Toxcity in Media


Photo Credit: Teen Vogue

Character from Euphoria, depicting the elements of toxicity.

Zoe Barkhurst, Reporter


     Media is one of the most impactful things amongst our society. It shapes us, affects the way we think, as well as  how we view ourselves and how we view the world. Media comes in many forms; it’s used for advertising ideas, companies, and political views, it also comes in forms of social platforms and of course, television. Television relationships and personas are displayed in a way that is unrealistic and considered to be perfect, having an effect on the way teenagers view themselves. Twenty five year old actors are cast as highschoolers, displaying them to look mature, rather than realistic teenagers.  In a lot of current TV shows high school is displayed with a few characters being the “top tier” and “popular kids” they are always displayed as mean and arrogant characters. This is unrealistic and does not display the honesty of a high school setting. 

Many movies and television shows fail to include the LGBTQ+ community in their films, ignoring a huge part of our community. Meanwhile amongst other media such as social platforms this is a very accepting and widespread way to include all members of our community. Television and film are developing but still carry toxicity in many forms. Relationships are also displayed in a dystopian way convincing young people that pedophilia, abuse, and violence should be normalized. 

For example in the HBO original show “Euphoria” a revolutionary show that made its way to millions of viewers, set forth a normalization of violence and abuse among relationships. This was physical and mental, and was shown through a relationship that held secrets, lies, and was centered around control and power. This show also displayed the honesty of life for teenagers and was very raw and real in some senses, but very fictional in others. Viewers saw this as normal, and strived to live like these fictional characters. This was one of my favorite shows because of the fact that it presented the brutal truth of problems faced amongst young people, sadly this also brought out an unrealistic, and devastating fantasy about relationships. So in a way this television show was bittersweet.

As well as violence and abuse another thing romanticized in media is pedophilia. This is shown in ways you wouldn’t think twice about in films, such as the twilight series. This was an ultimate romance that made an impact on millions of people. Two men chasing after a young girl, one being decades older than her. He watched her sleep, he chased for her because he couldn’t urge a resistance. This was disguised as love, but really arrayed a sense of pedophilia and brought to life the idea of hopeless romanticism. Media hides and disguises reality bringing to life fictional concepts, putting morally wrong fantasies into the minds of young people, depicting dystopian propositions. While bringing to life the harsh realities of society, it is masking the underlying issues faced.