Relationships in romantic comedies

Many of the relationships portrayed in romantic comedies are presented as fun and flirty in the film, but would be considered abusive in reality. Stalking and other abusive behaviours are common to the genre. Power imbalances are also common. Everything is put aside so the female protagonist can be made whole by finding a male partner. Much of what the genre presents as romantic or funny would be good reasons to call the police in reality, so why is it acceptable in the movies?

A good example would be Sweet Home Alabama, in which the female protagonist goes back home to try and get a divorce from her husband who she hasn’t seen in years. He refuses to sign the divorce, forcing her to stay longer and doing everything he can to try and force them back into a relationship. In 27 Dresses, the male lead defaced the protagonist’s planner and lied to her about his intentions. There are almost as many examples as there are rom coms.

  • This is an interesting topic considering what is going on in the film industry right now. It might be worth considering grouping this topic with the #MeToo movement. Another interesting note is Molly Ringwald's interview about The Breakfast Club. I'd also think it is important to discuss more recent romantic comedies (last year or two) since they more accurately depict the film industry we are dealing with now. Obviously, sexism has been a problem but there is a change going on right now so it is very important to consider. – Connor 6 years ago

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