This is not the first time I’ve talked about Degrassi somewhere online and you can be sure this will not be the last, and while it’s not focused on adults – I watched most of it as one and can tell you there are lessons galore wrapped up in each episode. On top of teaching about everything from blow jobs and transgender teens – it’s quite up to par when it comes to self esteem. I mean, most of us start to look at our self worth differently when we hit that age. Look at Kayla, she was a mere 13-years-old when she started to feel unlike the “pretty girls” that surrounded her in class. She wasn’t that far in age from when Terri, Emma and Toby battled with their weight in their own ways, and started to feel less than in comparison to their peers.
Terri was made to feel horrible because she was a little bigger than her classmates, but luckily she rose above it and became a plus-sized model. Then there was Emma who went through anorexia. Remember the scene with what I believe were french fries? Yes, overdramatic at times, but it goes to show how far teens will go to feel better about themselves. Plus, it showcases that this shit takes place early on in life and that it can never get better unless you seek help before it’s too late. Like Emma, Toby too was anorexic and that was compelling because it’s more likely to see a unicorn on a subway than it is to see a male suffering from something that’s often considered a “girl” problem.
Not to toot the Degrassi horn more than I usually do because I’d love for Linda Schuyler to see it, hire me and let me be free of the turmoil that may come with November’s election – but this show really broke grounds for a million and one issues we face as teens and often times later as adults, and low self-esteem was one of the major ones it has done in the past and continues to do so today. The aforementioned characters were all old school ones, but the show is continuing to do so with Shay and her yearning for a bigger backside when she thought it was the only way to land her crush.
Going there, all these years later. Which also proves this is something that will likely never go away. While we can have all the Dove campaigns in the world, a normal looking woman on Sports Illustrated and so forth and so on – we’re human and we will feel low about ourselves at least once in our life. Thankfully though, shows like Degrassi show us, whether we’re the target demographic or people nearing 30 who appreciate great programming, that it’s normal to have these types of thoughts and that there are ways to overcome them.