Girls love reality television the way that guys (and girls) love sports. While guys may enjoy the unscripted genre too, many girls -- myself included -- have a passion for reality shows that "Survivor" contestants can't even compete with. Here's why we give reality the final rose.
1. The shows are competitive...
The stars don't have to be competing for money, or even for a man, because everyone on a reality show is competing to be the most interesting, hated, likable, or compelling, ultimately to get the most screen time. Every tactic from backstabbing to streaking is used in this attention-seeking war, and that level of social game is irresistible.
2. ...and manipulative
Everyone likes being manipulative when it gets us what we want, but seeing this exaggerated on reality TV reminds us it's a bad look, while satisfying our craving for a little conniving behavior. (Ironically, we too are being manipulated by the producers, directors and -- yep -- writers, so it's not our fault we love it so much.)
3. Voyeurism can be fun
Watching people when you feel like you're not supposed to has always been a guilty pleasure. In the Journal of Media Psychology, Dr. Lemi Baruh distinguishes "nosy voyeurism" (like watching reality TV) from the more pathological, sexual form of voyeurism. Simply put, watching "Naked and Afraid" doesn't make you a legitimate Peeping Tom, just a girl with a television.
4. They give us new friends to hate on
The impulse to talk behind someone's back isn't always a character flaw. Research shows that our brains are wired for critical gossip. It's not our fault; it's evolution's. If the urge weren't normal, "fremeny" wouldn't be a word in the Oxford Dictionary!
Reality shows give us people to talk about behind their backs (unless it's on social media), as if they were our friends, and it's a nice way to give our real friends a break.
5. The drama and gossip are infinite
Legal scandals, family feuds and Twitter wars all ensure that our favorite shows never stop; if anything, they just get spinoffs. There's always plenty of drama to binge on. Us gals sometimes aren't great about letting go, and with reality TV, we don't have to.
6. We can multitask
Unlike dramas, reality shows don't require your undivided attention to enjoy them. For women, the ability to do other things while watching television may be a part of the appeal, because we're better at multitasking, according to a recent study in the Journal of Biomedical Science Science. If I only watched "Law & Order: SVU," my laundry would never get folded.
7. They make us feel better about ourselves
While characters on scripted shows can make us feel inadequate, girls look to reality TV for reassurance. Not only does the genre depict real people sometimes not wearing makeup, it showcases all kinds of human inadequacies. When Jessica Simpson asked if tuna was made out of chicken on "Newlyweds," we all laughed but also recognized our own countless moments of "OMG, what did I just say?"
Taking comfort in the fact that you're not a Real Housewife, Bachelor contestant or Dance Mom doesn't make you a hater -- it makes you a fan, just like the rest of us.