Today is Valentine’s Day, which means lots of chocolate, teddy bears, and single ladies being made to feel especially inadequate. Some might celebrate Galentine’s Day instead, some might skip on acknowledging the holiday at all, and some, myself included, will be holed up watching romantic comedies.
The internet is filled with lists of which rom-coms will “get you through” Valentine’s Day” — the assumption seems to be that, otherwise, we singles would be festering alone in our living rooms, drinking vodka and singing “All By Myself” à la Bridget Jones. I enjoy the genre, but as a feminist I have some qualms.
Romantic comedies, particularly “the classics” of the genre, can be problematic by today’s standards of feminism. Movies like Pretty Woman and Princess Bride tend to perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes and romanticize men’s predatory behavior. Not to mention they are usually limited to depicting heterosexual relationships between an attractive cis man and an equally, perhaps even more, attractive cis woman. (LGBTQ folks: Here’s a list of rom-coms that drown out the heteronormative noise.) Lastly, if rom-coms are marketed to single women, then why are they mostly written and directed by men? (That’s a rhetorical question.)
Despite all this, rom-coms are stunningly popular. How do you reconcile your love of rom-coms with your staunch feminism?
Monique Jones, a pop culture critic and entertainment journalist, says that it’s OK if you like problematic rom-coms. “That doesn’t make us any less of an activist, it doesn’t make us any less down for the cause. It’s just being a human …read more