An Open Letter to Lara Jean From "To All The Boys I've Loved Before"

 

Dear Lara Jean,

Finding a good romantic comedy on Netflix is hard. Finding one that has a positive image for young women is even harder! That is until To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) launched to the red streaming platform. It showcases one girl’s relatable struggles of finding love and finding herself. The issue I’ve found in many Netflix rom-coms targeted towards young women, such as Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018) and The Kissing Booth (2018), is that they show the girls changing themselves for a boy. It’s a toxic cycle that we see time and time again: a girl likes a boy she claims is way out of her league, she devises a plan to make him fall in love with her, she changes herself into something she can’t recognize, and suddenly the boy sees her and loves her back. I find this to be incredibly toxic for young women seeing as we shouldn't change for anyone but ourselves. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before or TATB is truly revolutionary in that you, Lara Jean, are truly and unapologetically yourself. 

Feminism is a term that has been redefined over and over again. It has been ripped apart only to be put back together incorrectly. To some, feminism is an aggressive man-hating agenda. To others, it is the desire for basic and fundamental rights. TATB shows us that females are the future, and we shouldn't change ourselves just because some boy wants us too. Furthermore, it shows us that men can truly be feminists and support the movement. The beautiful Peter Kavinsky shows us how men can further our love for ourselves by supporting us undeniably. Peter shows the power that love has and how it can further our adventure into finding ourselves. He proves his worth by supporting every single step you make. No matter what it is, he sticks by you and stays a constant friend even when that little line between friend and love becomes blurry. You further yourself by becoming strong on your own and don’t bother yourself with what men think.

In addition to showing us a strong sense of feminism, TATB also demonstrates a welcomed diverse cast. Usually we see a white girl with a white boy, but this story is vastly different. There has been such a small fraction of Asian representation shown in Hollywood and usually, it’s as the quirky best friend or the crazy genius. This story is different though, you are our main lead and aren’t treated like the typical white girl. There’s no forcing you into a Malibu Barbie mold and there’s no incessant need to stereotype Korean culture. It’s the first time in my life that I have seen proper diversification and representation in the romantic genre – and it came from Netflix! Go figure.

You, Lara Jean, show us what it means to be confident with ourselves and how to “stick it to the man,” so to speak. You don’t define yourself based off being with someone, or feel the need to be with someone. Everything you do is 100% unapologetically Lara Jean. You spoke up for yourself and your feelings. Everything was on your terms and there was no advancement with Peter until you were sure you were comfortable. This can mean a lot of things, but it shows that you’re in no rush with the whole romance thing. So many young girls feel pressured to move quickly with a boy because they’re scared the boy will get bored and leave. You don’t. Nothing is more refreshing than seeing someone genuinely take into account their own wellbeing and how they feel before thinking about advancing with a boy. Even when you went into the hot tub (spoiler alert), that was on your own accord and you didn’t feel forced to do it, you genuinely wanted to.

All in all, I just wanted to thank you, Lara Jean, for showing the young female demographic that it’s okay to be by yourself and to stay true to who you are. It doesn’t matter if you're nerdy or if you wear seriously cool combat boots with cute shorts or if you have the messiest bedroom the world has ever seen. All that matters is staying true to yourself no matter how much people will try to change you. In the face of adversity, a true heroine stays true to herself and uses all her quirks to become even stronger. Thank you, Lara Jean, for being a true heroine and adversary to the stereotypical romantic female lead.

Love,

Girls Everywhere