Tis’ the Season for Movies that Gaslight

If you are taking a break for Christmas, I bet you will be going to watch some seasonal romantic movies or general rom-com. I will be too, what else can you do? It’s Christmas, and they’re cute, sparkly and oh so addictive!

But like Christmas chocolate, they can also be bad for you if you keep “eating” them without thinking about it. When I look at the messages most of these films give young girls, the romance quickly disappears. These movies make me angry!

The reason why these shows and movies anger me so much is because each and every one of them reminds me of the annoying tropes and stereotypes Hollywood should have grown out of by now.

Most of us have are used to their message without even realizing it.

Girls needs saving. Careers are dangerous. Men are always right.

The film Holidaze had me shouting at the screen. A woman returns to her old hometown, so she could finally start working for a company. She had worked for a decade to get in, for a chance to become a partner. In the village, she bumps into her ex and then the rest of the movie turned into a long list of emotional blackmail.

You see, they had stopped dating fifteen years ago.

The girl had been offered this job, her dream job, and the guy didn’t want to leave. He promised that he’d follow her but then decided to break up with her, in the hopes that she would move back. She chose her career. The guy married another woman. All good, you think? No way.

He chased away his wife by being distant, was not committed to the relationship. She left, and he bought the hotel he wanted to operate with the girl he loved and fix it up with his bare hands.

So after bumping into her and being hostile, he jumps in his car, shows up aggressively at her mother’s house where his true love is staying, picks her up, throws her into the car and drags her to the hotel. Then he angrily tells her that all the bad stuff in his life is her fault.

She wants to run away from his anger, but falls down the stairs, hits her head and is unconscious.

In her dream state, she is not a businesswoman but instead is married to an angry guy and owner of a pie shop chain. She decides to give up on her big city business dreams, stay with him in the little village and bake pies. It was told in such an odd way (she was terrified and thought she was being gaslighted at first) that it seemed they were manipulating a brain injured women!

For some reason, the guy winning the girl was supposed to make us happy.

Here is a roundup of subliminal messages that Hollywood tries to plant in our heads over Christmas (not just Christmas, most romantic comedies, and TV shows use them!!)

Young girl gets “saved” by wealthy guy whether she likes it or not and must show gratitude.
He follows her to the point of stalking. She hates his lifestyle but in the end, accepts everything “for love.”

(Why aren’t there films that depict a wealthy woman who falls in love with a poor guy and helps him out?  The guy always miraculously “saves the woman.” He puts up with her bitching, and slowly shows her that having a great job, and being rich and glamorous isn’t important.)

Girl gives it up, all for love.
A good job, career prospectives, working your whole life towards a goal, who cares? All you need is love, right?

Clumsy young chick is so cute, falling over and bumping into things.
Oh gosh, she needs saving all the time, how adorable!

The woman is the head of whatever and is a bitch to a sweet young girl.
This is a worrying trope most movies and tv shows still use. A women in charge is ALWAYS a bitch!!

And we are wondering why people couldn’t trust Hillary? For decades Hollywood has been reminding us that women in power are evil.

The girl says no, then says yes in the end.
These films are the worst. They ARE always about a mean and gorgeous guy who is rude to the girl, then slowly melts. What a terrible example! It teaches girls that guys are mean because they love you, but can’t express it.

A best friend wants more.
We are not safe to just hang out with our best friends ladies. We better hook up before he gets angry and we lose him.

Career women are never happy.
They all have the secret desire to drop their jobs to find a cottage and settle down. They want marriage and children.

The message: women with careers are dead inside.

The girl is always wrong.
You don’t like your life, you don’t want this, your plan isn’t right.
We know it, the guy you met two minutes ago knows it. When will you realize this?
Well, after you’ve fallen in love with him in two days and decide this is the life you have always wanted.

The most creepy movie of all time: bratty pre-teen boy is stalking older girls for sex.
This is supposed to be funny?
Or what about, clumsy teen boy chasing the same girl, desperatly going on and on and on until she says “yes.” Or the baby brother who knows it all and advises his older brother about “getting the girl.” It’s cute, right?

Nope. By normalizing these behaviors and saying that it is funny, we tell boys that they can treat girls like sex objects and stalk them because it’s so adorable.

You have been warned.
Do you know what I’m going to do next?

Put on my pajamas and select another one of these dreaded Christmas movies on Netflix because even though they might anger me because they are mindless and sexist, it’s just not Christmas without them!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Photo Credit: s_herman Flickr via Compfight cc

Dr. Dannii Cohen

Dannii Cohen is a former stand-up comedian and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. She is specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, women’s issues, female empowerment, and bullying. Dannii is an agony aunt for The Gay UK. Her books; When Clouds Hide The Sun, Christopher The Lonely Bear and 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life, are all on Amazon.

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