Teenage cultural romance with death:

Dear  Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Do Teenagers romanticize death?

My daughter is enamored with  Perry “If I die young”  Is this healthy?


-Concerned Mom

Dear  Mom,

Teenagers romanticize everything. Is it healthy? Hell, no!

Teenagers can be very literal in their perception of the world. Our culture has an underlying mythology which glorifies love and sacrifice as a means to redemption.  The combination of that literal perception and our cultural mythology works to feed our teen’s
dangerous flirtation with death. The Perry video you mentioned depicts this myth.

But more worrisome is the video by Eminem and Rihanna, which illustrates the consequences of it:


The fatalistic Romeo and Juliet type thinking depicted here is also popularized in Twilight.

It is just such dysfunctional romanticized bullshit that leads to chaotic sacrifice-based relationships. In our culture WE reinforce the notion that our naive daughters should find insane partners who expect and demand sacrifice from them.
Our daughters are taught to feel this is true love. They are just living out the story they have been taught.

They should instead be taught to protect themselves and run from anyone whom does not treat them with respect and equality. But in our culture, as the Eminem/Rihanna video stated, they “LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE!”

Dr. Brilliant Cliché


The Granny Doctor adds:
Teens romanticize everything because they have not yet had any real experience. They think that they have, because the ideas are in their heads- and in a teen’s mind, a feeling and a reality are the same thing. Until they come face to face with the real thing, it is pointless to try to reason with them. You can’t tell a teen anything- not unless you are Rihanna or Eminem or someone else who is not their parent or authority figure.

Granny wouldn’t dream of telling them anything. Instead, she will just share a story from her own teen years.

When I was growing up, I was an outsider. A hyper-sensitive artist from birth, I seemed to be living in a different world that neither I nor those around me understood. I was deeply
attracted to the idea of insanity because it made more sense to me than the other reality I felt no part in. I read books such as The Snake Pit and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, and The Bell Jar, and I felt I had finally found my peers. The idea of insanity and death seemed romantic and attractive, right up to the point where one of my closest friends was committed to a psychiatric ward and never came out.

My idea of insanity and death as ROMANTIC came to an end the week that Sandy locked herself in a closet and set herself on fire. What was left was the image of a charred, unconscious, lost young girl who died after two days of hellish pain without ever speaking

You will learn, teens, you will learn. Death is only romantic until the bowels loosen and the eyes roll back and the flatline keens it’s eerie song. That’s about all that Granny has
to say about the romance of death.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at dr.brilliantcliche@yahoo.com and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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2 Responses to Teenage cultural romance with death:

  1. melissa says:

    This is a great reminder for a forty something mom who can sometimes get very involved with the escape these false realities provide. I know I can feel discontent with my healthy marriage after I’ve finished another mediocre teen novel. How absolutely disillusioned our teenagers must feel when they enter into their first relationships and they don’t even come close to measuring up to the fantasies we’ve encouraged by not levelling them with a dose of reality!!!

  2. Dear Melissa,

    As the Granny Dr. always says, our teens aren’t likely listen to us anyway. They will learn in time. Some will continue to chase the dream and will grow old yet never disillusion, some will disillusion, some will fit what they find into their dream and call it a success, and some might find it. You can’t win if you don’t play the game we call life.

    Dr. Brilliant Cliché

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