Friday, April 22, 2011

Influences

Today I watched an episode of the new 90210.  I was struck by part of the storyline.  There is a nerdy smart kid that likes one of the popular, rich, and self-absorbed main characters.  She is thin, pretty, popular, failing math, and could have her choice of guys.  She has found herself attracted to the nerd.  This nerd is short, wears glasses, is excellent at math, and loves science fiction.  In prior episodes they even make reference to the fact that her reputation would be ruined if her friends knew she liked a nerd.  So they agree to save both their reputations and keep their hooking up a secret.

She makes all kinds of assumptions about the nerd.  One is that he is inexperienced in bed.  Clearly, she believes that she is going to educate him about sex.  After their first intimate act, she basically said to the nerd, “Wow, you were great.”  Furthermore, she questions how a virgin could perform so well for the first time.  The nerdy kid then tells her that he is not a virgin.  She was shocked and asks how many times before her.  He replies, less than the square root of 64.  He says, “7.”  She is shocked and so was I. For me it wasn’t because he was a nerd.  It was because both of these characters are supposed to be seniors in high school-so they are probably supposed to be 17.  It is worth noting that while all of this was happening, these kids had chartered a private jet and flown to Cabo for their Spring Break.  It goes without saying that alcohol was readily available.  Additionally, the nerd finds out that his new flame is failing math and refused to have sex with her again until the studies and correctly answers all his math questions.

So why am I blogging about this?  If you remember from one of my prior blogs, the statistic from a Kaiser Family Foundation that stated:  76% of teens said that one reason young people have sex is because TV shows and movies make it seem normal for teens. 

Let us take this a bit further, so now we have moved from teens losing their virginity before they graduate from high school so approaching double-digit sex partners.  And the one approaching the double-digits is a math nerd.  If teens are emulating what they see on TV because it is portrayed to be normal then here are a few assumptions to consider.

1.        If real teens don’t want to be considered nerds then do they need to strive for more than 7 sex partners before they graduate?
2.       Does that mean that the popular girl has had more partners than the nerd? 
3.       Why does the show portray the only reason for her sudden motivation to pass math is so she can have sex with the nerd again? (Getting into CU is second on that list.) 
4.        Do all popular girls only respond to sexual motivation?
5.       Why are the stereotypes of nerds vs. popular and over-sexed pretty girls reinforced?
6.       How many of our tweens and teens are seeing this and thinking this is the norm and that’s what they should be doing because they lack the necessary guidance to make educated choices?

My list of questions could go on and on.  So what do we do?  What do you think?  Are you scared?  I am.

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