How media lies to you about what love is
At the expense of sounding like a salty old person complaining about the advent of technology into the nooks and crannies of our daily lives, I will say that digital advancements have probably brought more harm than good in our abilities to form and maintain romantic relationships.
Growing up, the only exposure I got to the concept of romance came through old Hollywood films or Indian soap operas that dominated the evenings of my household. When I got a bit older and had more agency over the media I consumed, this was later replaced with Instagram reels and TikToks.
Very few families have open discussions with their children about building and maintaining relationships – whether they be romantic or platonic. And when we're chucked out into the real world, we have to deal with the consequences by making mistakes and getting traumatised in love.
Even outside the boundaries of our South Asian context, the general projection of romance across media unfairly prioritises the process of falling in love while blindsiding the part of being in it.
Even the Disney films that graced our childhoods followed the formulaic storyline of "guy gets the girl and then it's happily ever after". Most movies to this day follow the same pattern, just portrayed through a modern lens. The entire point of such depictions centres around the "chase" and never what happens after the couple gets together.
No one really wants to watch two people working things out and ironing the wrinkles of a healthy relationship because that is boring, and most storytelling revolves around some sort of conflict. This is why it is unlikely for a long-term relationship to make an appearance in any form of media unless or until they're on the precipice of some kind of dilemma.
Most of the drawbacks we face when it comes to relationships are a direct result of our tendency to romanticise romance. So many of us get brainwashed by whatever we see on our screens and try to emulate it which leads to us caring about the situation only if it's passionate or attention-grabbing. There's also this general trend of our attention span getting shorter due to obvious reasons, and that often translates into the bonds we form with people.
It's not just movies though. Almost every platform now contains some amount of "relatable relationship situations" that is supposed to cater to non-fictional relationships. It's all neatly packed into seven seconds of content with little to no context. Such content perpetuates the notion that unless your significant other is indulging you in very specific romantic gestures, they're not the right fit.
They set a flimsy standard of what an ideal relationship should look like, and it all focuses on specific character traits such as how often the person you're with posts about you, whether they double text, and whether or not they know the sidewalk rule.
Doom-scrolling these reels become addicting. We fall into this solipsistic cycle and subscribe to the standard set by strangers on the internet but of course, we agree because 500,000 other people have liked it and all of them can't be wrong, right?
There are a lot of things in life we're not taught, and the complexities of relationships are one of them. It is unfortunate how so many of us learn to navigate love the hard way. So, the next time we're letting a reel or a movie distort our views on romance, it's important to remind ourselves that in the real world, love is something you nurture with patience and effort and not make a montage out of.
Koushin currently keeps 3 screens turned on in front of her to prevent the chance of a thought occuring. Replenish her fugitive attention span at [email protected]