(Guilty) Viewing Pleasures and Reality TV: Queer Viewers Decoding the Greek Version of The Bachelor

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Despite their relatively long and successful course in the history of Greek private television, reality shows are generally cast under negative light. Given their engagement with topics pertaining more strictly to the private domain, TV realities have at different times been criticised as vulgar, superficial, and ‘low’ quality products (Deery, 2015; Hill, 2005; Lumby, 2003; Weber, 2014). Inspired by the feminist research tradition’s interest in audience studies and queer critical approaches to affect and minor aesthetic categories (Reid, 2022), this article explores how five queer women make sense of the Greek version of the popular reality show, The Bachelor (ALPHA, 2021-2022). Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s theory of (dis)orientation (2006), the article highlights the female viewers’ sense of empowerment, escapist fantasy, (dis)pleasures and frustrations as they relate with the text. Through disidentification (Muñoz, 1999), namely, these instances during which queer women viewers identify partially, conditionally and contingently—with dominant identities, discourses and ideologies endemic within the reality show, the paper unravels the complex dynamic of media consumption as well as guilty pleasure’s association with criticality and skepticism, tethered to the viewers’ taste, life experiences, and values.


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