Coming Out


As a teenager, I noticed I was different from most people, and I was shamed for it.
I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to fit in. So I learnt to hide who I really was... 

To hide in the closet.

But by my late 20’s I got tired of trying to be something I’m not.  I realised I had to find the courage to speak my truth, even if my voice wobbled.

I had to come out of the closet and proclaim ...
that I am, without a doubt, a lover of… 

Romantic Comedies! 
[cue applause]

As an out and proud radical, I can't tell you how many people who publicly criticize rom coms, secretly come up to me and tell me all about their favorite rom coms (and make me promise not to tell anyone!)... Okay, I will tell you... it's a lot!  

Why?

Why are there so many people in the rom com closet?

It’s 2018, and I’m here to tell you, you don't have to feel ashamed anymore!

I'm going to blow apart 4 common beliefs that contribute to this silly stigma so we can celebrate rom coms once and for all!  (This may seem like a fun, lighthearted topic, and it is, but, just like a good romantic comedy, there's more to it than meets the eye...)

1.  ROM COMS ARE DUMB

No, rom coms are underestimated due to interpretations of denotative, rather than connotative meaning. In other words, their literal meaning rather than their emotional meaning.  But when we carefully analyse a quality romantic comedy we discover that they are actually rich in semantics, diversity and substance.

Yes, I'm using some fancy words to prove that Rom com lovers aren't total airheads!
But what I’m saying makes sense.  So often we believe common opinions because there’s an element of truth on the surface, but if we dig deeper and ask different questions, we might find different answers… are rom coms intelligent?

Rom coms are emotionally intelligent.  Our society values academic intelligence much more highly and yet many studies have shown that IQ only accounts for… 

20% of success!

The major determinants of success are actually social and emotional intelligence!

So, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Just because rom coms are pretty, doesn’t mean they’re stupid. 

2. ROM COMS ARE CHICK FLICKS

The idea that rom coms are just for women is so silly and completely inaccurate!

I'll tell you a few secrets...

One of my ex boyfriends, his favorite films were The Wedding Singer and Girls Just Want To Have fun!
A Good (straight) male friend's favorite TV show is Sex and The City.
A guy I dated held, what he called, "Rom Com Sundays", at his place.  Every Sunday afternoon, him and his mates would sit around hungover watching rom coms together!

It's not that rom coms aren't for men, it's that our definition of masculinity needs updating.  This archaic view that men are simple, violent cavemen is so outdated!  After hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, we're finally coming to appreciate that true masculinity is a man who is confident to express both his masculine and feminine sides. 

Studies have shown that men are actually capable of experiencing the same level of emotional responses as women, and sometimes more!  It's just that, due to being conditioned to express their emotions, women are often more aware of and better able to communicate their emotions.

All men, just like women, have a heart, and the capacity to love.  Love is the most powerful force in the universe and has been proven to cure hate, disease and war.  Everyone deserves access to that magic.

All men, just like women, love to laugh.  Laughter, known as "the best medicine" is a natural pain reliever, and not only does it feel incredible, it has the power to shift us from anger to love.

Two of the most powerful (non gender biased) forces on this earth are...

Love and Laughter!  

In other words... Romance and Comedy!  

Don’t we all want more love and laughter in our lives? Isn’t love the purpose of life?

3. ROM COMS ARE UNCOOL

Why are rom coms the dorky kid at school?  They get picked on for being too cheesy, too sappy, too corny, and even although most people secretly like them, they’re too embarrassed to admit it for fear of getting picked on.  How old are we?... 12?

Why are violent, cynical, abusive, tortured artist films the cool kids on the block?
Do we actually like them, or are we just falling for peer pressure?

In high school I remember pretending to like Pulp Fiction because I wanted a boy to like me. I memorised one of the monologues - it had a lot of swearing in it - and I thought I was very cool!  And yeah, the boy was impressed.  But then he ended up dumping me anyway... what a waste of time!

Why are Tarantino films the cool kid, while Hallmark Channel films get teased?

Who made hate edgy and cool, and love soppy and dorky?

Maybe we should look at who's behind violent films such as Sin City, Tjango and The Hateful Eight.  The production company behind these films was...
The Weinstein Company!  Need I say more?

Maybe we should be calling Tarantino films a guilty pleasure instead of rom coms...

We left school a long time ago.  It might be time to question what we really want to watch, rather than just following trends, reviews, and the crowd.
Who cares what’s cool, watch what feels good!

Speaking of what feels good, the final belief is that maybe...

4.  VIOLENCE FEELS MORE COMFORTABLE THAN INTIMACY

People watch hours of violence on tv, but put a super sappy Hallmark Channel scene in front of us and we’re like “Aaaah!! My eyes, my eyes! turn it off!” 

According to this reaction, it seems that our biggest fear isn't violence or death, our biggest fear... is Intimacy!

Why does intimacy make us so uncomfortable? 

Rom coms are therapeutic and nourishing to our soul.  Disturbing dramas about violence, rape and suicide - not so much.  But they’re considered more “artistic” and they’re more likely to get an academy award.  I think The academy might have some intimacy issues.

Why do we find corny so unpalatable, but violence - totally digestible!

There's a misconception that violence and anger is strong, and love and vulnerability is weak, when the complete opposite is true. Being emotionally exposed is terrifying to most people. But, studies have shown, that, just like working out a muscle at the gym, the more we exercise being open, loving and vulnerable, the stronger we become.

So we’ve learnt that rom coms are emotionally intelligent, they're for men and women, that we don’t need to fall for peer pressure, we should watch what feels good, and that love is stronger than violence.

So, don’t be rom com phobic - don’t be “that guy”!

Be one of the brave ones! Come out of the closet!  Be out and proud, wear your love for rom coms on your sleeve, and watch how many people around you follow your lead. 

I have a dream, that one day, all films will be created equal.
I have a dream, that one day, my future children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the films they choose to watch, but by the kindness of their character.
I have a dream, that one day, man will be free to rave about his favorite Hallmark Channel film without being shamed. *

I have a dream…

That one day, ALL people, will feel more comfortable with love and joy… than violence and pain.




* I have a dream speech inspired by Scott Welsh's play Dr Blonde.
Obviously, this is a spin on Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream Speech, which brings me to tears every time I hear it, both in gratitude for the changes that were brought about as a result of his speech and sadness for those who have (and still do) suffer due to racism.  Although I'm making fun of myself because clearly, the rom com stigma doesn't even compare to the seriousness of the issue of racism, I do believe that the power to overcome violence and hate is in love (and laughter), and that (most) rom coms provide a connection to this love.

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