We all romanticize something. For a long time, I wished I had lived a few centuries earlier, when things were simpler, and you didn’t need to fight with your neighbors over a parking spot. But then I read about children working at factories, cholera, ridiculously bad medical care, and suddenly I wasn’t too psyched about it. Who could’ve thought that the past wasn’t as glamorous as the movies made me believe?
Turns out, talking about crooked mirrors is quite popular on Reddit. We at Bored Panda recently discovered three posts (1, 2, 3) with essentially the same question: What does society romanticize way too much? And judging from the abundance of upvotes and comments, we thought it might be a good idea to share some of the replies with you, dear Pandas. From eating disorders to workaholism, continue scrolling to check out the most popular ones and let us know if you agree with them in the comments.
Eating disorders. It’s not beautiful and tragic, it’s just a lot of gross s**t. Like hoarding bags of chewed up food under your bed. Taking laxatives until you piss water out of your ass and you’re so dehydrated you have to go to the hospital. Having dentures/implants at 30 because your teeth rotted out. Walking around in public not realizing you have vomit in your hair, which by the way, is falling out by the fistful. I remember reading one horrifying story from an ER nurse who had a patient who was literally vomiting faeces because her stool was so impacted due to constipation from her anorexia. Imagine vomiting your own shit.
And that’s not including risks like heart failure, life-threatening arrhythmias, brain atrophy, gastric rupture…
There’s nothing pretty about eating disorders.
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Mental illness. It’s not a fashion accessory, it’s a disease none of us want to have. You’re not cool, trendy or suddenly super fucking interesting because you claim to have a mental illness
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Controlling/abusive relationships. Twilight and 50 shades I’m looking at you.
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Pregnancy. It’s scary, life threatening, hard, exhausting, and so many more things. I was so sick. I was sick even after delivering at 32 weeks because if I didn’t she and I would have died from HELLP syndrome. Feeling her kick and wiggle was the only thing I liked about being pregnant. She’s the greatest thing to ever happen to me but it was so hard and the NICU was terrifying in itself. So many people romanticize pregnancy when there isn’t nothing pretty about it. The Maternal Mortality rate in this country is absolutely shameful but that seems to get over looked with most things when it comes to pregnancy.
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Public marriage proposals, where the other party is basically shamed into accepting.
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Workaholism, the grind, hustle culture. It’s not for everybody, and it doesn’t mean someone is a failure to not devote their life to making as much money as possible. What’s the point of making money if you have no time of your own to enjoy it? I work about 55 hours a week, and I feel like I have no time at all to actually enjoy my life. I don’t know how people who are constantly hustling do it.
If it’s for you, cool. I’m not casting aspersions. Maybe that is how you get enjoyment out of life. That’s awesome and in some ways I’m a bit envious. But it should not be some ideal or standard.
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Toxic relationships and the bad boy ideology – “bad boys” may seem all cute on paper but no, you cannot fix them. It is up to the person to change and toxic relationships are a battle to make healthy. Only if the two parties are willing to sort it out then it can work out but there’s nothing romantic about toxicity, it hurts and screws with your head
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Giant weddings. Why are you putting yourself into crazy debt and through a bunch of stress for a giant event you probably won’t even be able to fully enjoy? Save your money, elope and buy a cool house or go take an awesome vacation.
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Not “needing” 7-8 hours of sleep.
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Stalking o.o Nothing’s sexy about a guy following you around or appearing randomly everywhere you go.
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For me, personally, it’s codependency. I always had romanticized the idea that me and my partner would fully depend on each other for every emotional and physical need, and that we would and should be able to fulfill the other persons needs. Now that I’m married I realized that if my husband and I did that with each other we would have a gross and dangerous codependent marriage.
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You know what’s hot? Trust.
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Hospitals. It’s not like in the movies where everyone comes to visit and bring you gifts. Especially for chronically ill people for who hospital stays are frequent, it can be absolutely traumatic.
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The Joker and Harley Quinn.
Seriously, even the comics acknowledged how fucked up they are together, they’re not a cute, dream relationship.
Edit: at the time of posting this I thought someone already used this as an example.
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Ignorance. You’ve got the right to not care about the world around you, but it’s not something to brag about.
There’s nothing romantic about not showering for three days and forgetting what it’s like to be able to feel things.
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Cancer. I’m not brave, strong or even a hero/inspiration.
I just don’t want to die.
being proud of “being bad at maths”. also hating learning/education.
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Celebrities. Fake people living fake, manufactured lives, yet the media insists that we care what they think, what they wear, who they’re voting for, who they’re fucking. All because they were born with some genetic gift, or born into the right family, or some other twist of fate thrust them into the limelight. It used to just be Hollywood types. Now we have this whole generation of insta models, reality stars, and other “influencers” whose only contribution to society is their shameless self promoting bullshit. And people eat it up. Meanwhile we have skyrocketing rates of teen depression and suicide because kids are bombarded with these impossible standards of beauty and popularity in their formative years.
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Chronic illness or life altering disease. People glamorize being sick in books and movies as a lesson in strength, positive outlook, and acceptance. Great values to learn but it completely ignores the constant pain, isolation, and fear that sick people face daily. People pass around feel good stories about “inspiring” people living their lives to the fullest while terminally or forever ill to make healthy and able bodied people feel grateful for what they have. I, nor anyone else in this community that I know, don’t want to be your positive inspiration porn. This life is hard and we wouldn’t choose it so stop using it for stories/media that you get to be emotional over then walk away from.
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“Gangster” lifestyle. Nobody in the hood wants to be there.
Acts of charity that shouldn’t be necessary.
Like a kid who saves up their lunch money to pay their best friends medical bills or something. Sure, it’s admirable, but our response shouldn’t be ‘awww’ it should be, ‘why the frick is this necessary, why are we letting our governments fail us?’
Moving to a country without speaking the language. People won’t think you’re quirky and you won’t be able to smile your way through a completely failed conversation. Especially in Paris. Emily in Paris was so unrealistic. Parisians are impatient enough with tourists who don’t speak French, I can’t imagine going to LIVE there and not speaking a word of it.
Loyalty to the company–it’s not a good thing. My husband worked for one particular company for nearly 20 years and towards the end, they were really treating him like s**t. He was actually scared to try and find another job because he was afraid his coworkers would hate him afterwards for leaving. It didn’t help that for a period of about 2 years prior to his quitting, he’d done a shit ton of interviews for similar positions only to find out they were going another way, or had just entered a hiring freeze or some other bullshit response. My own thoughts on that were that he was TOO experienced and wanted too much money BECAUSE of that experience. With one rejection after another, it broke him down and he felt like he would never be able to find another job.
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Unnecessarily aggressive and certain spontaneous behavior, if someone throws a cup of coffee in someone else’s face simply because they don’t like the person, they aren’t cool or badass, they’re an asshole
Poor countries, I saw a video where someone was romanticizing Russia because it had a ‘dystopian aesthetic’.
Being a parent is fucking hard work, and kids are basically assholes for years and years. If you’re not sure you’re up for the challenge, postpone it while you consider it some more.
Some people are savants when it comes to child rearing, but for most people, it’s a skill you have to build, and constantly work on as your kid grows and find new ways to almost kill themselves. And even if you do everything right, life can still throw you curveballs.
Thankfully, I see more and more honesty about the darker sides of pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and economy, and I genuinely believe we are heading towards a generation of enthusiastic parents, who chose the life, rather than just letting it happen to them.
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In the U.S., the military.
The mentality of girls “playing hard to get”. No, she’s not into you because you’re being a creep dude, not because she wants you to try harder.
Being stressed and exhausted from work.
When I was young I thought that the lonewolf grizzled tough guy was everything it meant to be truly masculine and cool. So much so that I emulated that idea into adulthood. Thinking people would see me as cool and manly.
Thing is I have no idea if anyone sees me that way because I have noone to hangout with.
I isolated myself to this point that the most interaction I have with people face to face is well. At a drive through getting coffee or a meal.
Let me tell you it doesn’t matter how many crunches or push-ups you can do how good-looking you are or if you’re charming as hell. Not unless you actually know people and make friends and you can’t do that if you’re completely isolated.
F**k being lonely. I really wish I could go out and just make friends like when I was young.
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Gambling; because gambling isn’t about James Bond playing Baccarat in Monte Carlo. It’s about sad, addicted people desperately playing slot machines and losing money they don’t have.
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No, it wasn’t better. No, back in your day kids weren’t better behaved. No, back in your day things weren’t easier.
Sad girls. If I read one more “the sadness in her eyes made me fall in love” bs imma start throwing hands, like imagine saying “her father died and now I wanna make out with her” just stfu
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Working while sick.
JUST STOP! It’s not tough of you. You’re not taking one for the team. You’re probably about to take the whole team out.
I get it. Some workplaces have punitive policies for taking sick days (scary sidenote: like every single hospital I’ve ever worked). Some of us can’t afford not to work that shift. But those are policy questions we should be pushing back on as soon as this administration is in the history books and we can finally get back to boring policy making again.
The drinking and drugs lifestyle. Specifically in music. 17 years later I look back and what a shit show my life has been and it’s hard coming back to life
The tortured artist. I hate the idea of “only those that suffer can make great art”. Yes, there are people who have a rough life and make amazing things but that is a small percentage of people who actually get noticed. You can be smart, passionate, sincere, dedicated, or creative and make amazing art. If we promote the idea that true art only comes from people who have suffered then that promotes the idea of self inflicting suffering while detracting from those who have made really amazing art but haven’t “truly suffered” for it.
Competitiveness over everything. “I got 5 hours of sleep last night.” “Yeah well I only got 2 hours and I slept on a rock.”
“Struggle love” or whatever you wanna call toxic relationships that slowly suck the life out of you and ruin your mental health. Relationships are not the misery olympics where you get a gold medal in the end if you put up with the most bullshit. Your partner should make you happy at least 95% of the time, if it’s the opposite then you need to get the hell out of there instead of endlessly trying to ‘make it work’. There’s nothing romantic or glamorous about wasting the only life you have with a loser who lies, cheats, uses, and abuses you.
Portraying a glamorous life on social media. I am so sick and tired of every single person trying to make themselves look like a foodie, fitness model and wanderlust world explorer. Just live your life people. Stop doing things for the ‘gram. It doesn’t care about you or how much of your life you are wasting trying to impress people. Spend more time with your spouse, friends and family and you won’t regret it.
Losing your virginity…
You don’t suddenly change into a whole new person once you’ve had sex. Teenagers should definitely not have this as a benchmark for being grown up.
Growing up poor and oppressed in a third world country and climbing your way out of this hell, it is not inspirational nor heartwarming. There is nothing beautiful about having to work until you break just so you can provide. No person deserves to live this kind of life. Help, don’t romanticize the poor.
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Rise and grind everyday lifestyle…needlessly. Ofc some people actually have to live that life to legitimately survive, but the consistent push in today’s generations and romanticizing it to be this life where you’re happy and rich is just so dangerous…
Romeo & Juliet
Old people. They are not all lovely, wonderfully nice people. Some old people are just jerks! I work for a doctors office that works primarily with the geriatric community, and we had to call the cops on a patient today for being verbally and physically abusive to our doctor and office staff, myself included.
The underdog mentality. Yeah everyone loves an underdog but god damn people are too busy trying to one up each other on “I’m stronger cuz my past was worse”
The Mafia – growing up in Jersey, I’ve had friends who would talk reverently about relatives who are “connected”, or would watch Goodfellas or The Sopranos and talk about how awesome it would be to be in a crew like that, and all I could think was, “they’re criminals who end up murdered or in jail.”
Like, 99% of the time it will get better but 99% of the time you won’t be able to come back to where you once was as an athlete. No matter how heroically you will try to recover or fight this injury. Most of the time it will never be the same again.
I injured my knee a long time ago, and it has never been the same ever again and everybody told me to try harder. That’s just not how it works.
I used to think that pop culture romanticized youth mostly because they just didn’t understand what being an adult meant. If you check any ask Reddit post about what being an adult is like, the general consensus is that people didn’t actually change when they grew up, they still like cartoons, they still like video games, they’re still immature. But there’s no reason to talk about it anymore, because you’re an adult and nobody is telling you what to do, so there’s nobody telling you NOT to do those things for you to rebel against.
So I figured that’s what people didn’t understand. They thought being an adult meant getting boring and going antiquing and shit, and they wanted to stay young so that wouldn’t happen.
But according to songs I hear on the radio, that’s not even what people romanticize about youth. There’s one song I keep hearing that goes
Hollywood warps some peoples views on what relationships are.
Childhood. Being a kid has its fun moments, but people are so fixated on “no responsibilities” that they forget it means “no power”. Also, kids don’t have a lot of credibility, even if they’re fairly honest. Everyone has at least one Cassandra story from their childhood, some more heartbreaking than others.
Abuse in general. That shit ain’t fun, I don’t know why people think it’s romantic.
Romance? I like to joke that my wife and I had the least-romantic vows ever. We talked about how grateful we were that circumstance brought us together and kept us together. I also told everyone present that I think one of the sexiest things about her is she provides half the income. Dry, boring, practical stuff. I romantically love my wife in very cheesy ways, but we are blunt about it: at least 50% of our success is based on logistics. We’re from the same town, so we never have to fight about who gets to “go home” with vacation time (we see both families on Christmas day). Not only that, our families both get along, making our union blessed and seamless. Don’t get me wrong, I would have married this woman in a Romeo and Juliet situation, but it makes it a fuck ton easier when everyone you care about is happy about the marriage, too. We also both wanted to go to the same college, so we were only apart for a short time (I went to college before her). We also both had career goals that fit together nicely as far as schedules and travel go.
I can tell you where all of my wife’s freckles are, including ones she doesn’t even know about. I can tell when she’s been somewhere because of her smell. We often don’t even have to talk to know how the other feels; an eye glance suffices. I get romance. But our relationship works at a nuts and bolts level for a whole bunch of non-romantic, logistical reasons, too. And I always beg my single friends to think about that practical stuff at least as much as the romantic stuff when they are on the dating scene.
The whole taking to the open road and leaving everything behind thing. You’re just going to be cold hungry and lonely
People mindlessly think that because something is “natural” it is suddenly super healthy.
NOT EVERYTHING FROM NATURE IS HEALTHY FOR YOU.
Okay, sure, for a while it might be fun, but real success is rare. For every artist, actress, recording artist that makes it to the pro level, there are hundreds or thousands who still work at Starbucks or retail at 35 hoping that in a few more years it will all pay off. 8 mile is nice, glad for that one guy it worked, but most would be much better off having a skilled position and money because they aren’t making it.
The same is true of sports. For every pro athlete, there are 100 others who have nothing to show for the effort.
that’s all they ever run on cable news
The whole idea can be really, really toxic. So many people get told how amazing they are when they’re kids/teenagers/young adults, then coast on that potential for years afterwards and don’t actually do anything; instead, they just get that nagging feeling that they could have been so much more and that they’ve somehow ‘failed’. Your potential has zero value, whether you use it or not. You only get to brag about things you’ve actually done.
It’s like doing the dishes: you don’t get points for having the potential to clean out the sink. The plates are still dirty, and you’ve still got nothing to eat off.
I might be late, but revolution.
Revolution isn’t just some people sacrificing themselves in some glorious coup de tat or assasination of a dictator. Revolution is often a bloody battle that lasts for years, where normal citizens are most affected.
No pressing reason, I’m just so f**king sick of it.