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Let’s talk about reality. Lately I feel like the line between what’s real and what’s not has become a little blurry. I’d even go so far as to say that a good source of this ‘line blurring’ is the various forms of entertainment that have settled into our lives all too comfortably through books, movies and television.
The obvious targets here are shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Hills, The Real Housewives franchise and even My Super Sweet Sixteenth. They have brought exorbitant wealth into our homes and we watch in awe as the ‘stars’ lavish money on extravagant parties, homes, cars, gifts, beauty treatments, clothing and make-up.
Recently I’ve started to wonder just what impact that has on us as viewers. It certainly isn’t my reality or the reality of 80% of the human population that lives on less than $10 a day. The reason I can’t remember the last time I bought my rap superstar boyfriend a $500,000 car or televised my marriage to the tune of $2 million is because it never happened.
Of course these are just television shows and at some point we as adults need to take responsibility for not only what we watch but what we choose to believe and decide to act on. But wait a minute, what about the younger generations? From early on they have seen this frivolous spending and exorbitant living played out in front of them and now feel a sense of entitlement and it makes you wonder if they appreciate the true value of things like game consoles, luxury cars and expensive clothes or if they just feel like these items are a part of normal living because, that’s what happens on reality television shows.
It may sound ridiculous, but it’s true. The younger sister of one of my good friends is regularly gifted with expensive items like an iPad, iPhone, concert tickets, overseas trips in first-class luxury and rides in expensive cars. Can you really blame the young girl for receiving these? I suppose not, she doesn’t choose to be given them. Can you blame the parents for wanting to give their child the best and spoil her? Not really, they love their daughter and want her to have a wonderful life. My issue with the whole thing is that she doesn’t appreciate a scrap of it. Why not? Because she see’s these scenario’s played out on ‘reality’ television everyday, if it’s happening to the Kardashians then why can’t it happen to her? The lines are blurred.
At the risk of being hunted down by an angry mob of women I’m going to go so far as to say that hysteria-inducing novels like Twilight and Fifty Shades have altered the reality of love and relationships too.
But these books are works of fiction and again must be taken with a grain of salt, so why aren’t they? I was told the story of a woman who, after reading Twilight, left her husband because she didn’t feel their love compared to that of Edward and Bella. That’s a tad excessive and hopefully not all that common, but these books do have women and men alike questioning their relationships and comparing them to something that isn’t real.
If your boyfriend is an obsessive, controlling member of an ancient vampire family that wants to eat you but instead marries and impregnates you with a hybrid vampire-human spawn which labels you as public enemy number 1 to an ancient order of vampire aristocracy, you’ve got problems. Most of which will centralise around the fact that all of the things I’ve just mentioned simply aren’t possible and more likely than not you have huge mental health bills.
Fifty Shades is another offender on my naughty list at the moment. Now let’s be honest here, how many times have you or someone you know met an egomaniac, sexually depraved billionaire that wants to enslave you as his submissive sex partner but instead, after a number of attempts on your life, marries you and impregnates you with his love child? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess none. But if this does happen to you, don’t worry because you will live in his uber expensive penthouse, zip around in helicopters and dress in nothing but the finest silks.
The picture of love that these books are painting, while clearly works of fiction, is becoming ingrained in our minds because of the mass hysteria sweeping the planet. The television shows, movies and books combined are creating a sense of entitlement centered on unrealistic expectations. Women now want a man who obsesses over them day and night, lavishes them with excessive gifts, is insanely rich and looks like a Greek God. Your regular hard-working male doesn’t stand a chance. Install a winch in your bedroom, buy some red silk sheets and in you’re in with a chance, lads.
Relationships are hard work and getting the material items that you want in life is hard work. The chances of you meeting a billionaire that is obsessed with you, loves you to death and wants to take care of you are slim. More likely than not you will still meet a wonderful man, who loves you to death, is obsessed with you and wants to take care of you but he won’t be a billionaire. He will be a regular man and you will fight over stupid things like empty toilet rolls, missing television remotes and faulty smoke alarms because that is what reality is and it doesn’t mean your love is any less incredible.
I’m not here to bash anyone, I am a woman and I have read all of the books and watched all of the television shows and movies I’ve mentioned here. In fact I’m not even saying that every person out there is exactly as I’ve described above. What I am saying though is that there are a lot of external influences which can change our perception of reality and I think it’s very important to be aware of them.
Don’t get caught up in needing ‘the things’ like big parties, expensive cars, Tiffany jewellery and penthouse apartments to make you feel good or more loved and if you do have them, appreciate them because they aren’t something you’re entitled to, they’re something you’ve been gifted with either by someone else or through your own hard work.
Everyone’s love is different. Your husband or wife may love you to death but may not say it every five seconds, routinely buy you gifts, try to suck your blood or chain you to a wall and whip you, but that doesn’t make your love any less important, special or meaningful. If anything it makes it more important because it’s just yours, it’s unique.