Friday 25 November 2011

Gender and The Rom-Com

November 19th-December 19th 2011 is Rom-Com Season at Kid In The Front Row.

Men aren't allowed to like rom-coms. This is the rule. If the girlfriend wants to watch a rom-com then the man can watch it but he has to say "she made me watch it". If the man doesn't have a girlfriend then he needs to say "I watched it so that if I ever get a girlfriend I'll have something to talk about". Men have to watch action films and sports films and films about sport with action in them. Transgendered people have to watch documentaries only.

The rules are bizarre and nobody understands them. Men are not meant to watch rom-coms and if they do they're not meant to admit to it. What happens if you're watching an action film and it starts to get romantic? What if you're watching hardcore porn and they begin to talk about their feelings?

Men get uncomfortable talking about rom-coms. It's like talking about your bowel movements or talking about how often you cut your toenails, it's just not something you ever do. It is customary, when asked about a rom-com, to say "I don't really watch them, to be honest".

If a man does watch a rom-com it is to be assumed that he is a woman, or gay, or that he accidentally sat on the remote control during 'Die Hard'.

Romantic Comedies are not allowed to be in your top 5 movies lists, otherwise you will be outcast by all the other people within your gender. Top 5 lists are allowed to have awkward cult films, and they can have 'I-know-it's-lame-but-I-love-it' films, just as long as they're not romantic. If, when asked about your favorite films, you say you love 'One Fine Day' or 'Ghost' or 'Pretty Woman', you immediately need to take back what you said and replace it with 'Pulp Fiction' or 'Donnie Darko'. Everyone is allowed to say they like 'Donnie Darko', because nobody knows what it's about, which therefore means it's genius and acceptable to the male gender.

If, despite your best efforts, you still watch and enjoy a rom-com. You can get away with it by saying "It wasn't that bad actually". This implies that it was not terrible, but that you did not want to watch it.

Every film ever made has a value in terms of social approval and significance. You must make sure you choose from the appropriate list, otherwise you run the risk of being a free-thinker and individual. If you happen to truly love a rom-com, then you will be told that you're a sheep and that you like dumb rom-coms like everyone else, even though nobody else loves them or is at least not allowed to say they love them because if they do they will be outcast.

If you want to be a man then you must not feel free enough within your gender to watch films that include romance. You must stick within a small perimeter which has in it only action films, sex-comedies and more action films. If you admit to liking romantic films, then you will be excluded from the gender immediately.

Care to share?


  1. Great post. Especially liked the line about Donnie Darko :)

  2. I half agree with your opinions on this subject. For the most part for a guy, it's not really acceptable to admit you watched a romcom and enjoyed it. But, I would argue that perhaps your reasoning is a little off. The romantic comedy for the most part has turned into one of the most generic film experiences that you can experience, literally now days, if you've seen one, you've seen them all. I'm not going to deny that somewhere in me I do enjoy a good romantic comedy, I'll even shed a few tears or wish that life really did work out like they do in the movies, give me any film with Hilary Duff and I'll declare it my most favourite film of recent times >_<" but I tHink that complete lack of originality really does have an affect on the audience... The majority of romantic comedies like action films are targeting a specific audience and 8 out of 10 times it's now guys.The unfortunate thing with the romantic comedy is I think that over the years that they've gone down hill at a considerable rate, well... Not down hill but more theyve become extremely good at targeting a specific audience. You're example of Pretty Woman and Ghost are both good examples, both extremely good films that fall into the romantic comedy genre but offered more than the norm, well to be honest most of the big romantic comedies of the 80s offer more than they do now, just look at splash, romancing the stone or sleepless in Seattle they offer so much more than the films of recent years with the gorgeous girl having issues finding kr right Nd I cn name numerous male friends that enjoy these films openly.We've got the likes of Lost in Translation filling in the gaps of a more acceptable romantic comedy and even the more mainstream friends with benefits but for the most part I think the reason why we don't find guys having these types of films in their top 5 films is simply because for the most part this genre is overworked and aimed at a different audience.

  3. Great post!

    I love films but sometimes I just can't stand the expectations that come with them. Sure, I take the piss out of Twilight and their fans too, but at the end of the day it's about that person and whatever they want to watch.

    I love rom-coms. I know they are generic or trite or formulaic and sometimes downright bad. But I love them anyway. Because sometimes it's not about what's most gut-wrenching or thrilling or complex or thought-provoking or cunning or twisty or award winning. Sometimes it's just about what makes you happy.

  4. People should be allowed to like whatever movies they want. Even more specific, the genre does not define what a movie is--it's the movie itself. Like Ebert once said, "It's not what the movie is about, but how it is about it."

    However, there are rom-coms that seem to be socially acceptable for men to like. Jerry Maguire? As Good As It Gets? No one can argue the fact that football and Jack Nicholson are manly things.

    The stereotype isn't restricted to men, though I would agree that men have it the hardest.

    I come off as a bit of a cynic, so when I suddenly declare You've Got Mail (need to rewatch that as Christmas looms ahead) as "my second favorite movie of all-time," people are genuinely surprised.

    I often feel like society simply wants to place me in this box of perpetual misery. Whatever, I'll just let Wilder and Ephron rescue me.

  5. Great post! I particularly liked this line: "You must make sure you choose from the appropriate list, otherwise you run the risk of being a free-thinker and individual." Now wouldn't that be amazing if we could all do that!