Why I'm Glad Daria Didn't Lose Her Virginity
In 1997, MTV launched a new show called Daria. The show aimed to capture high school through the eyes of a teenage girl, mirroring other popular shows of the decade (My So Called Life, Buffy etc.) which also reflected hormonal, angsty teenage girls as the main protagonists.
The character Daria Morgendorffer, who the show is (obviously) named after, was a character on the popular TV show Beavis and Butthead. Why Beavis and Butthead was popular is beyond me. Every time I've tried to watch a segment of this show of gurgling stoners it makes me feel like I'm missing out on the 'humour.' Kind of like how I feel watching Two and a Half Men.
Here's an early appearance of Daria on Beavis and Butthead:
Daria has its fair share of popular stereotypes, such as the air-head jocks and cheerleaders, greasy teenage boys and vapid self conscious sisters. But in the midst of all these stereotypes, Daria offers a cynical view of high school life with her quick-witted comments and perpetually sarcastic tone. She made the weirdness of high school seem normal and was almost heroic in her ability to make teenage outcasts feel okay. She was a heroine of the weird kids, which is why I appreciate her so much.
Throughout the show's 5 seasons, the viewers witness Daria's personal development. She deals with important issues like body image, how to keep your dignity and avoid contradicting your morals, and how to deal with fathers that obsess over ordering too many sausages and becoming addicted to technology. As the seasons progress, the themes that Daria faces mature as she does. Where Daria once became bright red at the sight of her best friend's brother and his smooth guitar skills, she begins to date and worries about whether to commemorate the anniversaries in her relationship or not.
However, I feel as though the Daria I looked up to was lost within the last season. In the end of Season 4, Daria acquires a boyfriend. I didn't find this problematic, as Tom seemed to be an extension of Daria's personality and provided a nice back-story to many episodes. Tom's character reflected Daria's humour and it seemed that the pair could take over the world with sarcastic comments and a very refined taste for pizza. The relationship didn't seem to affect Daria's independent personality and I was glad to see her avoid becoming a whiny girlfriend like another character, Brittany.
But later in Season 5, Daria completely ignores all of her values and morals and questions her VIRGINITY. Now, why do I make such a big deal of this? Yeah, Daria is a teenager and has a boyfriend and has been with him for a while and is supposedly expected to have lost 'it' already to him for just that reason. And I do understand the writers' decision to write in a story-line highlighting this expectation on teenage relationships. But the character of Daria isn't supposed to worry about things like that, or waste time wondering what she is or isn't "supposed" to do. She's meant to spit and mock even the thought of fulfilling any expectations society has put on her as a teenage girl, so the fact that it was so worrisome to her just seemed wrong. This story line seems more like a plot that the stereotypical cheerleader and jock of the show (as portrayed by the characters of Kevin and Brittany) would fit, and less of a story line that Daria would be involved in herself.
After a while of self questioning, Daria decides she is not ready to conform to society's expectation. I think this was the right choice, and one that reflected what the viewers of Daria would have done. Leave sex for shows like 90210 and let the underdogs have Daria.
More articles by Category: Body image and body standards, Education, Feminism, Girls, Media
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