Biri Bizi Gözetliyor – “Big Brother” Turkey Edition

 

In “Biri Bizi Gözetliyor”,  the Turkish version of the popular reality show “Big Brother”, contestants are put into the same household where they spend most to all of their time and all of their actions are monitored by the cameras in the house. In order to “win” the game, participants must be able to continue living in the house through the weeks without being voted off. Of course, these people are carefully selected individuals who have no fear of creating drama, and as they are forced to inhabit the same small space for quite a long time, drama is indeed created. Fights, scandals and relationships between contestants are the focal points of the show and the audience is meant to feel like they have a peephole through which they can look into lives of complete strangers – whom, later on, they come to share a “bond” with. This show plays upon the curious human nature where others and their lives interest us, whether with the purpose of comparison or for simply curing boredom. However, the show also reveals something about the Turkish culture as well, how communal it actually is. It is no secret that Turkish culture favours communities instead of individuals, but the fact that “Biri Bizi Gözetliyor” had record breaking ratings shows just how involved people seek to be with others. Almost  no objections were risen regarding the violation of private life and overall, people seemed to be nothing but content to get a peek of others’ lives. This might be the consequence of the contradiction between how the traditional Turkish culture represents a household and the way it is actually seen on the show. As unspoken rules dictate, people are expected to be polite to each other and do their best to conceal whatever issues they might be having to not seem rude. However, when people are observed fighting and committing all sorts of acts that are deemed unethical, this “scandalous life” is sure to draw attention from the viewers. The fact that people actually get a say in who gets to remain in this artificial world through their votes makes it even more appealing. Overall, due to its shocking and exposing ways, “Biri Bizi Gözetliyor” portrays aspects of the Turkish culture that even we fail to admit to ourselves.

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