watch the show, but when I watch it I do so for entertainment. I don't write letters, although I have sent a couple off a long time ago, my blood pressure doesn't rise when Kate says something bitchy or mean to the kids or Jon.

I do think there should be regulations in place for this show.

And I have said this before, I don't think these kids will come out unscated. I particularly think the twins will have a rough road ahead, and depending on when the show stops, the tups as well.

I don't think Jon or Kate are selfless enough to be protecting and advocating for their own kids now. And I do think that they could.

I am not sure if any parents could pull this off, but Kate is way to moody and high stressed to keep the kids on a even keel. And what help Jon gives is usually wrong or comes with a demeaning beat down.

Honestly, this is all a past time for me. Kate is fun to watch and Jon is just a weak kneed man, I cringe for him the most. It is a train wreck I can't pull my eyes from.

Do I wish terrible things for this family? No, of course not. I actually wish for good things. I wish Kate would hold to her new marriage vows. I wish she wouldn't yell so much. I wish Jon would step up and not allow himself to be belittled by his wife. I wish Mady and Cara numerous things as well as the little kids.

But at the end of the day-those people are not my family. I just blog about them. And whether you are a friendly blogger or a not so friendly blogger, I pose another question: To Blog or Not To Blog? Are we making things worse or better? What if we all just stopped? Is it ok to be talking about the Gosselin's personal life as long as it is supportive. What do you think the Gosselin's would want?

FIONA said...

Amelia,

I am not afraid for the G's. I don't think those crazy cat ladies are going to do anything beyone write some silly sounding letters.

I don't even think Paul Petersen is involved in GWOP anymore.

Those ladies with their post it note campaigns aren't going to harm the Gosselin's, because just like you and I, they watch the show and I think they like it!

FIONA said...

Mommy Zinger,

Excellent point-most of our clothing if not all is made overseas. Go thru and look how many things are made in Turkey, India, Guam etc...these countries are all known for hiring small kids for pennies a day. And don't even get me started on Gap and Old Navy-all those little beads and embroidery you find on their clothes are compliments of a small child sitting on a dirt floor for 12 hours a day.

Nina Bell said...

Fiona,

I think the key to blogging about the Gosselins is like anything else. People just need to be respectful, truthful and honest when they blog. You certainly were just very honest and respectful about how you feel and that is all anyone can ask.

Nina Bell said...

Different thread but I think I was called out for a bad analogy. I feel the same way about purchasing clothing from a store where you have no idea where it comes from equating to purposely programming your DVR to watch a program that you cry out is exploiting children. Watching it over and over again. Blogging about things that have nothing to do with child exploitation but are demeaning to the family in general under the guise that you are a child advocate.

“So not even close I can’t believe you wrote that.”

pam said...

I think GWOP will argue whatever point is convenient and helpful for them at the time, regardless of what has been said in the past. If it helps them NOW, then that is the way it is NOW. Yesterday it may have been different, and tomorrow it may change again.

Saint said...

To blog or not to blog?

That's an interesting question, Fiona. I can imagine what Jon and Kate would think of GWOP...same as I do I suppose. But what would Jon and Kate think of GDNNOP, or even Baby Mama's site? Would they prefer we not give our opinions pro or con? Are we hurting the family here?

I don't think we are. I think it helps to have a site where both sides of the "controversy" can be discussed. If I were John and Kate, I'd even appreciate the criticism from rational posters here. I think a site like GWOP had no hope of being an advocacy site because the rational people who disagree with the show over there get so fed up with the overwhelming tone of craziness that they leave.

Another thing you can find here that is helpful to the Gosselins is a brake on the rumor mill. For example, here's where the truth about Penn mommy was revealed.

In GWOP's new posting rules I see
#15. The administrators are not able to verify the identity of people who comment here. Believe what you choose to believe.

So they have "verified" Jess the magazine reporter as being reputable, and now they are denying that they can verify anything. At this blog, since I've come, the moderators here have not published the "insider" emails and comments they receive, from either side of a controversy. I wish GWOP would adopt the same policy. Even so, if they stick to the new rules, it will be an improvement.

Saint said...

Fiona,
Why don't you feel as strongly about the Duggars (I am just wondering.) Is it that Michelle isn't bossy? Is it that there are too many kids to tell apart? I don't watch that show...I saw them move into a huge house, like, two kids ago, and I saw a special when the were having #15. I recently came in the middle of the wedding and watched long enough to think the bride was a lot cuter than the groom, the groom should not be singing on TV, and the dresses were pretty. Then we turned to something else.

rain88 said...

Saint....I have been reading some of the "saner" objections to the show recently and I just want to respond to something. Some people liked the show until the Gosselins appeared to "strike it rich." There are fans who turned when they realized Jon could quit his everyday job and they were going to move into this big house.

For me, it wasn't that they struck it rich that made me feel uncomfortable when Jon quit his job. It is the pressure involved to maintain the show when it became their major source of income. The more they have income that does not involve the kids directly the better it will be for their kids. I don't have any issues with the house or the trips or the freebies.

Too Funny...I also don't think they are being exploited. Their show is no different that LPBW, The Duggars, Snoop Dog's Fatherhood, Nanny 911, Super Nanny, Meet the Barkers, The Osbournes, Run's House, and I could go on and on.

Funny how all those other shows exist, which show their entire family (kids and all), all their ups and downs, and not a word of exploitation or ridicule is mentioned. Only J&K are given a hard time.


There are a lot of extremely negative things said about LPBW, it's not just J&K.

GLO said...

"I think GWOP will argue whatever point is convenient and helpful for them at the time, regardless of what has been said in the past. If it helps them NOW, then that is the way it is NOW. Yesterday it may have been different, and tomorrow it may change again."

Exactly! That is why I can never take anything posted (or anyone who posts) on GWOP seriously.

The Alexis/Hannah single bedroom fiasco is a perfect example of this idiocy. When Alexis was rumored to be getting her own bedroom in the new house it was, "Gasp! This just shows how isolated she is from the rest of the kids. J&K must despise her." Then when Kate states that Hannah will be getting her own bedroom because of migraines, it was, "Gasp! This just proves that Hannah is the favorite 'tup and more loved than the rest."

Puh-lease!

Saint said...

Thank you Rain88, that makes sense. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Guinevere said...

It's almost cult-like now.

I totally agree. There are definitely some cultish aspects to the group. The belief that they alone have access to some special "truth" is very weird to me.

Jenn said...

I took a peak at the new gwop rules. I wonder what prompted the change. I know I read a few comments here (i think) and other places that questioned if the Gosselins had grounds for a libel suit against them...

Jenn said...

It's almost cult-like now.

which is why, imo, they have not shown the front of the house. i hope they learned from those experiences. i also think they chose a house w/ a large amount of property for the same reason.

Theresa said...

FIONA said...
OK, I do think the Gosselin kids are being exploited by their parents. I don't think it is OK. I also watch LPBW, The Duggars and Toddler and Tiaras at times, but do not feel as strongly about those shows.

_______________

Really Fiona? You don't find Toddlers and Tiaras exploitative? Or, rather it doesn't bother you too much?

I think it's the definitive exploitative show. It's exploitation of children to the max. Moms are dressing their kids up as women and parading them around in skimpy outfits and in makeup for money and prizes. The kids are losing out on their childhoods because of some pathetic void that's needed by the mother that she never got in her own childhood.

I have never watched the show and only know of it by the TLC commercials. That's enough for me not to want to watch it. It's a truly pathetic show.

FIONA said...

Saint,

Actually, no I think the G's would prefer that all the blogs go away...even the nice ones. It just puts more attention on them, and even if you are a "nice" site, we still discuss controversial things that have been brought up.

So really, it is all just a bit much that we have vested so much time in our hobby. My opinion, but we all own a bit of this madness.

The Duggars-they show their faith, all aspects of it and I admire that...not that I agree with it, but I think they are true to themselves. Also, the little kids are not the focus, in fact it is mostly the bigger kids, and some that are over 18. We haven't seen the kids on the potty, having tantrums, we haven't heard their Mother talk about their ugly behaviors.

They may seem odd, but they seem honest to me.

Theresa said...

Lizabeth said...It was pretty much what Saint just posted, though-- I think the steps Jon and Kate have taken to brand themselves outside of the show are how this family can get off the air and stay secure in todays volatile economy.
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I agree Lizabeth. This is a smart move on the Gosselins. And, I bet they have a lot of business ventures now and in the future. They may not appear to some to be what I'm about to say...but, I think they are a smart, young couple. They embrace change for the betterment of their family and move foward.

Guinevere said...

OK, I do think the Gosselin kids are being exploited by their parents.

Maybe I am a hypocrite to watch the show, but when I watch it I do so for entertainment.


It's just hard for me to understand watching it for entertainment if you feel it's exploitive. Someone mentioned loving animals - I can't see watching a show where puppies are beaten because the puppies are just SO cute. I also think that even if I were able to enjoy it - ignore the fact that the puppies were suffering and just focus on the cuteness - my conscience would poke at me for doing so. If the kids are being exploited, then you are participating in the exploitation by watching. Some people try to excuse that by saying that they aren't part of a Neilsen family, etc. But that's not the point. It's a moral issue, if you truly feel that exploitation is occurring. I don't see participating in exploitation as morally defensible by arguing that your participation has no effect on it. Anymore than I can see arguing that it's okay to steal something if no one will miss it or be hurt by it being stolen.

To each her own, I guess.

FIONA said...

Well Guin,

I wasn't arguing that what the Gosselin's are doing is morally wrong. I do feel like making a living off your kids privacy is wrong, but I am not the judge and jury.

I can't explain it any better than I have, and it is OK with me that you don't understand.

It is not a big enough issue to me that I lose sleep over it and I don't think I am a bad person because I watch the show and yet feel sorry for the kids at the same time.

Interesting point about the puppies...they have more rights regarding their time on a set then the G kids do.

Guinevere said...

For me, it wasn't that they struck it rich that made me feel uncomfortable when Jon quit his job. It is the pressure involved to maintain the show when it became their major source of income. The more they have income that does not involve the kids directly the better it will be for their kids. I don't have any issues with the house or the trips or the freebies.

Yes, thanks for the explanation, Rain. I had always assumed that the whole issue with Jon not "working" was that people felt as a man he should have a job outside the home. It's a reasonable point to suggest that they may be placing their eggs a bit too much in one basket if neither Jon nor Kate have outside jobs. Though I don't know that Jon ever had a job that would support a wife and eight kids that well. For all that some posters want to glorify poverty, I do think the opportunities that the show has afforded them should be considered. You tend to be told that you're materialistic and reminded that "money can't buy happiness" when you say that, but poverty is no virtue and I don't blame the Gosselins for wanting to make things easier for their children.

Jenn said...

I haven't seen the Toddlers and Tiara's and I don't plan on it either. I don't think it is healthy for little girls to be made up like 30 year old women for the purpose of winning a contest.

I think there is a clear difference between J&K+8 and T&T. The Gosselin kids are being normal kids, misbehaving and living everyday life. It may be a little different because there are cameras around but I don't see how they are being forced to dance and win anything. The girls on T&T are being taught that you need to be pretty to win. And if you don't win, you're not great. How is that healthy? I refuse to watch that show because I think those girls are being exploited.

Saint said...

This blog asked once before if we thought it was exploitation. I really thought about it. As Fiona points out regarding the Duggars, the age of the participants means something, though 13, 14, 15 year olds don't have all that much more say about things. They're still kids, too.

But "exploitation" implies (to me) that the kids get a lot more negative out of the experience than positive. At this point, I don't think it's even close. The kids have really benefited from the parents' decision to do the show. They were in a bad way materially before they accepted the offer (or sought it out.) I just think the stress level at that home with Jon having trouble keeping a job with medical benefits would have been awful. I can see why Kate thinks it is the answer to her prayers. I believe her.

Anyway, I wouldn't watch if I thought it was exploitation. Child porn, slave labor, using children as drug runners, that's exploitation. This isn't close and I don't think it qualifies.

Saint said...

OK, Guin, it looks like we were on the same wave length about the material benefits to the kids.

I would encourage anyone who hasn't read "Multiple Blessings" to give it a try and read from the perspective of a woman with an out-of-work husband, who seems doomed to be dropped from employment when he signs his large, medically risky family up for benefits. I found that the very personality traits that Kate displays that turn me off, really served her well when she was handling her pregnancy and the tups first year.

Paula said...

I could not watch any show that I considered exploitive to children. If I felt that strongly about a show I would find altrnative ways to combat the effects. Watching a show to gather evidence doesn't make sense because IMO you are contributing to the exploitation. If no one watched the show would'nt be one the air. It is that simple.

Saint said...

Actually, no I think the G's would prefer that all the blogs go away...even the nice ones.

I would love to "nose poke" around the Gosselin living room after bedtime to hear just what Kate and Jon really say. I wonder if they even bother with any blog reading anymore. I believe that Jon did a while back, before they had their business irons in the fire. But I doubt they bother today. Who could stand it? You may be right, Fiona. But they may be grateful for the pro-Gosselin blogs because it encourages the "fans."

SamanthaNC said...

OK, I do think the Gosselin kids are being exploited by their parents. I don't think it is OK. I also watch LPBW, The Duggars and Toddler and Tiaras at times, but do not feel as strongly about those shows.

I'm not attacking your statement- I'm just commenting so take it for what its worth (which may be very little). I don't understand how anyone could find the Gosselins exploitive and find Toddlers and Tiars less so.

These people spray tan their tiny children, color and coif their hair, paint their nails, apply more makeup than most grown women wear, fake lashes, clip on teeth, make them sit for what I would imagine to be long periods of time to be made to look like women rather than little girls. They have to practice smiling, walking, and "talent". Sometimes it seems to border on obsession. They are paraded around in clothes that are often inappropriate- at least to me, and judged on who is cutest for money and crowns. This is what seems like exploitation to me.

merryway said...

Kate is on Larry King tonight. It's on the same time as their show. Here's the blurb and the link. I just now logged on and it was on my reader. Talk to everyone later.

“Why all the outrage? Mother of sextuplets - TLC star Kate Gosselin joins Larry with her point of view! Plus, the man who decided the fate of Anna Nicole's body. Judge Larry Seidlin, with two special surprise guests! “

http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/larry.king.live/

Heather said...

Very excited about Larry King! I have four shows on at once - One Tree Hill, The Closer, Jon and Kate and now Larry King - and my DVR only tapes two!!

As for watching if you think it is exploitation, I don't understand why they WANT to watch it. I do not watch shows I don't like. Everyone at work loves the Batchelor but I am embarrased for those girls when I watch, so I don't.

Their little blog is doing nothing for child advocacy so the point about watching to blog is silly. Jon and Kate will end the show when they want to, or when ratings decline - which I don't see happening.

I have no problem with anything I've seen on the show and don't begrudge them their fame. It comes with being on tv!

FIONA said...

Sam,

I am just not vested in those other shows as part of my entertainment. I didn't say that I thought Toddlers and Tiaras was ok, but I can only bitch about so much.

For the record, I think pageantry for kids is hideous. I do not condone it. I think the mother's are probably all whack jobs.

Guinevere said...

Yeah, Fiona, if you say that you don't think exploiting children is morally wrong, then I think it's likely I'm not going to be able to understand where you are coming from on the issue. Fair enough.

Saint said...

Clip on teeth???

SamanthaNC said...

Yes they pop in the front of their mouths, and look perfect and straight and blindingly white, and bigger than baby teeth. Creepy.

Saint said...

Bleh!

Saint said...

The only pageant I have seen for little kids is "Little Miss Sunshine" and it was hilarious. I loved it...but I think they were making the same point everyone here was...it's all so ridiculous.

Macenzie said...

Is it okay to watch the show for entertainment purposes if you believe it’s exploitive? No, if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Watching is supporting.

Do you believe the argument that a large number of people watch simply to further their efforts to bring the show to an end? Yes, I do, but that doesn't make it right. If one believes the kids need an advocate, you would not need to continue to watch in order to validate your belief.

Would you watch a television show that you believed was exploiting children? No, that is why I quit watching Jon and Kate plus 8. Too many episodes, too much media exposure and it's too contrived for me. They are compared to LPBW (don't see the similarities at all), Toddlers and Tiaras (haven't watched but that subculture is wacky) and Nanny 911 (these kids are filmed for one week of their lives).

FIONA said...

Yeah, Fiona, if you say that you don't think exploiting children is morally wrong, then I think it's likely I'm not going to be able to understand where you are coming from on the issue. Fair enough.

February 2, 2009 5:13 PM

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That is not what I said...you have twisted my words...whatever. It doesn't matter if we disagree.