10 Popular Life Lessons From Movies & TV Shows You Should Never Listen To

Watching movies and TV shows is a great way to escape reality for a bit. You can zone out, focus on someone else’s life, and avoid thinking about your own problems while eating snacks that are delicious but probably not good for you. We know movies and shows aren’t real, but we also know that they’re based on real things. So, even knowing it’s a fictional world, we still sometimes “learn” things from what we watch. And, unfortunately, a lot of those lessons are totally wrong, and sometimes even dangerous. There are some popular life lessons that come up so often that they start to kind of stick in your head, and those are the ones that are particularly bad for you.

Hollywood offers up bad life advice to every kind of person: minorities, dudes, little kids, older people, married couples, etc. Today, though, we’re focusing on the harmful messages women in particular get when watching movies and TV shows. If you see these things come up enough with your favorite characters, it can start to feel like something you should apply to your own life – even if you don’t realize that’s happening. How do you reverse that? By being aware of what you shouldn’t listen to when you’re immersed in a fictional setting. This Ask Reddit thread brings up the worst and most popular life lessons from movies and television that you need to ignore ASAP. Pass the message on!

The Jerk Becomes A Good Guy If You're The Right Girl For Him

One of the most frustrating lessons about love taken from a lot of movies and shows is that a total douche will become a total sweetheart if they love you enough. User flamingolion explains, "That the sleaze ball turns into a good guy for the right girl. Think Joey from Friends, Barney from HIMYM, Mr Big on SATC. If he consistently treats women with disrespect and it's a pattern, not a one off or a bad period of his life or a situation where there's two sides of the story, that is who he is. Sure maybe one day he'll age or get tired and settle down probably but the core person remains the same."

Exactly. If a guy is truly a jerk, he won't do a 180 personality wise for you, even if he does genuinely love you.

Cheating Is Okay If It Helps You Get To The Right Person

Another thing we see all the time in Hollywood storylines? A guy or girl cheats on their partner, and the person they cheated with ends up being their soulmate. The problem with this is that, usually, the person who gets cheated on is painted as horrible, thus justifying the cheating. It makes it easy to victim blame in real life cheating situations. User jumpinthedog says, "Cheating on the guy you are with to be with the one you love. It isn't told outright but in a huge amount of chick flicks it happens and it's super shitty."

We shouldn't be given the message that cheating is fine if you're doing it with someone you'll end up marrying - but we are, all the time, and that's harmful.

The Best Relationships Start When You Hate Each Other

It's impossible to count how many rom-coms start with the main couple absolutely hating each other. User Reneeisme says, one bad lesson is, "If you really dislike someone on first meeting, they are probably the one for you. Ignore your instinct and honest evaluation and give them another chance. See especially Meg Ryan in every role ever, but really nearly any rom com you can throw a rock at is based on this premise." Guys... this might be true sometimes, but it isn't true all the time!

You Have To Love Everything About Yourself

Movies, TV shows, and the media in general can sometimes try to hammer it into our heads that we're perfect the way we are. This can be frustrating! User stanzimozart explains why: "This over self-acceptance in the media. I think its okay to admit we have faults and to work on those. If you feel like you're perfect how are you going to improve upon yourself? I know its more of a backlash to the constant societal demands of women, but I feel that some take it the wrong way and are hostile to any change whatsoever."

Plus, it's okay to feel crappy about certain things. You won't ever be 100 percent happy with everything about yourself, and to expect to be is unrealistic.

If Someone Loves You, You Should Forgive The Terrible Things They've Done

How many times do we see a character do something absolutely awful, but then get forgiven because of love? Even worse, how often do we end up rooting for that character when we know we wouldn't put up with it in real life? User Redhaired103 says one bad lesson is, "Staying with someone who did something outrageous or taking him back is okay because people can change and it's romantic to take them back. Not to say this never happens in real life, some people really do change. But in EVERY comedy series about relationships there is at least one couple like that and in real life changing for the better or moving on from something like that is nowhere as common. Friends - Ross and Rachel keeps getting back together. New Girl - Cece and Schmidt, after Schmidt dating Cece and another woman at the same time and cheated both with each other. SATC - multiple storylines like that. HIMYM - the whole thing between Robin - Ted - Barney...."

The truth is that someone can't treat you however they want and then get let off the hook because they say they love you. We need to teach that!

Love Makes Everything Better

Along the same lines is the message that love can fix everything, no matter what. User monkify says, "Love can heal all. No, no it can't. If your partner is mentally ill and you think you can just solve it or go through it together by just loving them hard enough, you need to reevaluate if they need you, or if you need them. Sometimes people need to be by themselves to heal and reflect, and that can mean the end of a relationship. Don't try to cling on because you think you can totally fix their problems by loving them. Supporting an SO is another story entirely, obvs. Some people think their love can actually change someone just by being present. It doesn't. And it can actually be harmful since someone could use it as a coping mechanism or escape (focus everything on the relationship and nothing on themselves) and never get better."

Sometimes things don't work, even if the love is there - and that's okay. It's real life.

Travel When You're Young or You're Wasting Your Life

Another thing Hollywood pushes like crazy? Traveling all over when you're young, like it's so easy. User crazynekosama says one annoying lesson is, "Travel while you're young. I mean yes, I get the appeal and I see the value of it for sure. I'm not saying people shouldn't travel when they're young if they're able to. But it bugs me because it a.) doesn't talk much about the financial aspect of traveling. I know there are ways to save money while traveling that can help minimize the cost but still, traveling costs money and not every young woman will be in a position to afford it. I don't think it's a good idea to sacrifice financial security or put yourself in debt just so you can travel because everyone says you should do it in your 20's or you're missing out. b.) It kind of has this weird, underlying message that after your 20's you won't be able to travel. I'm assuming because these articles/magazines/blogs are assuming by 30 every woman everywhere will have a career and kids and obviously you can't travel then! And what about retirement? I know so many people in their 60's-80's who are traveling and loving it. It's not like once we reach senior-hood we stop enjoying life. It's not terrible advice but it's just annoying because it assumes that all women are going to lead the same kind of life i.e. single student/traveller to career woman and mom and obviously that's not the case for many women and no one should feel like they're missing out because they didn't get a chance to travel as a young adult."

Sex Should Be Used To Get What You Want

Movies and TV shows do a great job of making it seem like women don't like sex - especially when they use the trope that women only have sex with their S.O.'s to get what they want. User some_recursive_virus says one bad lesson is, "Just the whole idea that sex should be used/withheld as some sort of bargaining chip. Sex should not be a reward for men, nor should it be a task for women. Likewise, sex shouldn't be an act that is done by men to women. Sex should be a consensual act enjoyed between partners because they want to enjoy it."

User 111010111101011111 adds, "I noticed that in Scrubs. ESPECIALLY with Carla. She used it as a reward like all of the time. From the first time she did it with Turk, to when they made a deal on how much sex they'd have if Turk agreed on another baby. There was always just tolerating or a deal involved."

You Don't Have To Listen To Doctors

This is kind of random, but it does happen a lot in fictional worlds - people ignore the advice of their doctor and end just fine. User Liisas says one of the worst lessons is, "If a doctor prescribes you some medication, especially for a mental issue, you're definitely better off taking a good stern look at yourself in the bathroom mirror and flushing the pills down the drain. A montage of you overcoming your troubles via pure willpower is sure to follow." I'm horrified by these scenes - and they are so common!

You Have To Love Your Job

Oh, and workwise? Movies and TV make it seem like you have to be completely passionate about your job or you'll be miserable. User bwinsy says a bad lesson is the of, "Having to find your passion when it comes to a job. Bull crap!" You don't have to be in love with where you work - you just need to be able to make it work.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.


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