The research questions guiding this study was: How is conflict portrayed on reality television? Specifically, this study analyzed how MTV’s reality television show The Real World: Portland portrayed same-sex, male-male and female-female, housemate conflict. The entire season was analyzed to gain insight on patterns or trends of conflict styles and subject matter of the conflicts. This study used the qualitative analysis of rhetorical criticism, specifically, fantasy theme analysis. The analysis provided two rhetorical visions for male and female conflicts: male-male conflict portrayed in The Real World: Portland was that males handle conflict in a short-lived, public view, shallow, and follow a competing-accommodating pattern; female-female conflict is that it is long-lived, deep, and follows an avoiding-competing-accommodating pattern. The conclusions of this study were the portrayal of males in conflict perpetuated dominant gender ideologies, females were portrayed in an oppositional way to dominant gender ideologies, and The Real World: Portland portrayed conflict in a negative way.


Johnson, Michelle


Communication Studies


Broadcast and Video Studies | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


conflict, reality television

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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