Younger audiences want less sex in movies and TV, study suggests
"They’ve grown tired of stereotypical, heteronormative storytelling that valorises romantic and/or sexual relationships."
The Center for Scholars & Storytellers (CSS), which is based in the Psychology Department at the University of Los Angeles (UCLA), seeks to examine youngsters perspectives on the entertainment and social media content they consume
through its annual teens and screens survey.
In its second year, the survey was designed to ask adolescents aged 10 to 24 across the US questions regarding what topics they wish to see in the content they watch, which media feels more authentic to them and more.
Data collected from 1,500 in this age bracket in August 2023 found that 51.5% agreed with the statement: "I want to see more content that focuses on friendships/platonic relationships."
This was as 33.3% had a "neutral" response to the question, while only 15.2% disagreed.
As well as this, a near majority of 44.3% felt that "romance in media is overused", while a "surprising" 39% stated they wanted to see "more aromantic and/or asexual characters on screen".
Also noteworthy is that 47.5% of adolescents surveyed said they believed that "sex isn’t needed for the plot of most TV shows and movies".
HBO series The Idol caused controversy this year for its sexual content
The survey report also noted: "The stereotype of how romantic relationships are included and often feel unnatural, forced, or toxic was ranked 4 out of the top 10 most disliked stereotypes.
"The top stereotypes/tropes mentioned in this category included relationships being necessary to be happy, male and female leads always having to end up together romantically, love triangles, and more."
A summary included in the report states that "Gen Z’s values and desires reach depths beyond what society has typically explored".
"As demonstrated in this report, they’ve grown tired of stereotypical, heteronormative storytelling that valorises romantic and/or sexual relationships – especially ones that are toxic – and are looking for more representations of friendship, which is a core aspect of adolescence and social well-being," it added.
Gen Z is defined as members of the generation of people born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s.
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