As long as I could remember I could identify with a lot of the character. Daria Morgendorffer, because of the various situations she is confronted with. Being a teenager has proven to torturous in nature because of the struggling with identity, that lovely thing called "puberty", and of course, the superficial personalities that people shed. But not only is this good advice from teenagers and college students, but also within the real world as well. Maybe Daria can show us a more of what to expect within reality, and most importantly to not always take things as face value.
In one of my favorite episodes, the first episode in season 3, Daria's mom talks her into getting contact lenses so that she can see better when driving. Of course, this topic makes Daria uncomfortable, but thinking at the same time. The word "vanity" comes up quite often in the episode. She feels because she has contact lenses, she is conceited and she does want to care about how she looks, but in truth she does. It doesn't help that her peers and teachers single her out, and automatically jump to the conclusion that Daria is "letting her peers get more closer to her". This is just another instance where the teachers take everything at face value and do not truly try to understand her apprehension about who she really is. Even though it is just another phase in life, getting contacts or wearing glasses truly means that that Daria is still trying to understand herself.
In another episode, (season 2 I think, but I lost track after binging the series in one entire day). At school, there is a "legendary" football star alumni that is set to give a speech, but that very same day, he dies from an unfortunate lighting accident. Right before he died, Daria confronted him because he was sexually harassing her friend Brittany. Daria comes to her rescue and tells him that he is a creep and should not be hitting a younger girls. He proceeds to call her an outcasted freak and goes on his way.
Only Brittany and Daria know about what happened in the hallway, so everyone else is mourning the loss of the football legend. Daria doesn't and her friends think her selfish and dark for not. But Daria brings up a good point though. Daria didn't know him personally, so why should she feel utterly sad because of his death? Granted she knows she should feel bad, but given the situation just before, she doesn't feel sad for him.
Death is a difficult topic to talk about anyway because none of us truly understand it. Daria is dealing with the death in her own way and her best friend Jane, doesn't seem to understand why Daria's behavior is so cavalier. I get Daria. We understand that she feels bad about the death, but at the same time, she has no personal connection, which makes her feel she should feel bad. In truth, you should only feel what you feel.
3. The Public School System
This seems to be an occurring theme, which is the holes in the public school system. Within every episode it seems that Daria tries to explain herself and her reasoning for feeling the way she feels or doing things a certain way. Mr. O'Neil and her principal are common players in why Daria feels cynical, because they just assume her reasoning just so they can feel as if they made an impact on Daria instead of asking her in depth questions and getting to know why she is cynical. The public school system takes most topics at face value and don't try to solve the issues that happen on school grounds. There is a fine line about what is the teacher's responsibilities and what are the parent's responsibilities, but a lot of issues that happen at home, are often taken to school as well.
On the other hand, the teachers do understand what Daria is talking about, but they don't want to come to terms with the changing social standards of today's modern teenager. Maybe they feel if they either ignore it or place the problem on something else so they can be given a false sense of hope and be able to feel as if they actually helped solve the problem. Students see teachers as mentors, but often teachers don't take the time to understand what it going on so the student can actually feel welcome in their own school.
Daria'a family is quite the quirky one. Jake and Helen Morgandorffer are trying to be supportive of both Daria and Quinn, and it is obvious that they are loving parents and try their best to do what is right by their daughters. Obviously as teenagers, its easier to see the parents as "the ones who don't understand". Granted, this is common within today's youth culture, and even as young adults being thrown into the real world, we want to see out situation as different from out family's. But that isn't always true. Daria may not identify closely with her parents, but she does confide in them for advice even if they don't always understand. Being a parent, it must be hard to try to understand your kids as teenagers because they sometimes want to separate themselves from their parents.
Family should always be the ones to confide in, even if they don't always see eye to eye. I sure as hell scared my parents as a teen just because of being a teenager, a girl, and adding listening to death metal and my best friends being primarily guys. But that didn't change the fact that they never stopped loving me, and supporting what made me happy. This concluded in me confiding in them because we both trusted each other. Family will always have your back, even when it doesn't seem like they always do.
5. Being Open & Honest With Yourself
This isn't always easy as a teenager because they don't always know how to be honest with themselves either. It is not easy growing up, especially in a society as warped as today's. Young men and women are held to higher standards of beauty, saving money for college, and practically working full time jobs in high school to try and make money for themselves to get them through school. Life is not easy, and most of us learn that the hard way, but as corny as this statement may sound, as long as you have friends, like Daria has Jane, Trent, and her Aunt Amy. Even cynical and pessimistic girls likes Daria have a hard time finding their niche in society, but maybe the message she is sending is that maybe instead of always trying to fit into society, to just embrace yourself as you are and be confident that people will like you for your depth instead of taking you at face value. Never forget who you are, and believe in yourself. Words from MTV's most cynical teenager.