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Degrassi, Teens, and Rape Apologism

A recent plot line in popular teen drama “Degrassi: the Next Generation” featured what was, for all rights and purposes, date rape. Instead of taking the standard track for the show, “Degrassi” ignored the issue and made the abusive actions of character Declan all right to thousands of teens watching.

If you are unfamiliar with “Degrassi”, you can watch the episodes in question (Love Lockdown Parts 1 and 2) here

Oh, Degrassi. What hath thou wrought?

Background: Tackling issues that many teen dramas often avoid, or get wrong, Degrassi wins awards for its cliched and intense portrayal of high school life. Early years of the Next Generation saw several plotlines getting censored on American television: an abortion, a lesbian relationship, drug usage and consequences, school violence. Now Canadian and American networks work closely together to ensure that the programming is top notch and groundbreaking, including, earlier this year, the first transgender young adult on television (which was, by the way, handled incredibly).

The range of success in portraying teen issues varies, but ever since the original incarnation of ‘Degrassi Junior High’ in the 1980s, the show has been used as a teaching tool for social situations and family discussions. In the absence of after school specials about what the kids get into these days, it is shows like Degrassi that perhaps show youth positive options to problems they may face.

A History of Rape: Degrassi is no stranger to rape. In season two, bitchy cheerleader Paige was ...