How Wattpad Ruined a Generation

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Wattpad is the home of fan fiction from Santana and Brittany from Glee to One Direction, Wattpad will have your fan fiction needs fulfilled. It has also been the home to many (and I mean many) cheesy Netflix original movies such as After, which was originally One Direction fanfic with a 50 Shades of Grey vibe. After was a huge part of any young One Direction fan, it focused on the relationship, albeit an extremely toxic one, of Harry Styles and Tessa Young. Wattpad saw teenagers from the ages 13-16 years old becoming authors on this free storytelling site reciting their very own love story with their favourite celebrity or two people they wish were a couple, for example, there is plenty of Demi Lovato and Jennifer Lawrence fanfiction depicting them as a lesbian couple.

It is a site that merges Tumblr with teenagers’ sexual fantasies and whilst I can admit to once being a huge Wattpad fan and at the age of 14 anticipating the arrival of After the movie, I must admit it also destroyed my life. Everyone who has ever been on Wattpad knows they can no longer get on a plane without thinking your mum has sold you off to Harry Styles to pay for her rent. And that Harry’s first words to you will be “hello luv” whilst you flick your long brunette hair in the wind (yes planes have wind on them now). Or going into surgery for a new heart and finding out Zayn Malik gave you his heart. Quite literally.

Wattpad made it virtually impossible not to bring a book, preferably by Jack Keroac, to a concert because “you are not like the other girls”. At 13, you’d do a full body shave to go to One Direction concert knowing one of the boys will spot you in the crowd looking disinterested and reading a book as your friend “forced you” to attend. Basically, think Starstruck, the Disney Channel Original movie, but instead you are the protagonist, and this is real life.

Though there is the humorous side which sees ‘y/n’ (your name) meet the Jonas Brothers backstage and then you run away and marry all three of them, Wattpad has a dark and toxic side that is never usually discussed. Many of the fanfics we idolised as teenagers glamorise abuse and predatory behaviour, for example in After, Harry throws a lamp at Tessa for coming home late – behaviour we shouldn’t be teaching impressionable minds who could consider this behaviour usual in a relationship. It also touches on themes surrounding sex and sexuality and dismissing that ‘no means no’ by showing famous individuals forcing themselves on the protagonist of the story as something cute and romantic.

Wattpad has played a huge role in the coming of age years for many teens from across the globe and the name of the site can strike memories of disbelief at your love for hiding your smut on the bus. It was a platform that allowed young creatives to flourish despite the stories being incredibly questionable. However, though it saw teens explore themes of sexuality it did so in ways that glamorise and promote abuse which is why Wattpad has ruined the minds of our generation.

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Editor 2020/21 and a History student with a Britney Spears addiction.

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