Media presenting more vulgar, offensive material

Brylee Huber, News Editor

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   There have always been controversial topics in the media, but has it gotten even more vulgar?

   In 2018, Sandy Hook elementary, the site of one of the worst school shootings in US history, came out with a commercial about going “back to school.”

   It starts out with a few kids talking about their new supplies like backpacks and colored pencils, but it quickly takes a dark turn.

   There are images of kids crying, bleeding, and screaming, all the while acting like their new school supplies are helping them survive an attack.

   The general message of this commercial was supposed to show the terrors of school shootings, but the video featured no trigger warnings for actual survivors of such attacks, and it displayed on Youtube and other sources where young kids had easy access to it.

   This phenomenon is not reserved for commercials, though. Many popular TV shows have these same issues not being addressed.

   13 Reasons Why is one of the most talked about examples, and that is for good reason. This is a show about suicide, but it is not talked about in a helpful manner. Instead, it is romanticized and portrayed as revenge to all of the people who the main character, Hannah Baker, saw as her reason to commit suicide.

   It also makes it seem like there is an answer after someone kills his or her self.

   The main plot of the show is for other main character, Clay, to listen to audio tapes Hannah recorded before she committed suicide.

   Since it has an ending, it makes it seem like there was a solution to Hannah Baker’s suicide, but, like in real-life, she was not coming back.

   The show also does not consider any prevention methods. It talks about why Hannah killed herself, but it does not show many, if any, people trying to get help.

   Elana Premack Sandler, a licensed psychologist and writer on Psychologytoday.com agrees, “13 Reasons Why doesn’t show what people can do to help prevent a suicide death.”

   There are many examples of vulgar work in music, books, and even posters, but since TV shows are usually the most influential to teenagers, I’m going to talk about a common romance trope that is only growing more and more popular. It is the main character, usually a girl, who ends up with the “bad guy.”

   We were guilty for a long time for loving these kinds of relationships. The pretty, smart girl helps a sad and rude guy learn how to love himself, but this is actually incredibly toxic to both girls and boys.

   One of the most blatant examples of this trope is Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries.

   We absolutely loved this show and we always found ourselves rooting for these two, but we had to stop ourselves multiple times to realize what we were watching.

   Damon killed many people and treated a lot of people like they meant nothing to him, but even we found ourselves still idolizing him.

   We fully believe that people deserve second chances and forgiveness, but since this relationship dynamic became so popular, TV show and movie writers are using it carelessly in young adult media.

   When girls see this, they could see it as romantic to spend their time taking care of and changing the person they’re with. When young boys see this, they could take it as a sign that it’s okay to be rude and selfish because someone will forgive it.

   This isn’t just an idea we have, though. Many people have gone to the internet to share their concerns.

   One such person is a blogger who simply goes by Rachel. “They are sexist and controlling and dangerous and unpredictable and (most importantly) they will not and can not be changed by the love of a good woman – and it’s not our job as women to change them. That’s not on us, and the idea that it should be is gross and damaging.”

   Note: We do not believe that only men are portrayed this way, but there are very few examples of the situation being reversed, so we are using the information and evidence we have.

   All in all, media has a very important role in people’s lives, so it should be a lot more of a priority for creators to make sure that what they’re putting into people’s heads isn’t toxic and vulgar.

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