I have found that my own perceptions on how media fosters unhealthy models of friendships are quite simple. Films and television typically create friendships or situations that have minimal or zero complexity to them. For example you have a group of people who are from different social groups that magically become friends over the course of a day in detention such as in the movie The Breakfast Club. In the movie you have five students who really only share one thing in common but by the end you find that they have much more in common than you think. This is a great example of how a film attempts to show people from all walks of life can become friends if they are open to the idea of friendship. Although I agree with the movie’s overall message, I find that it’s not as simple as the movie makes it out to be. As Vernon (2010) stated, “The spirituality of friendship is not something that can simply be ceded to the market. It must be recovered because it captures the attitude best able to negotiate the ambiguities of friendship we have discussed, and make friendship nothing less than a way of life” (pp. 222-223). So that begs to question how five individuals can form everlasting relationships after only nine hours together. Now I am not say that the movie said as much, however it opened the viewer up to this possibility. There are many other examples that might be better than The Breakfast Club, but considering how marketable and classic the movie has become most people can relate to its message. So how do we challenge and question the mainstream notions of friendships? We most certainly can attempt to look past the marketable and try and take them for face value. We must see them for what they are, a snapshot in time that tries to fit years of complexities into a shorten timeline that has been molded for entertainment value. Everyone enjoys a happy ending and in many film and books author and producers do their best to facilitate these outcomes. Once again we must understand this is not reality in many cases. Michel de Montaigne argues that not every individual is even capable of soul friendship and with that soul friendship is even rarer. (Vernon, 2010, pp.224-225) However, many films and books who lead people to believe that soul friendship is an everyday possibly and occurrence given the situation one finds them in. I think it sends mixed message. Can people find friendship in all situations? I believe they can but they must understand that a soul friendship is rare and complex that it is likely that those friendships are nothing more that friendships of utility or pleasure.
The Breakfast Club. (1985, February 14). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088847/.
Vernon, Mark. The Meaning of Friendship (pp. 222-225). Palgrave Macmillan UK. Kindle Edition.
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