What’s Sex Got to Do With…Degrassi: The Next Generation?

Degrassi: The Next Generation is a television show that deals with the issues that teenagers face on a daily basis and portrays these issues to help teenagers understand that they are not alone. The show  includes issues of; eating disorders, rape, bullying, depression, suicide, and self insecurities. The show is still on air, but its’ first season began in 2001, and was one of the first serious teenage dramas that really exuded the seriousness of the issues that are present in middle and high schools. I began watching this show at a young age and looking back on it now, it really shaped my understanding of school and the people around me. In one episode, a girl was raped at a party after she was drinking for awhile. The episode showed what had happened when she was raped, as well as the affects it had on her for the remainder of the season. A lot of what I saw in that episode is a lot of what we have discussed in class. Paige (the character that was raped) needed a lot of the resources that we have on campus, here at Vanderbilt. ProjectSafe would have been a perfect place for her to go to, because she had a hard time with coping what had happened to her, and throughout the season she had flashbacks of her perpetrator. Comparing what had happened to her in that episode and knowing now how frequent sexual assault occurs, makes a show like this even more important. It truly shows what happens in a teenager’s life.

In class, we discussed how 80-90% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by an acquaintance, and most sexual assaults are perpetrated by repeat-offenders. Knowing this information is crucial in the safety of women on campuses, whether it’s in college, high school, or middle school. Having more shows like Degrassi, helps exemplify the importance of knowing about sexual violence, and even more important to have resources to help deal with this violence. What do you think? Do you think there should be more shows that portray the reality of sexual violence and college life? Or do you think it is inappropriate for viewers?

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2 thoughts on “What’s Sex Got to Do With…Degrassi: The Next Generation?

  1. Growing up I watched the show Degrassi daily. But, once I reached the age of the show and attended high school, I found that real life was much different than what I saw in the show; initially making me intimidated that a sexual assault may happen to me entering high school. But, in reality there was nothing to be afraid of. So personally, I think television shows should try and find a different way to show the reality of sexual violence in the school system. Or maybe not go to such extremes because it may be a tad inappropriate if you are not yet at an understanding age. But if you look at it in a different light, the extremeness of these shows do create awareness so if something were to happen you would have atleast an idea of what you could do.

    I think there should be something like Project Safe in starting in high school settings so there will be more of a comfort level as you grow up and engage in more sexual activity, learning what is right and wrong for you; learning to report the wrongs.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this post because I grew up watching the show Degrassi. This show had a lot of sexual assaults throughout the episodes and made others realize how serious these situations are. But i do agree that they should have more shows like Degrassi to help other be aware of sexual assault, eating disorders, bullying, depression, etc. But even though some of these shows could be a bad influence to some kids I do think the full message helps and gives good advice!

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