Opinion: Romantic comedies are ruining romance

by Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer 
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Romantic comedies historically use repetitive and over romanticized acts of service in order to create unrealistic expectations for romantic relationships and to create a culture of unhealthy expectations for love.

Within the wide expanse of movie genres that exist in Hollywood today, romantic comedies are some of the most misogynistic and poorly written films that are released. Romantic comedies, most commonly referred to as rom-coms, perpetuate harmful stereotypes surrounding relationships and a woman’s role within them. 

One of the worst is the idea that grand gestures are all it takes to make a relationship work. The insinuation that stopping a wedding, running into traffic, making a grand speech or racing through an airport are all that is required to maintain a healthy relationship is damaging. 

In one of the most popular rom-coms of all time, Love Actually, almost every character “proves” their love in a grandiose, public and painful way: gathering an entire village to witness a proclamation of love, kissing in front of a crowd at a school play and yes, running through an airport to profess love to a girl about to board a plane. 

All of these rom-coms with big entrances, wedding crashers and airport racers only teach one thing: that love is only based on the grand gestures.

 Real love is about the day to day, the hard things, the fights. In romcoms, the real, tried and true relationships end in Act 1, where Obvious Douchebag dumps or gets dumped, and the weight of what is sold and marketed as true love is put solely on the act of one man crashing the party. 

These rom-coms then push Obvious Douchebag to the front while the real creeps who stalk, obsess and insult are somehow portrayed as protagonists. Unsolicited and unreciprocated “romantic” gestures earn points to be traded in for sex. And none of these guys deserve it. 

Say Anything is just about a creepy stalker whose only goal is being with a pretty girl. She’s All That is about a bet meant to humiliate a girl. Pretty Woman is a rich man talking a sex worker off the streets, humiliating and insulting her, and ultimately forcing her to be the only version of a woman he could ever accept. 

Anything by Woody Allen is just Woody Allen sucking his own d*ck. 

Countless rom-coms begin with powerful and accomplished women being convinced that without a man, their happiness is worthless and their success isn’t worth that much. 

Cue said-woman performing all the emotional labor in a relationship with a man who wouldn’t even scratch her back. That is until the last 20 minutes when she realizes she can do so much better, and he makes previously mentioned grand gesture to convince her to stay. 

I count it as a plot hole if the comedian who wrote the plot plays the main guy. 

First of all, no one needs a romantic relationship to fulfill them or to make them happy. People should choose to be in a relationship because they want to be in a relationship, not because they believe a relationship will somehow make them whole. 

Rom-coms are propaganda. They are made by men for women to convince them that, yes, the sleazy guy who doesn’t deserve you but can hold a boombox above his head is the one for you. Or, yes, the guy who didn’t think you were pretty until you took your glasses off and only asked you out on a dare is your soulmate.

They are telling every woman: settle, do the work, carry the relationship and maybe one day you’ll get the grand gesture you’ve been waiting for and dreaming of. You’d be better off turning the rom-com off and picking something else to watch.