Weirdly Arbitrary Study Finds People Who Watch Reality TV Are More Likely to Use Tanning Beds

When I was a senior in high school, my parents and I took a trip to Samoa to visit my uncle. In preparation, because I am essentially a cave salamander, my mom forced me to go to a tanning salon and get a "base" so that I wouldn't crisp like a tater-tot in the South Pacific sun. I crisped anyway, of course (this raw potato CANNOT BE TAMED!), but I did learn a lot about tanning beds. Mainly that they're small terrifying prisons that give you faint asymmetrical sunburns on stupid places like your butt and your ankles and do literally nothing to the rest of your skin. If you're me, anyway.

But I guess other people are pretty into them, which brings me to my favorite news item of all time (today) for its sheer delightful arbitrariness: A new study finds that reality TV fans are more likely to use tanning beds.

When researchers at Brooklyn College surveyed more than 600 young adults, they found that 13 percent of those who watched "beauty reality shows," like America's Next Top Model and Toddlers & Tiaras, also used tanning beds. In contrast, only 4 percent of non-watchers went tanning.

"We're not sure if reality TV encourages tanning, or if people who tan also gravitate to these shows in the first place," says study author Joshua Fogel, a professor of behavioral sciences at Brooklyn College.


I'm sure it's some combination of both—television is a powerful cultural influence and people love to watch television that reflects themselves. Culture reinforces culture. I could get up on some high horse about reality shows being a gauche, tacky pursuit, but what-the-fuck-ever because I will watch the hell out of some Top Model and Dance Moms (because that shit is GOOD), and I'd spend half a paycheck on a cut and partial foil if someone told me it'd make my eyes "pop." But I don't know—I guess there could be something to the idea that people who are invested in physical superficiality might also being drawn to superficial forms of entertainment. I have a feeling Snooki hasn't watched The Wire. In conclusion, everyone should watch what makes them happy and do whatever they want with their skin. Good day.

Reality TV fans more likely to use tanning beds [Today]

Photo credit: dotshock / Stockfresh.

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