You never realize the influence popular culture has on you until you find yourself writing love letters to your crush with the hope of finding your own Peter Kavinsky.
Growing up with today’s movies, shows, and music, we end up having specific guidelines and expectations on what we believe is our ideal romantic relationship. The influence of popular culture on today’s romance can be seen as both good and bad as it offers us an understanding of different perspectives on romance.
Sex and love tend to go hand-in-hand across pop culture platforms. . Although it allows audiences to relate, it also gives a false illusion of what romance and sex are by establishing unrealistic expectations. Many songs have emphasized the importance of finding or having a significant other; examples include Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up," Daniel Caesar’s “Get You," and LANY’s “Pink Skies." The lyrics of Ella Mai’s song describes her need for her significant other and the feeling that she might die without him.
There is no problem with enjoying these songs, but most do not realize how much it can affect us personally. Natalie Ng of Meld Magazine explained that she
knew many people her age who were smart, strong and independent individuals, yet their self-esteem was deeply affected by the lack of a romantic partner or romantic attention. Romantic films have a way of tugging our heartstrings and making us feel giddy inside, but with movies like Sierra Burgess is a Loser, they show how one’s appearance can negatively affect the search for a romantic relationship. Even though this movie is intended to be uplifting and inspirational, it still causes confusion to viewers and leaves them questioning how large of a role appearance plays in discovering their true love
Though the negative points may seem a bit alarming, we have to keep in mind that pop culture is ever-changing, meaning our ideas can evolve as well.
With that being said, we see that some movies and songs are altering the way that romance and sex should be seen. In the movie 500 Days of Summer, there’s the “Expectations vs. Reality" scene where we see the main character envisioning how the night will end for him only to be disappointed when reality hits him. Not only is this a brilliant technique of storytelling, but it definitely opens the eyes of the audience and helps them realize that what we expect isn’t always what we get when it comes to romance.
There’s also an abundance of songs and movies that have proven that relationships are not always what they seem. A person will not realize that they’re in a toxic relationship until it’s too late, but some artists have taken the initiative and used their creative minds to release songs that provide an insight on unhealthy relationships. Gnash’s “I Hate U I Love U" and Hozier’s “Cherry Wine" are great examples of providing listeners with the concept that sometimes the romantic relationships we are in are not so romantic after all.