When I was in high school, Gossip Girl was the show every girl in my grade was watching. My friend Julie and I would discuss every headband worn, every party attended, and every scheme gone wrong the day after the episode aired. It was our drug. And of course, there was no greater topic to analyze than the relationship of Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass. Every time it seemed like these two got it together, some crazy event would happen that would break them apart again (including, but not limited to, Chuck getting shot, Blair getting pregnant by a prince, and Chuck accidentally on purpose killing his father). My 16year-old suburban brain ate it up. How glamorous, how cool, how New York!
My next obsession came in the form of a little show named Sex & The City. (as you guys know by now) I started watching the show in college, as I was much too young to watch when it originally aired (I was 11 when the show ended in 2004). Yet again, I was sucked into another complex and crazy relationship. Big got married! Then he was cheating on his wife with Carrie! Then Carrie moved to Paris with that Russian guy when she really wanted to be with Big! Then in the Sex & The City movie, Big left Carrie at the altar. But it was all ok in the end because he got her a really big closet. *swoon*. I often half joked about finding my own Big, all while erasing all mentions of all of the crappy stuff he did.
The last straw came in the form of a book. A bestselling book. A book that launched a movie series, it’s own S&M kit, and inspired housewives all around the globe. You know what I’m talking about. 50 Shades of Grey. I started reading the book during my junior year of college and I could not have been more enthralled with the mysterious Christian Grey. I wanted him. I needed him. I deserved him. But then I read the other two books. And let’s just say, I started singing a different tune. Christian wouldn’t let Ana go out with her friends. Christian wouldn’t let Ana get drunk if she wanted to. Christian didn’t even trust Ana enough to go visit her own mother without barging in on the trip. Was this love? Was this what little girls should be dreaming of? Was this what ANYONE should be dreaming of?
As recent college grad who still doesn’t know what exactly a 401k is, I don’t claim to know everything about love. But what these shows and books depicted as love often isn’t healthy or happy. How many times did we see Ana, Carrie, and Blair weeping over their men, only to go back to them after a shrug of the shoulders and a cocktail. My request of all women? Let’s demand more. Demand more from your significant others. Demand more from the producers and writers that release these films and books. We deserve characters that treat each other like human beings, not rag dolls without emotion. Love doesn’t hurt. And it shouldn’t have to.
Photo credit – Eonline