Introducing The Next Generation Of Leaders And Thinkers

But Actually, One Tree Hill Was Quite Feminist

Not too long ago, I started watching One Tree Hill on Netflix due to family and friends’ continuous recommendations. My hopes weren’t too high when I started the show a few months ago and could only get through three episodes after witnessing a lot of slut-shaming and non-stop basketball talk, which are two things I’m not very fond of. Now being two seasons in, the show has covered a lot of important issues and managed to grab my attention. My obsession with 90s and early 2000’s fashion (low rise jeans, velvet tank tops, small handbags) had a lot to do with my enjoying. Between cheesy lines and predictable plots, there are a lot of good lessons to be learned from this fan-favorite.

In the eighth episode of season 2, Brooke organized a sleepover with Haley, Peyton, and Anna. After a fight broke out and secrets were revealed, the girls had a heart-to-heart and said what was on their minds. After Haley revealed she didn’t tell her husband Nathan she was recording a song with a guy he didn’t have a good feeling about, they all questioned why the men in their lives were unapologetic with pursing their interests. Anna’s speech was especially memorable and highlighted the struggle girls have to go through. “There is a double standard for girls and there always will be. Don’t be too fat or too thin, or too dark or too light. Don’t be too sexual or too chaste, or too smart or too dumb. Be yourself. But make sure you fit in.” Anna’s character is extremely important due to her bisexuality. She struggles with her identity and revealing herself to the world around her.

A pleasant surprise for me was the feminist quotes from basically all of the female characters. Haley questioned why she started letting men dictate her happiness, and Peyton acknowledged the struggle of being female in a man’s world. The most unforeseen but intriguing feminist character is Brooke Davis, no question. At the beginning of the first season, Brooke was known as the careless partier that only cherished getting a boy’s attention. After giving her heart to Lucas which resulted in his infidelity, Brooke started making herself her number one priority. She ran for (and won) student body president, refused expensive gifts from her boyfriend Felix after she fell out of her rich and lavish life, and gave her friends girl-positive pep talks through their conflicts. She reminded Haley she could do whatever she wanted and still be a girl, made it clear she stopped letting boys define her and started to believe in herself, and knew that she was going to be labeled but decided to overcome it anyway.

From all of these empowering life lessons, the bad has to fit in somewhere, and it sure did in the second season. As Nathan and Haley deal with their teenage marriage and struggling to keep afloat with no financial support from family, Haley puts on a brave face and decides to purse a career in music. Nathan starts out extremely supportive, like using their savings to buy her a keyboard and denying a Grade A basketball camp in order to let Haley have somewhere to shine. Until a duet with an arrogant talent Chris Keller makes Nathan extremely jealous. At that point, he had no reason to distrust Haley, but he told Haley she had to stop recording with him even though Chris had all the right connections to make her a star. Haley and Chris did share a kiss after this, which would understandably infuriate Nathan. Haley had no intention of continuing her affair with Chris, but she was offered a spot on a tour Chris was opening for. Unfairly, Nathan said Haley had to choose between him and the tour. Nathan had every right to be upset, but during the time Haley was on tour, the students at Tree Hill High talked down on her, and didn’t think she was brave to go after a once in a lifetime opportunity. Yes, it could’ve been executed better, but as much as I love Naley, I feel that she made the right choice.

Starting out, you may not appreciate this TV drama like me, but the characters and their developments just may win you over. I can only imagine what’s to come in the next seven seasons.

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