High School Shows And Books That Were Unhealthily Glamorized

When I was writing my previous article, "10 Things I Wish I’d Known in High School," it made me think about all the unrealistic expectations there were when I was a freshman. A lot of my expectations came from movies and TV shows that took place in a high school setting. I wasn’t expecting people to burst out in a musical number like in High School Musical, it was more about the romanticized things, such as dating, getting my own car, having a clique of friends, prom, and so on. Because of the media emphasizing these things for teenagers, it’s hard to not expect that those are going to be the most magical years in your life. Maybe to some extent they were, and some of these movies are pretty harmless like High School Musical or The Breakfast Club.

However, there are some shows and books that I’ve found problematic that glamorize things that they shouldn’t have, and may have even personally affected me when I was a high schooler.

 

Teen Wolf

Teen Wolf was something I never really watched, but I remember seeing characters who were supposed to be freshman boys be in tip-top shape with hardcore six packs? One of my biggest pet peeves is when I see TV shows and movies where high schoolers are played by people who are attractive and in their twenties. I feel like it gives teenagers unrealistic expectations about their bodies when they’re still developing. And for fuck’s sake, high schoolers are minors. It makes me a little uncomfortable when TV shows try to make a character who is supposed to be fourteen sexy. Riverdale is also an example of this. Sure, the actors are adults, but does that still make it okay to sexualize characters who are in high school?

 

Pretty Little Liars

Another show that I feel like glamorizes the wrong thing is Pretty Little Liars with the student-teacher relationship. When I first saw the show I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. I thought Ari was just with someone who was more mature. Back then, I didn’t know how wrong it was for grown men to be dating underage girls, but this TV show gave me the sense that it was okay. I was only ten years old when the show came out in my defense, but I still shudder at the thought that I used to think those kinds of relationships are okay. Now at the age of nineteen I fully understand why it’s wrong for someone in their twenties to be dating someone who is sixteen. Back then in my sixteen year old mind, I thought I was grown up and more mature, but over the past few years, I realized that I was still a fucking kid, and so was Ari.

It doesn’t matter how mature Ari and Ezra may have thought they were for each other. Dating someone who is underage is never okay and should not be romanticized. It’s something that should be ostracized by society.

 

13 Reasons Why

Don’t even get me started on how fucked up 13 Reasons Why is. It’s pretty obvious on how they inaccurately represented mental illness and a whole lot more that shouldn’t have been on screen. Absolutely terrible and super dangerous to watch especially if you have experienced mental health issues.

 

John Green’s, “Looking for Alaska”

I enjoyed reading some of John Green’s books in high school, but looking back I feel like some of his books, such as “Looking for Alaska” romanticized unhealthy habits. Alaska was a character who I felt connected to. She had seen and been through some shit and was not a happy person because of it, but I felt like her character was romanticized a little too much, especially in her unhealthy habit of chain smoking. John Green romantically wrote about her smoking cigarettes in detail and how so cool and mysterious she was. I’m not saying that the reason I started smoking cigarettes in high school (which resulted in me being addicted to nicotine) is because of John Green, I’m saying that it’s a little weird how smoking cigarettes seemed to be a personality trait of hers, and anyone who was a rebellious kid. Just a thought.