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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Toxic Side of Rom Coms

 I have a love/hate relationship with romantic comedies. The girly part of me loves love and the inevitable happy ending. Who doesn't love a happy ending????

The thing is, the dynamic is often so unhealthy - as Chloe Angyal writes:

"Scholars of the romantic comedy call this kind of story a "cold-hearted redemption plot," a story about a person – usually a man – whose cold, hard exterior is melted by the love of one special woman. Barbot de Villeneuve isn't the only one to blame for this idea, of course, because you could just as easily call it "The Mr. Darcy Myth." Many of the stories we tell ourselves, as a culture, perpetuate this idea that if a man treats you badly, the correct course of action is to stick around, love him, and wait for the power of your love to change him."

My life has been so screwed up by this paradigm - believing the man who treats you badly really really loves you, and if you just love him enough you will change his chilly ways and you will glide into the land of happily ever after with your newly reformed bad boy.

The thing is, if someone really loves you they don't hurt you. They care about your feelings and don't need to be changed. These movies continue to perpetuate the myth that you can tell how much a man likes you by how badly he treats you. The it hurts so good thing has got to end.

The lie begins in childhood when the boy who allegedly likes you knocks you down on the playground, makes you cry, and some one plants the seed... he did that because he likes you! And so it begins...

I know I am not alone in being infinitely patient waiting for a guy to treat me the way I know I deserve to be treated. Like many women I excuse bad behavior rationalizing it with tales of bad childhoods, broken hearts, stress and confusion. But the thing is, love shouldn't hurt. If someone loves you they show up when you're sick, when you've had a car accident, (a friend recently told me the guy she's been seeing didn't offer to come get her after an accident) they are kind and communicate with you - even when it's hard.

It's time to stop the madness and stop equating love with being ignored and confused. I am determined to be a writer who writes love stories that don't put women into the role of patient life changer just waiting for the guy to wake up and finally treat them well. Because that's what we've seen on film and playgrounds for years.

My hope is that not only will Hollywood start changing  how love stories play out, but even more than that, I want us to stop thinking that love is something we have to work for rather than something that is generously given. We deserve it.

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