Love in the Media vs. Real Life

love in the media

In a world connected through a plethora of screens, how do we tell the difference between what is reality and what is made for the movies? It comes as no surprise that the media has a huge impact on our society. We often base our wants and needs off of what we are viewing on our screens, and today we have plenty of them eagerly waiting for our attention. The reality is that the media has a huge impact on the way we act, think, look, and feel. With this said, one must wonder what it does to our perception of love.

From a very young age, girls grow up watching movies with a Prince Charming who is always there to swoop in on his white horse and save the day. Not once are we taught that it’s okay to be our own hero or that our prince might actually just be a frog or a foe. We’re taught that an attractive and charming man will come to our rescue and we’ll fall madly in love and live happily ever after. The end. But in real life, that is so not the end or even how the story plays out.

If you ask me, there is something wrong with the idea that we are teaching our young girls to not just want a man, but to need one. No girl or woman should need anyone but herself. We have to learn to love and accept who we are as an individual before we can ever devote ourselves or lean on another person.

Secondly, these movies are telling our young girls that their prince charming will be the most handsome creature this planet has ever beheld. But what about the other, normal guys? Not everyone is tall, dark , handsome, and dreamy, with washboard abs and a chiseled face with eyes so mysterious they feel like they’re penetrating your inner goddess. If we maintained this mindset, we’d easily be passing over a billion real princes that we’ve unfairly labeled as frogs.

The amount of time we spend with our noses planted in our various devises cut short the amount of time we spend interacting with one another. If we aren’t learning from each other, we’re forming and applying them to real life and basing them off of fiction or exaggerated reality. Let’s get realistic; guys aren’t going to hang off a Ferris wheel rung just to get you to agree to go on a date with you. (I’m referring to Noah from “The Notebook”.) That’s a little over the top.

Of course we all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to films that give us these ideas. You know exactly which ones I’m referring to. That one movie you’ve watched easily over a hundred times and it never gets old. You know every line, when they cry, you cry, and you always walk away from it with the warm and fuzzies. This is completely normal, but what might be of slight concern is when we start to expect the same grand gestures.

These films fill us with ideas of what love should be like. Suddenly, we’re expecting fireworks, breathtaking kisses in the middle of a busy street that stops traffic and the world around you. That’s nice, but we probably shouldn’t risk making out in the middle of the road…there’s a chance that traffic isn’t going to stop and your romance could be over faster than it started. Let’s kiss on the sidewalk, it’s safer.

Sure, it’s nice to want the kind of passionate and unconditional love that we see in the movies, but that isn’t always what love is. This idea throws out all of the things that make love real. It forgets that it’s full of thoughts and emotions that aren’t always happy ones. It throws away the rawness of it. The fights that tear us apart and drive us mad. The heartbreak we feel after someone we loved with all of our heart doesn’t love us back, and doesn’t change their mind about it. It leaves out the kisses we expected to be magical and instead found that they fell short of making our foot pop. (Here’s looking at you, “Princess Diaries”). Most importantly, they leave out the everyday things that stand in the way of our ignorant bliss.

The truth is that we have jobs that sometimes suck and we take it out on the person we love. It leaves out the fact that we’re human and make mistakes like these. Relationships aren’t fairytales 24/7. They’re a lot of hard work, they’re heartbreak, they’re confusion, they’re messy, and they fall apart and don’t fit back together, no matter how much we want them to.
Love is not about finding someone who is perfect every day. It’s cowardly to want to love someone perfect because it will take no effort at all. Love is about being vulnerable and exposing that vulnerability to someone who can crush you heart like it’s a stale cheerio. It’s about having flaws and feeling comfortable enough to show them. It’s about seeing someone else’s flaws and wholeheartedly accepting them for better or for worse.

Love isn’t perfect. It always going to have a battle for you to fight and it’s about your willingness to work through your problems. You share your happiness with another person because you want them to be happy and you would do anything to make sure they are. It’s about understanding that we can’t make them happy all of the time, but the willingness to try, even if our efforts are in vain.

Love is not perfect. People are not perfect.

We all have baggage that we thought we lost at the airport years ago and it suddenly comes back into your life at the worst moment. But love is finding someone who won’t run from what hiding inside your old baggage, instead they’ll help you sort through it.

There will be days when you fight about something dumb like who left crumbs in the Nutella jar and suddenly you’re yelling about your in-laws and that time he forgot your anniversary and you’ll wonder how you got there, and you’ll wonder if it’s worth it. The truth is that your “Prince Charming” will drive you crazy when you find him, and you will most likely have to kiss a few frogs to get there. It won’t always be mad, passionate love with fireworks, but not of that will matter because while your relationship might not be like the one in your favorite movie, but sometimes it can feel like it.

It is easy to lose touch with reality when something better and easier is always just a click away. There is nothing wrong with wanting your own happy ending and striving for true happiness, or love that makes you a better person, and finding someone who treats you like a princess. After all, we do deserve our own fairytale, let’s just stop striving for love like in the movies and start working, striving for, and appreciating our own kind of perfectly imperfect piece of forever.

Photo by Nana Agyei

Student, dreamer, and doer. Lover of animals, books, oversized sweaters, and fall. Born and raised in a small town in Eastern Pennsylvania, I look forward to spreading my wings and traveling the rest of the world.