Younger Americans are increasingly interested in watching movies and shows that prioritize friendships and platonic relationships over explicit sex scenes.
According to a new study by the University of California Los Angeles's Center for Scholars and Storytellers, over half of the 1,500 participants between the ages of 10 and 24 expressed a greater preference for relatable narratives with a reduced emphasis on romance.
In the study, 51.5% said they want to see more content on friendships and platonic relationships, while 44.3% found "romance in media is overused," about 39% wish to see more representations of "aromantic and/or asexual characters," and 47.5% believe that sex is not crucial for most TV shows and movie plots.
But this doesn't necessarily mean they aren't interested in content that has sex scenes; they just want that to not be the main focus, and for different types of relationships to be portrayed.
"I don't like [that] every time a male and female character are together on screen, studios feel the need to make them fall [in] love. There’s a complete lack of platonic relationships in American cinema," said a 17-year-old who was surveyed.
Some respondents mentioned that the excessive focus on sex in plots can create awkward moments while watching shows.
"When there's media with too much sex, me and my friends often feel uncomfortable," said a 16-year-old survey respondent.
According to the study, this trend could also be attributed to the younger generation's desire to stay single, with 56% of Gen Z believing that more people in their social circles prefer to be unattached, with 44% of those saying they “would rather clean the toilet than go on another online date.”
The study listed the top 10 things they would rather watch instead, and the top six include more uplifting and hopeful content, action and fight scenes, anything involving superheroes, friendships, and family relationships.
Also in the study, 35.7% of those surveyed said the most important reason they want to watch lighter content is to “escape and take their minds off things."
Furthermore, sorry Disney, but the study also shows that 56% of those surveyed prefer original content over franchises and remakes. And HBO, listen up; the younger generation prefers to binge-watch rather than wait for weekly drops.
And of course, social media remains king as their top choice in how they consume information, with 38% of those who use social media saying that TikTok is the "most authentic" platform.
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