My shoutout to the romantic comedy genre part of the movie industry? PLEASE give us women some more credit!
It was a relaxing Friday night, my flatmates and I wanted to enjoy our evening with an easy-to-watch movie and some drinks. We settled for one of those typical romantic comedies, in which boy meets girl and it is all about their love story. This particular movie stuck out from others in the same genre because it really made me angry and frustrated. Angry enough for me to call my partner and have a rant about how angry I was. Angry enough for me to still think about it after a week. And before you ask me what I was expecting from such a movie, I am gonna tell you right now that that is exactly my point.
Without wanting to generalise things too much, I would say that statistically speaking the people who want to watch movies like these are mostly women. (Yeah, I know men watch these movies volunatrily as well.) And yet, despite of the large female audience, I feel like everything that happens in these movies is so anti-women. They are just taking any credibility, strength, power, awesomeness away from women. I hardly see anything empowering about the woman’s representation in these movies. On the contrary, it seems that they don’t have their own will but just act passively along the story line. Yes, this is something to be noticed in almost any film regardless of their genre label. But what made me think about the rom-com genre specifically is that for this particular genre the main audience is expected to be women as determined by our wonderful society. So you would expect that at least these movies to be woman-positive. And on top of the fact that every movie genre should employ a better representation of women, the fact that rom-coms fail to this miserably (and sometimes even worse than other genres) frustrated me even more.
I wanted to describe in greater details why the movie mentioned at the beginning made me so angry, but after trying it twice, it just felt out of place. What really annoyed me about the movie is the fact that despite the male protagonist’s hideous actions and behaviour, the female lead still ends up with him and forgives all he has done. It really bothers me that women in movies never seem to end up with actual quality guys (or just people of any gender for that matter) that are worth the woman’s attention. As far as I can remember, most male lead characters are major idiots and also screw up big times during the movie, but this does not prevent the woman from falling in love because no matter what, she will have to give into his “charms”. But why? Women deserve way more than just to succumb to idiots just because they showed some kind of deep feelings or bothered buying flowers for them. Apparentely the first sign of the guy having some basic human traits is all it takes for him to be seen as prince charming.
In another movie I watched at the beginning of this year, the guy who at this point considers himself a friend of the girl, does not show up at her father’s funeral because he doesn’t want to give the impression that he wants to commit to something serious. At the end, he ruins an event she organised so he can have the typical monologue about how sorry he is and his blue teary eyes are again enough for the girl to forgive him. Seriously? Not only was he a jerk for not supporting her through the toughest time of her life (he did meet the father beforehand) but also did not show any respect for her interests and just walks into her event with the justification that he is a romantic who wants to give an “impressive” apology. NO! Just go away.
I won’t even go on about how creepy behaviour is romanticised in those movies and how wrong this just is. It is just such a shame that the women are represented as being vulnerable and “weak” to the point that they don’t have an own will in the storyline and are just there in function of the male character. It makes me really sad. Why do we have to forgive the guy just because of some subjective romantic gesture? Because he dares to show some feelings in front of other people? Why does this seem to be the only requirement needed for the woman to run after him? And on another note, why is she always the one who gets mad/upset? Why can’t the man be “vulnerable” once and be hurt by the woman’s action?
Why do I still watch these movies and expect more? Because I want to believe that I should be able to watch a movie about a romantic relationship involving comedy for my entertainment without being ashamed of it or seeing it as a guilty pleasure. It should be seen as simple entertainment, like other genres. Why can’t this genre have quality movies? Is it because the audience is indeed mainly women? Well if that’s the reason, then at least make the movie enjoyable for us to watch and show us some bad-ass women on screen! Be the genre to show other movies the example!
Sometimes you are not in the mood for something deep, criminal, horrific, actiony, but just want to have a good laugh and a light-hearted feeling at the end of the movie. Why would such a movie not be a good option? I also wish that I could enjoy a movie without getting angry because the idiot just got away with his stupid actions and ends up with the amazing female protagonist. I will keep on watching this type of movies in the hope that one day the movies demonstrate a balanced funny relationship between two people (no matter what gender, huh) that I can just enjoy watching.
Here is also a link leading to a comic that mentions same issues in another movie genre: