Is it just me, or do Hollywood and TV have a crazy amount of influence on what we consider the truth about ourselves and our relationships?
Okay, so let me take a step back.
Not all of us grow up with our parents shaping our relationship goals—if we even have two parents who remain together. In fact, I would anecdotally hazard a guess that most of us do not—and this is the main site we internalise what it means to be in a romantic relationship.
Beyond that, we look to our broader culture for guidance. And because we have largely lost our village to the nuclear family, it feels like Hollywood movies and TV shows make more appearances at dinner than our grandparents do.
Hollywood is one type of media that influences us, but there are others too.
Growing up, I was greatly influenced by what I consumed in magazines like Dolly and Girlfriend (Australian magazines for tweens and teens). If I were to say “the sealed section” to any 30-something female in Australia, we would giggle knowingly at each other—that’s where all the how-tos were found (and I’m not talking about active listening skills).
These types of mediums—particularly Hollywood—are largely bombarding us with images of young love and wrinkle-free faces. We are also conditioned to believe that romantic relationships are constantly full of passion, and folks can’t wait to have sex all the time—without having to put in the work on our relationship and ourselves.
Oh, and did I say we were all basically meant to be hot as f*ck?
We end up confused because we don’t really see that mirrored back to us in our real lives. It encourages us to subconsciously question the health of our romantic relationships when they move beyond the inevitable end-of-the-honeymoon stage.
It subconsciously creates fear of our own ageing and that of our partners. It subconsciously has us feeling like we are never enough. It’s like, only one percent of the population who can have exposed abs people, and honestly, who really is that tall? Apologies to those humans who are like this naturally—good for you.
We end up thinking that we need to seek the shiny newness instead of the depth.
Patriarchy and capitalism have enabled an environment where the control mechanism of Hollywood can thrive. It appeals to our limiting beliefs and reinforces (or creates) our need to seek external validation.
It’s sexy, we want to feel those feels, and we will throw money at it to feel that way for even just the time it takes to consume a movie—but it is also breaking our families and us.
By showing us stories of endless passion, we question the health of our own relationship if it does not reflect back to us what we see on the screen.
By showing us images of endless youth, we look to the ageing of ourselves and our partner as something that must be feared, challenged, or removed—midlife crisis anyone?
By making us feel less than because of the perfection, we see on screen, we are constantly seeking external validation and minimising the power of our intuition or inner knowing.
So, these are all pretty crappy things, and a question I have been dancing with lately is, what if this is all on purpose? What if the goal is to ultimately create separated families, trauma, and feelings of lack?
Separated families mostly create two households that need stuff (yay for capitalism). Additional pressure is put on single parents to do all the things, which enhances overwhelm and reduces time to prioritise well-being (for ourselves and our children—our stress response is constantly getting triggered).
Our children likely are exposed to trauma. We are just generation after generation of hurt people, hurting other people. But dayyum, people who need external validation make great consumers, and we largely remain asleep to our power and greatness. We are willing to pay to feel something else—even if just to escape from our lives for one moment, and even if, ultimately, it just reinforces our feelings of lack and unworthiness.
I’m not saying Hollywood is the reason relationships end, but hey, it’s an interesting factor to consider.
This conversation played out pretty heavily in my mind. I loved movies. But in looking to a bright future, I am making a choice today to be more intentional about what I put in front of my and my son’s eyes.
I am making a commitment today to be the circuit breaker for my family. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to clear some trash from my subconscious.
What do you think?