Movies – they’re everywhere. On TV, Netflix, Hulu, and of course, in theaters.
During any holiday season, the amount of movies that come into theaters doubles. We all know that most of the romantic movies come out around or on Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the entire year. Couples, groups, and singles will flock to the movie theater, anxious to see the latest in romantic comedies and dramas. But young, single girls will attend these movies, eager to get their dose of romance that has probably not yet been fulfilled. This means that the romance in movies influences the way young teens see relationships.
If a twelve year old girl goes the movie theater with her friends, and sees an attractive, charming young man wooing a beautiful woman, they will begin to fantasize about the day when that will happen to them. We’ve all done it. Wondered when ‘the one’ will come around to sweep us off our feet. But it is how these movies show supposedly healthy, romantic relationships that can get young girls into trouble.
Take the movie “Endless Love”, set to come out on Valentine’s Day this year. An innocent young girl becomes enamored with a much older man, who has a hidden past and encourages her to do things that could get her into trouble. This movie is advertised as “romantic,” “the best love story of the year,” and other exciting reviews. Even the trailer was enough for me to see that this movie is not a good example of a healthy relationship for young girls.
The words “Say goodbye to innocence” flash across the screen, between steamy scenes of the girl and her much older boyfriend kissing, running around in fields full of flowers, and riding in the back of his pickup truck. If you were a young girl, wouldn’t you believe that this was what a good, romantic relationship looked like?
Romantic movies give girls unrealistic expectations of what they should want in a relationship, and also shows them that dangerous traits (like the fact that the older man in Endless Love has a history of domestic violence charges) can be overlooked “if you’re truly in love with someone.”
In TERA, we see girls (and boys, too) that come in hurt and broken from relationships they thought were perfect, and often times this is because of the romantic movies they watched as young teenagers, eating popcorn and giggling with their friends. It’s very important to be careful with what your young teenager goes to see, because those movies can fill their heads with unrealistic and scary images of things that they will believe to be completely normal.
Written by Emma Harris, Peer Educator