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On the other, more chilling hand, a constant feed of experiences means interpretations of illness can be easily warped.
Take Urban Outfitters’ “depression T-shirt,” or the well-documented and unconquerable pro-anorexia websites and Tumblr blogs as particularly saddening examples.
Then there’s the fact that the direct portrayal of BPD in pop culture is often over-the-top and disturbing—the character Dennis Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was diagnosed with it in season 10 (“Psycho Pete Returns”). Dennis who describes himself, without a shimmer of irony, as a “golden god”; who takes being compared to a serial killer as a compliment; who regularly allows trivialities to send him into fits of rage.
Dennis who takes girls out on boats to seduce them knowing they are less likely to say no “because of the implications.” This is hardly a fair or accurate portrayal of the disorder or how it affects people’s sexual and romantic realms.
After our affair flamed out, it took a number of years for me to even consider opening up again.
When I did, that partner bore witness to the opposite tendencies.
That’s not to say more accurate glimpses of BPD aren’t lurking in plain view all across popular culture.
The trope lambasts women for having emotions, existing mostly to invalidate feelings and to over-exaggerate the reaction women have for not accepting being ghosted, played, or treated poorly.While these representations are regularly problematic, there are some that seize the essence of BPD and help to communicate its existence, flattering or otherwise.Perhaps most pointedly, there is the psycho ex-girlfriend trope.I was so concerned with not making the mistakes of my first relationship again that I clung for months of intoxicating codependency.
We spent just two days apart during the course of a year-ish relationship, leaving us husks of the people we once were, lost in each others’ crazy by the time he (because of course I wasn’t going anywhere) called it a day.When it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder, the trope is a prime example of the ways in which women suffering from the condition are dismissed out of hand for experiencing emotions that may be extreme, but that are nonetheless valid.People diagnosed with BPD are as much as three times more likely to be women than men, which doesn’t help with the inherent misogyny surrounding how people think about the condition.BPD in Pop Culture While there are few apt, direct portrayals of BPD in broad society, representations manage to creep into common consciousness through TV, film, and music, leaving the public, at least subconsciously, more aware of the disorder than they may realize.