Fiction versus reality

The media today continues to create unrealistic expectations on high school relationships

Elias Moura, Staff Writer

Walking down the hall, you are met by strange glances and inquiries. Whispers follow your every move until you run into a hard chest. Falling from the impact, the books you were holding fall to the ground. As you slowly reach to pick them up, a warm hand slightly grazes yours and you find yourself mesmerized by a stunning pair of blue eyes.
Students typically have a preconceived idea of what high school will be like long before beginning it. Whether it be from books, the experience of friends and family members or even from teachers constantly repeating how hard it will be.
Movies and television shows are arguably the biggest influence. Often, it is portraying high school as a highly eventful place with never-ending drama, sex and romance.
In television shows and movies, nerds are bullied, jocks are dumb, and the cheerleaders rule the school. These are the typical American high school archetypes that teens are most familiar with, due to the influence of the media.
Popular shows and movies like Glee, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, High School Musical, Clueless, 90210, Gossip Girl and Mean Girls perpetuate the typical high school archetypes.
These teenage films have amplified teens’ unrealistic expectations, affecting teens’ thought process that there is some level of truth to it all.
The love lives of today’s teenagers are dramatized on the big screen, influencing students’ belief that they need to have boyfriends or girlfriends like Zac Efron or Shailene Woodley.
These dramatizations also lead to unrealistic expectations of your significant other. By following these norms, students are expected to lead idealistic relationships.
Junior Tiyo Kebede, a movie enthusiast, recognized the effects that the media had played on her high school expectations prior to attending.
“Upon arriving to high school, I felt pressured to immediately find someone because of all the teen movies and television shows I watched,” Kebede said. “The new girl always had to find the super popular and cute guy to fall in love with her.”
Despite enjoying all genres, Kebede’s favorite and most watched is teen drama. However, she feels that teen movies have misled her on what high school would be like due to the dramatic plots.
“The media today dictates so much of our world, including relationships,” Kebede said. “It portrays all different types of relationships: unrequited love, forbidden love and passionate love.”
One movie that gave Kebede a distorted view on how teenagers interact is Robert Iscove’s 1999 film, She’s All That. The film is a romantic comedy: a cheerleader leaves a popular upperclassman boy for a college male. Thus, embarrassing him in front of the entire school. To enact his revenge and keep his reputation, he attempts to date the high school nerd.
“[I’d] watch movies and see all these people who are supposedly my age, only care about how popular they are and how much sex they’re having,” Kebede said.
Life is not Glee, where mean cliques will go around shoving their classmates in lockers or throwing slushies at innocent bystanders.
In reality, everyone is kind and supportive of each other, even the kids with “nerdy” hobbies and tendencies. These include playing with Rubik’s cubes, playing tennis, and participating in IB classes.
High schoolers are supposed to be filled with hormones and awkwardness, but not everyone is living a drama-filled relationship and getting pregnant.
It is time to stop relying on the media and begin living the exciting new chapter of our lives without the influence of the lies that were ingrained into us from an early age.