The phrase “Netflix and chill” is embedded into mainstream culture as a euphemism for getting funky, while Netflix plays in the background. From Ariana Grande naming her Christmas EP “Christmas and Chill” to the Mets inviting their fans to a Netflix and Chill night, the phrase is viewed not only as a social term but as a marketing tool. In fact, in September 2015, Netflix went so far as to create their own “The Switch”, where couples can switch a button and the lights will dim, phones will automatically be put on “do not disturb” mode, and Netflix is activated.
While the normalization of sexual activity, when paired with necessary protection, marks a progressive move forward in society, it is essential to recognize the toxic implications of what it means to “Netflix and chill.” Now, whenever I receive the infamous text from a male counterpart, I fear my safety and overall well-being. I can no longer watch a television show or movie with a male friend, because I am aware of the underlying meaning behind Netflix and chill culture.
The idea of “Netflix and chill” is being capitalized heavily by media outlets in particular, invoking participants to expect sexual activity when “bae” comes over to watch the newest episode of New Girl. For example, Buzzfeed released an article titled “17 Texts Guaranteed To Land You A Netflix and Chill Sesh,” which bleeds directly into the idea that if a male buys their romantic interest dinner or promises Netflix and pizza, they’ll be guaranteed sex, completely undermining the consensual efforts that various organizations, governments, and leaders have sought to create.
I won’t Netflix and chill with you, because quite frankly, mainstream culture has ruined any chance for me to be able to have a good time with my male friends without feeling like they expect something in return. Movies are a form of art, and the purpose of art is to connect individuals into communities through the use of pluralistic perspectives. Some of my favorite memories have been made by laughing along to Will Ferrell, singing a Disney song, or falling in love with Noah and Allie’s story in The Notebook, but experiencing the emotions of a good film will no longer be possible as long as “Netflix and chill” culture perpetuates.
If you want more than a movie, make it clear to your partner. Don’t disguise your intentions behind a thinly clouded excuse to watch TV and hang out, because doing so misleads individuals into situations they do not deserve to be thrust into without their consent.