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My Dismay for Rom-Coms

Rom-coms displease me. I’ve seen my fair share and can only begin to conclude that they kind of suck. Just like the next person, I too enjoy watching attractive people flirt, building a cinematic infatuation with one another over the course of 2 hours. Yet, when I ponder the true basis of this so-called romance, I cannot help but scrutinize and critique the media.  

To mention a few personal controversies I have with specific flicks, I must start with the popular Clueless. While essentially encapsulating the essence of 90’s rom-coms, the movie pushes the audience to focus on the materialistic, physical characteristics of Cher, rather than elements of substance that constitute her personality. We observe her love interest, Josh, only really ever commenting on her looks, calling her “beautiful”, “gorgeous”, and “popular”. While obviously premiered with satirical undertones, this movie, along with others like He’s Just Not That Into You, broadcasts the message that women are bonded and connected by their confusion and contempt for men. We are constantly seeing the same character tropes, as presented in 10 Things I Hate About You, which displays two completely different character arcs: a raging feminist with no desire to scratch the itch of male validation and a ditsy boy-eating hyper-feminine teenager.  The overused medley of hero and heroine dancing around the recurring plot (or lack thereof) of “Will they? Won’t They?” has exhausted my interest in rom-coms.  

For the most part, I can appreciate the cinematography and exclusive cast of a popular rom-com. Yet, it pains me to see these films spread misinformation and promote false realities to so many individuals. While I value the initial spark and time-slowing first glance that these movies so successfully romanticize, I also deem them meaningless in the absence of a true foundation.  Relationships must be built upon virtues of trust, respect, communication, and loyalty. These are virtues that are not easily attainable and take time, patience, and genuine effort to truly solidify between two individuals. These movies often promote a plotline filled with manipulation, assumptions, and moral gray areas, ultimately destroying any true sincerity between the two characters. Once the climax occurs, we see a resolution come about in mere minutes, with no concrete efforts to achieve growth and maturation. Realistically, while a relationship with these cheesy romantic antics may feel exciting and passionate at first, they will ultimately fail and crumble without the presence of a true foundation. While I am nowhere near the expert on relationships and acknowledge that there is truly no such thing as a “perfect relationship”, I would like to hope that the closest thing to perfection withholds it all, balancing the comical gestures with the genuine merits of a healthy relationship. 

I cannot announce this headstrong opinion without revealing to readers that I have been known to possess the mind of a cynic. For the majority of my existence, I have viewed love and relationships from a fairly logical, methodical, and rational perspective. I am a stubborn individual in general and have the horrible habit of seeing things through a black-and-white lens.  Yet, when granted the privilege to know others’ hearts and minds, I’ve recently surprised myself and suppressed my cynicism. When my logic-riddled mind is met with that of a passionate idealist, I am blessed with a beautiful exchange of perceptions and insights on what love is and should amount to.  I find myself longing for a love that is so stupidly passionate that it can captivate an audience of millions, just like a rom-com.

The ironic thing about us scornful, rational skeptics is that all it takes is one mind, one meaningful connection, or one unique relationship for us to give into the corny romance that rom-coms survive on. While there are benefits and drawbacks to my headstrong angle, a small part of me secretly hopes I continue to encounter rom-com-loving, idealistic romantics that extinguish my dismay for romantic comedies.  

Mihika is a second year microbiology student at UC Davis. She enjoys dancing, watching movies, trying new foods, and spending time in nature. She hopes to inspire new sentiments and notions with every article she writes.