People Are Fed Up With “Heartwarming, Feel Good” News Stories That Are Just Dystopian Nightmares

There is genuinely nothing heartwarming about poverty and perseverance porn.

poverty porn heartwarming news stories

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

With the pandemic throwing a lot of people out of jobs that provided stable income, and often times, access to healthcare for Americans, there’s been a significant rise in “feel good” stories of people doing anything they can to make it through these tough times.

But the issue is these stories aren’t heartwarming at all. They’re dystopian, and are really just systemic failures, social injustices and capitalism gone mad framed as heartwarming tales to distract the public from the real issues at hand.

For example, last week ABC7 News tried to frame a story about a child throwing away her college savings to avoid homelessness as a “feel good” human interest story.

“Texas teen Alondra Carmona is giving up her entire college savings to help pay for her mom’s rent and prevent her being evicted,” the story push read, paired with a smiling image of the child.

This is not normal, nor heartwarming, nor a sweet story. It’s not inspiring. It’s a sad, dystopian nightmare that highlights the problems in the way society operates, where children have to give up their futures to help those that the government refuses to.

Similarly, just last month NBC shared a story where “a high school principal picks up overnight job at Walmart” to help students in need with “every paycheque going towards helping his students”.

But instead of investigating why a hard-working American had to pick up a second job to help students instead of the government assisting, the outlet just framed the story as a tale of a man who has “been giving back to others since he was a child”.

Sadly, these stories haven’t just cropped up because of the pandemic. These depressing tales of “positive news” stories have been around for years.

Last year, media romanticised the bleak story of co-workers “heartwarmingly” “donating their sick days” to a nurse who ran out of personal leave as she battled leukemia. Then there was the 9-year-old who was praised for paying off the school lunch debts of his entire class after “saving his allowance”, when “school lunch debt” for children is definitely something that shouldn’t even exist.

How about the 60-year-old woman who was given a car by her community because her walking 12 miles to work six days a week was a “symbol of hard work and determination” instead of a sign of how poorly she must be paid to work so much and still not be able to afford life’s bare necessities?

Of course, there was also the article about the 89-year-old pizza delivery man who was gifted with a “surprise tip of $12,000”, that didn’t even question why someone so old still needed to work.

Basically, these “positive news stories” suck because people shouldn’t need to struggle or go without to be able to live — and we shouldn’t be glamourising these horrific stories of unnecessary sacrifice at the hands of capitalism as perseverance and poverty porn.

But now people are fed up, and have created the “Heartwarming” meme to call out the sheer ridiculousness of these “feel good stories” by taking the tales to the extreme.

Taking the meme to the next level, people have even begun to point out the issues in these “wholesome” stories by spinning pop culture’s most questionable storylines into ~inspiring tales~ worthy of their own human interest stories.

Demonstrating just how easy it is to twist horrific tales into feel good moments, Breaking Bad, The Hunger Games and even Parasite were the perfect examples of why these “positive” and “heartwarming” stories sold to us by the media just suck so incredibly much.

How uplifting and beautiful :’).