By: Alexa Di Palermo
Sometimes I find it hard to have pride in our generation. We have achieved many great things: like being technology masters, advancing medical research, and making cool inventions that make life easier. But at what cost did we make media people’s most reliable source? What does this do to our children and teens?
In movies and television, things like abusive relationships, hook-up culture, addiction, gaslighting, and sexual assault seem to be romanticized to the point that many think that’s what love is, what it means, and that it’s supposed to happen in any relationship.
For example, in HBO Max’s Euphoria, people romanticize Cassie and Nate’s relationship. In season two episode one when Maddy was banging on the door, people thought it was cute that Nate helped Cassie fix her dress. But did we not forget that Nate was belittling her for crying and being scared moments before? Is how she was treated as an option after the fact still cute? Are we forgetting that Cassie ended up burning down all her bridges for this relationship? Is it still “cute?”
Euphoria does not necessarily romanticize drugs and addiction; I think their representation is accurate. But sometimes, to the younger generation, they let the show take over their personality and romanticize it themselves. They think it’s like an adventure… but it’s a struggle.
Or, in Degrassi, when Zoe gets raped and after her trial (which she wins), her trauma is never talked about or truly reflected upon again. We don’t see her struggle with anything besides the case. Realistically, it takes a long time to recover or even come forward to create a case about such things. She just went on with her life after. Trauma does not end when the trial ends.
Television series and movies are giving false impressions of toxic relationships. Romanticizing these situations puts people in positions to think that these situations are okay, so they are tolerated, and generated into a new normal while traumatizing people. It is important in these television shows to emphasize how not okay these situations are.
As a technology dominated group of adolescents and young adults, many of us can easily be impressionable. If audience members that are young and impressionable feel any sort of connection to a character or television show, they almost take on their personality traits, thinking that it’s cute or trendy. It’s not.
Social media also romanticizes eating disorders which makes me even more upset. They are not a trend; they are a struggle. But even now, they are still considered a trend to so many young girls who are ending up hospitalized. As a generation, why do we do this?
This also happens to younger children too when they play video games. If they play video games with killing or violence, they may think that it is fun and a normal part of life. I have seen children that I know grow up to be aggressive and violent people because they learned from their video games… and that’s scary.
I’ve seen parents try to overpower technology, but kids are addicted to it. They think everything about it is correct. For the future of my children and the children of those my age (and younger), I’m truly concerned. It may be a personal or moral thing, but I don’t want my future children to think these actions are just… okay.