Here's a new year's resolution everyone should've taken into account more than all the mindful journaling and weight loss goals: a cease on the mindless romanticisation of everything.
Romanticism is a movement that originated in 18th century Europe and refers to the widespread practice of glorifying past experiences by addressing them as "inspirational".
It's basically how our collective perception of aestheticism in today's "hashtag era" was birthed.
But in recent times, it seems that we've taken the movement too far. We're now regarding one of the worst pandemics in history, the coronavirus outbreak, as a blessing which has allowed us to reconnect with our loved ones and our long-forgotten passions.
Here's why it's not cool.
If I acknowledge the quarantine protocols to be blissful, it's because I'm privileged enough to do so. The idea that the quarantine is a blessing, that it's an opportunity to engage in different hobbies or to catch up on favourite television shows, may be true for some of us, but it's only applicable from a position of a substantial degree of privilege. Not everyone has a job that allows them to work from home. Many occupations require hands-on work that can't be carried out through means of electronic devices. The quarantine itself can act as life-threatening for people of low income.
That's just one of the many examples of romanticisation taken too far. As the inherently supportive audience of mainstream movies and books, we often overlook the problematic representation of sensitive issues such as war, unfounded phobias, toxic relationships fraught with abuse and stalker behaviour, sexual harassment, mental health disorders, etc.
Too much to take in? It's only the tip of the iceberg.
Here's what's too much: Colleen Hoover being hailed as a feminist icon, despite romanticising abusive relationships. Hoover's not the first writer to glorify toxic relationships and abusive behaviour. Before her, there were 'critically acclaimed' (read: falsely glorified) writers like Junot Diaz who were showered with praise for works like the short story collection This Is How You Lose Her, depicting a misogyny-laden narrative. In the fictional worlds created by Hoover and Diaz, women who put up with abuse from their significant others, do so because they're madly in love.
Here's what's also too much: An entire movie industry, quite possibly one of the world's largest, leaving no stone unturned from justifying pedophilic behaviour to religious prejudice, and actually getting away with it. It's Bollywood, no surprises there. There's nothing quite as disturbing as the realisation that you grew up equating sexual harassment and stalker behaviour to romantic gestures, or accepting overzealous nationalism as the only expression of patriotism.
Here's another thing that's also too much: people treating mental health disorders like OCD and depression, as aesthetics. If you feel the need to fake scars as part of a "depressive theme", you've never suffered from depression, you're just unabashedly ignorant. If not having the perfect cup of lukewarm drink messes with your mood, you do not have OCD, you're just a perfectionist.
Seriously, stop looking to justify non-justifiable behaviour, tragic calamities, and unwarranted violence. We can be better than this.
Rasha Jameel is an overzealous Ravenclaw who often draws inspiration from mundane things such as memes. Send her your memespirational thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org