Editorial: Be your own valentine


High school students may feel compelled to be in a romantic relationship because of unrealistic standards presented in the media, but fulfillment in high school should not be determined by a student’s relationship status. Graphic by Kaitlyn Lu.

In the hit TV show “Never Have I Ever,” the main character, Devi Vishwakumar, fantasizes about finding a boyfriend in high school, but she suffers embarrassment and faces conflicts in her friendships in efforts to enter a romantic relationship. 

High school students can relate to the main characters in many TV shows because of the characters’ constant desire to be in a romantic relationship. Some students want to be in a relationship to boost their social status, while others feel they need a “special role” in their lives to be filled. 

The idea that teens need to be in a romantic relationship is increased by standards in the media which create unrealistic expectations. When Vishwakumar is single, she is ostracized, but while dating, she fits in with more of her peers. Single characters in media are often portrayed as helpless and lonely until they are in a relationship and appear happy and well-liked. 

TV plots centered around dating reinforce the idea that romantic relationships are right for everyone. The media fails to show that love can be found through interests, friendships and self-appreciation. 

Media intended for teens does not show enough celebration of being single or rejoicing in the independence of not having a significant other. A fulfilling and accomplished high school experience does not require romance.  

When single teenagers see constant models of romance in the media, they may feel encouraged to jump into a relationship they are unhappy with or not ready for. High school sweethearts are evidence that real romance can be sparked in high school, but students must realize that finding a partner may not happen as fast as it appears for others. 

Students can buy their own corsages and boutonnieres, dance in the Variety Show senior number with a friend and attend school dances in groups. Unlike in TV shows and movies, the storyline does not end for students if they are single.