Did The Media Set Us Up To Be Abused?

Did The Media Set Us Up To Be Abused?

It's probably not passion
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I grew up in the age of Twilight, where everyone was either team Edward or team Jacob. The team Jacob girls were ostracized, compared to their team Edward counterparts. Although I've been lucky enough to never have been in an abusive relationship I've always wondered if we have been set up to think the wrong thing about relationships.

I remember reading the books, I remember feeling off. This sentiment was not shared by most of my friends. It wasn't until much later in my life I realized why the whole Bella, Edward romance really confused and upset me. It was an abusive relationship. What scares me the most is that most of my peers never noticed this and continually romanticize this type of relationship. Now, I don't want to pick apart Twilight and tell you exactly everything wrong with the relationships in the movie, mainly because it's been done before but also because it isn't the only example of dating violence in the media.

Think about the relationships you see depicted in any TV show you watch. Now think about what you know about domestic violence. Relationships where men are possessive are highlighted, arguments are a sign of a passionate relationship, men treating their wives as property. You don't have to look far to find these characteristics.

Now don't think I'm going around criminalizing men, in my experience I've witnessed a lot of dating violence coming from women to their boyfriends or husbands. If you've spent any time in a high school you've probably seen a girl slap her boyfriend, you've probably seen a few girls slap their boyfriends. This type of behavior has been normalized through shows like Degrassi.

I often question why this is considered normal, but what is truly important to understand is that the normalization of women slapping men does not bode well for our views of domestic violence. Men are scared to come out that they are being abused, catching themselves into a constant cycle of violence. As someone who fights for equal rights this power dynamic cannot be ignored. We are trapping men in abusive relationships because both men and women have learned that partner violence is only important if it's coming from men to women.

The kinds of psychological warfare that's been depicted in the media has made an impact on our relationships. We are entering relationships under the impression that our relationships are passionate and healthy. If you think that your partner is abusing you, and this might be hard to read, they probably are. There is a difference between an incompatible relationship and an abusive relationship, and unfortunately we are not taught to notice the distinctions. If you think you or one of your friends is in an abusive relationship speak up, get help. Abuse is not acceptable in any relationship, let me say that again, abuse is not acceptable in any relationship, one more time for the people in the back, ABUSE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN ANY RELATIONSHIP.

Cover Image Credit: A Medium Corporation

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.

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Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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