Modern media depicts love in extremes, eliminating realistic middle ground

smouseFrom lyrics of songs that top the charts to movies that flood the box offices, pop culture often influences its audiences with subliminal messages. Recently, a theme of female independence has consumed the nation, placing the hopes of romance in two categories of extremes.

Audiences are captivated by TV shows and movies that paint the perfect love story. Recent hits like “Endless Love,” “Beautiful Creatures” and “Safe Haven” create ideal romances, following a stereotypical story of an all-engrossing love affair.

Shows such as ABC’s “The Bachelor” and MTV’s latest reality show “Are You The One?” pin strangers together, making the process of falling in love nothing more than a game. However, the motive to win is not based on compatibility, but rather a monetary prize.

 

 

“Love is a competition,” The Bachelor host Chris Harrison told The New York Times. “If you don’t think so, then you’re crazy, because why are you dressing up, why are you wearing those heels, why are you wearing that $400 perfume?”

However with the recent rise in “girl power,” this previous message is getting kicked to the curb. Recently, a video by the popular YouTube group AVbyte promotes the importance of female independence through Disney princesses, led by “Frozen” star Elsa.

“Why be confined to be hiding behind true love,” the video says. “Please understand, you don’t need a man.”

However, neither of these viewpoints are healthy or realistic. The idea of love, just like every other part of life, must be put in balance with other personal goals and aspirations.

All-encompassing relationships often shelter individuals, limiting their personal growth and the growth of their partner. However, abandoning the option of developing a relationship is just avoiding a challenge that many are afraid to face, resulting in nothing more than a cop-out.

Unfortunately, these opposing ideas are key themes in most modern entertainment. Relationships are constantly built on this notion of all-or-nothing, providing little faith to those who seek a balanced lifestyle.

“Continuing to defy odds as a gender is a key point in feminism,” Valerie Tejeda of Huffington Post said. “Feminism is about loosing constraints, empowering each other, and encouraging one another.”

A relationship should be empowering to both parties — rather than asserting some overbearing level of dominance or sense of independence, individuals must be willing to work together to create an environment of encouragement.

While I’m not saying a relationship is the key to happiness, the hopes of love should not be associated with such a negative connotation. An important factor of independence is the ability to make decisions that will benefit one’s own self-interest, regardless of the opinions of others.

Yet the tantalizing opinion of the extremes of modern media has eliminated this middle ground. Because of this lack of exposure, many overlook the possibility of having the best of both worlds.

Continuing a relationship, romantic or otherwise, is difficult but relies on a balanced sense of dependence and independence. Individual should think independently, but shouldn’t be afraid to rely on others to help discover aspects of themselves that may have gone unnoticed.

Reach the columnist at rsmouse@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @BeccaSmouse