I thought I'd seen everything that reality TV could throw at me...programs offering a platform to showcase hidden talent along with disillusioned wannabees we the viewers all love to mock and ridicule or B list celebrities thrown together in a tropical jungle facing their fears not just by wrestling with snakes and spiders but spending any length of time in close proximity with former "I'm a Celebrity get me out of here" contestant, Janice Dickinson would make chewing on kangaroo testicles as easy as eating marshmallows! Along with a multitude of other "fly on the wall" shows what next in the realm of so called "reality" TV?
"Once a prostitute always a prostitute" is not the title of a new reality show but the opinion of a male resident of Lusaka, Zambia in response to hearing about the new TV show which has been launched by Zambian TV to help "former" prostitutes find a husband. " it is very difficult for them to just change overnight" he concluded. What!!?? Faced with the prospect of a husband, roof over their heads and food in their mouths does this man really think a former prostitute would turn it down preferring to live a life thwart with danger, self loathing and shame?
"Ready for Marriage" is the new reality TV show which involves18 sex workers who stand to win a cash prize of $9000 and have their wedding paid for. They have been taken from the streets in different parts of the country and the program makers claim that "we want to make a difference to these women's lives. These are people after all". Really? Nothing to do with pretty much guaranteeing huge audience figures then? The viewers participate by voting off contestants every week. Those contestants get a consolation prize of $1000 - $1500 and help in finding a full time job so that they do not return to prostitution....very commendable.
But why a TV show? Why make a parody of a very serious issue with sensationalism if it's not for monetary gain? Exploiting these women's misfortune. What happens to all the other prostitutes not chosen? Are they lining up hoping to be picked for series 2 or 3, until then do they remain prostitutes in order to one day qualify?
Forget the camera, lights, action and lose the cabaret...if the sentiment was genuine then the TV company should donate money to set up a support network for these women. They could then film the progress and success stories.
And what of the potential husband? Is it a wife he's really looking for...??