Be Kind, Media Isn’t Real Life
The following article pertains to emotional abuse.
Books, movies, TV series, etc. have all changed and grown to fit the personalities of their generation. It’s only natural to expect the characters we’re seeing reflect the behaviors of us. Or, are we reflecting their behaviors? Who knows?
A growing trend in the entertainment world is the emotional abuse of a partner, a friend, a child, or any form of relationship. We see it on TV or the movies, so it’s how we’re supposed to act, right? An example is on HBO’s Euphoria. Nate and Maddy have a lustful relationship that’s described as “loving in their way.” Yet, Nate tells Maddy what she can and can’t wear. He controls her. She controls him with her lies. We see this as “love,” according to the view of our teenage narrator.
Comedy shows and adult cartoons are another two prime examples of emotional abuse. Family Guy is a very well-known series. The characters gang up and pick on Meg’s character regularly. They all mock each other. Stewie and Brian have a friendship based on lying and insulting one another.
In Two and a Half Men, Charlie and Alan were brothers. Charlie would berate Alan until the point Charlie passed on. Spoiler alert? Not sorry. Charlie was a drunken, emotionally abusive, manipulative character. They portrayed it as a comedy, but where was the comedy in it?
These are just three specific examples. If I were to list every example of an emotionally abusive character in a TV series, a book, or a movie, this would go on for days. What is the driving force behind this? Picking at your loved ones is one thing, when it’s all in good fun, of course.
What the media has been showing us isn’t just making fun or making jokes, it is emotional abuse. There are a few instances where it can be “funny.” Sure, but what happens when it goes too far? What should we do when people believe that is the way they’re supposed to treat their loved ones or anyone else?
A loved one deserves to feel safe, comfortable, happy, and at ease. When a person walks into a room, and people berated them for what they’re wearing or what they’ve done, that isn’t loving. That kind of treatment is psychologically damaging to the individual.
Many people don’t recognize emotional abuse; they’ll say it’s a joke. It might have been a joke, but that joke could weigh on the victim’s mind.
People have suffered, at one time or another, from rumination of jokes. They lie in bed at night, going through their day, then the “joke” pops into their mind, and the wheels turn. It won’t stop, there’s not an off button. What if that’s the way they feel? Is that how they see me? Is that what I come across as? Of course not, it was a joke. I’m overreacting.
Another thing that’s frequently said, “It was a joke, and you’re overreacting.” Something that is a joke to you may not be a joke to another person. It may not be exactly what you meant it to be. It was on TV, though, and this is what we see. This is what we’ve become.
We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that tormenting, picking on people, and “tough love” are the way to go. It can’t always be the direction you choose. There’s got to be another way to go about things. When someone is picked on regularly, it has the potential to destroy their self-image. No one deserves to feel lesser — especially someone you love.
Remember, just because you’ve seen it somewhere else, doesn’t mean it’s all right to do to another person. Everyone is different, everyone has limits as to what they can take, and you never know when you might cross over the line. Remember: Be kind. You never know what another person is going through.