Dear rom coms…

I hate you. I’d love to say it’s not personal, but let’s face it. I can’t put up with anymore belittling, condescension and controlling behaviour on your part. It’s completely personal; I want nothing to do with any of you anymore.

Every time it’s the same. There’s a rom com on, and I think ‘Hey, maybe it’s going to be different, the reviews were good,’ and then it’s not. It’s the same pattern, always: a cunning approach (‘Hi my Nice and Girly Viewer! Let’s talk about Girl Stuff and Romance and Lovely Quirky People and let’s have Lot’s of Laughs together with a Fun and Light-Hearted Story!’). And like every single controlling and manipulative asshole out there, you don’t reveal your true colours until much, much later, when I’m already very depressed and I just stay there watching to the end for some reason even if I’d much rather be somewhere nicer like freezing my arse off under the rain waiting for a bus that never comes.

This is over. Here are all the things I don’t want to hear anymore:

I don’t want to hear my life’s rubbish unless I manage to get married. It’s not because it makes me feel inadequate as a single person, because I’m emphatically not single. No; it makes me feel belittled and insulted as a woman. Single or not doesn’t change a thing.

I’m tired of women being presented as ‘special’ because they’re not utterly perfect. Being clumsy is an endearing flaw? Yeah, how about showing us women who can actually hold a glass in their hands without breaking it and needing a man to pick up the pieces?

I don’t want to be lectured on ‘normal’ relationships. Ever. Again. I don’t want to be told what’s acceptable and what’s not, or to be told about when it’s ‘normal’ to get engaged or how cheating is so horrible it justifies any amount of violence (yes, I’m looking at you, Formidably Creepy Silver Linings Playbook) or what’s an acceptable fib and what’s a terrible lie or what length you should go to if you want to get back with someone or that delusional jealousy is okay and endearing. That’s none of your business.

I don’t want to be lectured about ‘normal’ sexuality either. Could we do ourselves a collective favour and ditch ‘normal’ altogether from that area? Especially since ‘normal’ seems to imply no communication at all, enough heteronormativity to make you sick and lovely assumptions about women being natural submissives, men being natural dominants and everybody liking to be ‘pushed’ a little from time to time.

Speaking of being ‘pushed’: ever heard of that little thing called ‘rape culture’? Yeah, we don’t really need reinforcing the belief that it’s less okay to ask than to risk making someone do something they don’t really want. If you think aggressiveness is sexy, it’s your problem. Just please don’t advertise it as the normal thing to like in blockbusters.

I don’t want to hear that violence is not that serious and as long as you’re honest, you can be as aggressive as you like (Silver Linings Playbook, you know, I’m not even sure you should exist at all). In fact, I don’t want to hear ANY excuses for aggressiveness and violence, period. And yes, yelling and breaking things COUNTS as violence. It’s not ‘needing to vent’. It’s imposing your anger on people who may be dealing with their own things, but perhaps just have the decency to do it without yelling at the world for no reason.

Oh, and I’m tired of Youth, Beauty and Wealth as well. Give me a rom com starring Judi Dench and Ron Perlman and perhaps I’ll start paying attention again.

Wait. Perhaps that has something to do with me not wanting to hear about Real Men and Real Women again either. Alpha males and females? Very funny, ha ha ha, oh wait, when people somehow start to believe there must be a grain of truth in that particular urban legend (because if there’s smoke all over the media, there should be a fire somewhere, right?), it seems to make their lives very miserable. Femininity, masculinity? Such an intimate part of our identities is for us to decide, not for some badly informed media to lecture us about (Gail Carriger, you’re a great writer, but all that stuff about glamorous Alphas? Even if it’s tongue-in-cheek, it’s not remotely funny)

And I don’t need to hear any more crap about The One. I’m not particularly keen on being told that everybody I know who ever had a break-up or a divorce made a big mistake and failed at finding Prince Charming, thanks. People break up. They divorce. Fact. And perhaps we should start to accept that lasting forever is not the only condition for a relationship to be successful.

So here’s the deal. I’ll start paying attention again when someone gives me a light-hearted, funny, romantic comedy about people who don’t look like much but have great personalities, who don’t care about Happily Ever After, who have lives, who are not dying to fit into the heteronormative Alpha Male/Ideal Woman model, who have imperfect bodies, who can screw up their sex lives and then have an honest talk about it and convert awkwardness into giggles and make it okay, who want things beside living in a fairytale and who manage to be happy nonetheless.

Until then, we’re done.

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