Why ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Negatively Influences Society
The media we consume influences our thoughts, perceptions and beliefs about the world around us more than anything else, especially when it comes to sex.
Two-hundred years ago, people who wrote about sex were the ones having a lot of it. The romantic poets Lord Byron, Victor Hugo and William Blake, for example, lived and breathed the sensual pleasures with women that they wrote about.
Today, however, writers of the most popular mediums portraying sex, love and relationships are mostly screenplay and television script writers who can barely get laid themselves. They’re a far cry from the romantic poets of generations past; they were the nerds at your high school, and their inexperience and ignorance often manifests itself in many sitcoms and movies that depict attraction and relationships in a way that has no semblence to real life.
How I Met Your Mother is the most egregious example.
Ted is the loveable loser who can’t quite get what he’s looking for out of his dating life, Barney is the reprehensible player and Marshall is entrenched in a long term relationship where he’s at the mercy of his girlfriend’s every whim. None of those is much to aspire to if you’re a guy, but quality male role models on the big and small screens are few and far between these days.
Long gone are the John Waynes, Clark Gables and Humphrey Bogarts who portrayed some of the highest standards of masculinity in their roles. The Teds, Marshalls and Barneys of the movie and T.V. world have somehow become the most prevalent male archetypes in this generation.
The men are always shown acting awkward and uncomfortable as they meet the women, but the women find them so adorable that they end up carrying the interactions.
But in real life, if you act awkward and uncomfortable around women you approach, they’re going to act awkward and uncomfortable in return. And, despite what you see in T.V. and movies, the man has to be the one to get the girl’s number, ask her on a date, etc., because the girl is rarely going to do that part for him, even when she’s interested.
Also, it’s ironic that some real women idealize Ted, citing his honesty and vulnerability; if they met a real life Ted Mosby, they would definitely see desperation and neediness as his predominant qualities. How many girls want guys they just met bringing up marriage right away? How many girls want to hear “I think I’m in love with you” after the first date?
Increasing numbers of men are putting more effort into video games than their careers, valuing porn more than real-life relationships and lacking the motivation and ambition to make something of their lives that their fathers and grandfathers had. Analyzing factors that have led to that trend and the ensuing consequences is a topic in and of itself, but for the most part this epidemic represents a collective rut that men should want to break out of in the coming generations.
How I Met Your Mother, however, glorifies that perpetual boyhood. Whether it’s Marshall hanging around the apartment in his underwear instead of looking for a job or Barney being entitled to smack Ted in the balls with a wiffle ball bat for breaking a “jinx swear”, HIMYM panders to the lowest ideals of manhood.
Tim Ferriss once wrote that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. That might apply to T.V. shows too, so be careful where you decide to take your cues from.
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About Jordan Murray Jordan is a journalist who has written extensively about dating and lifestyle for multiple publications.