Pretty Little Liars Has a Groomer Problem
Pretty Little Liars isn’t the type of show I’d normally be interested in, but one of my coworkers convinced me to watch it. She’d described it as Gossip Girl meets murder mystery. She even started asking me how far I’d gotten into the show and what I thought about it.
Pretty Little Liars opens the night of a sleepover where one girl disappears, before quickly cutting to the ‘present day’. Allison (the girl who disappeared) is presumed dead and her group of friends have drifted apart. The girls come back together when they began receiving harassing messages. The sender, A, knows secrets about each of the girls and plans to extort them.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I wasn’t a fan of the show and only got through the first season. I wanted to stop watching long before, but my coworker insisted it would get better. I thought the reason the show wasn’t interesting was because I wasn’t the intended target audience. The show is loosely based on a book series of the same name, both are intended for teenage girls.
The show was certainly popular when it aired. There was even a picture of the girls in the window at the mall where I worked. I couldn’t go into a bookstore without seeing the books. The girls were fashion icons and often made best-dressed lists. There was no shortage of girls who wanted to dress like them, or even lead lives like theirs.
The popularity of Pretty Little Liars is exactly why I have an issue with it. While I haven’t read the books, I have seen more than enough of the show to realize that there’s an issue with the relationships portrayed within the series.
Early on, we learn that one girl regularly steals her older sister’s boyfriends. Another regularly had flings with older men, but the worst of these relationships is the one that occurs between one of the main couples, Aria and Ezra.
Aria is sixteen when she meets and ‘hooks up’ her twenty-three-year-old teacher. The teacher and student have discussions about the relationship and decide to keep it hidden from others, often meeting at his apartment or in his car. The relationship is so…