With the number of things that make me want to pull out my hair it’s a wonder that I still have strands attached to my scalp. Today I focus on romantic comedies. Last month as part of her g status piece2peace shared a solidarity comment from her big friend (shout out to Nayani), “both of us, us diehard rom-com loving womyn
of colour soldiers of love”. I wish
ed I could join them. But I can’t. Romantic comedies make my head hurt. I go through my binges where there isn’t one that can get past me but in the end it always has me feeling the same way.
Taking a break. It was clouding my vision, judgement and emotions. You know on sitcoms they always make jokes about the guy who watches too much porn, how he begins to see sexual situations in even the most mundane activities.* All of a sudden, every moment in my life, every conversation I have with someone has romantic undertones. Were they sending me a message? Were they hinting to something? Is this person trying to manipulate me? Break time!
Why I stopped taking a break. Yeah, nothing revolutionary here, I just ran out of things to watch. Television on the internet is a HORRIBLE thing.
Why I’m breaking again. What’s Your Number? This was the most painful reintroduction to the genre and reminded me of why I just can’t do it anymore/ need to stay on my break a while longer.
- The title alone made me do some addition (and subtraction); not a good place to start.** This is a topic I’ve read about a good few times in blogs; even had the discussion with a few people that’s become increasingly abstract and hypothetical with my age and number. 🙂
- In the first ten minutes of the movie the protagonist gets:
- dumped by her boyfriend
- loses her job
- finds out her “number” is twice that of the national average
- Now, if you had to prioritise which of these three things you would focus on you would choose? This for me was one of the more offensive premises of the movie. That a young single woman with rent to pay would not make finding a job her primary priority over finding long-term commitment.
- The manipulation. Romantic comedies are all about manipulation. Women and men are constantly engaged in a seeming battle to out-manipulate and out-deceive each other. Presenting this as par for the course in films begins to make us think that level of dishonesty is not just okay, but healthy.
- Glorification of low self-esteems. Now this may be a result of my interest in the field of mental health but I strongly believe that a lot of people could benefit from counselling. We’re supposed to find this young woman who is need of direction, who morphs into mirrored images of her boyfriends, who is not assertive, who they really make seem pathetic… pity would also be a bad response for them to try to elicit from us but at least we wouldn’t be presented to us as “cute”.
- The idea that she should undo her history, wipe her slate clean with a husband prospect was enforced to the very end. If she could just mate permanently all her “indiscretions of the past are forgiven, her womanhood is once again restored.
- The speech at the end of romantic comedies made of commitment is bullshit. There is no indication of how they’re going to work through all their issues. Will they magically disappear now that one person has said something sentimental and heart warming?
*Not to negate Audre Lorde’s insistence that there is erotic in all that we do and we should actively seek it out.
** The misogyny inherent in the double standards surrounding sexual partners is blatant. The “truth” about your “number is not absolute. It depends on your definitions, your culture, your perspective, your sexuality, your history. This means the answer will probably vary with time and not just the number of people you’ve had some form of intimacy with. Do you people, make the best choices for yourself in your circumstances and better choices*** in the future based on your experience.
*** no sex, more sex, trying a new technique, perfecting a new technique, all with enthusiastic consent from your partners(s)