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Harmful Romance Movie Tropes

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I loved romcoms and romantic movies growing up, but I do think they can instill problematic ideas about gender and relationships. I think we can enjoy these movies but at the same time acknowledge that they are not and should not apply to real life.  

 

I really appreciated this video because so many of these tropes caused me to believe I was not aro but rather just one of those "independent women who needed to be worn down." The whole "no means yes" concept was pretty harmful to me too as an aro person because I thought I wanted romance "deep down." 

 

Can anyone else attest to being dangerously misguided by these tropes?

 

 

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I can definitely attest to the fact that some of these tropes were misguiding and made it more confusing to find out I was aro. The whole soulmate concept and the idea that you had to have love to have an interesting and meaningful life made me ignore the fact that I didn't actually feel love and didn't need it to be happy. It wasn't until years later that I realized I could be completely happy without a romantic love and it helped me acknowledge that the whole time I was waiting for some "true love" person that I hadn't really felt any romantic love for anyone anyways.

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I think it's more of an anime romance trope, but I can't stand the trope of "these people are in love; they just haven't noticed yet or are otherwise oblivious to their own feelings." (Think Ouran High School Host Club.) That trope threw off my questioning for years, and I wouldn't be shocked if it was reinforcing my need to constantly reassess if my platonic bonds are, in fact, 100% platonic. (Doesn't help when the rest of the world makes assumptions about your closer friendships either.)

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I think one of the most harmful tropes that is bad for everyone to buy into is the idea of relationship second (or more chances). People do bad things and then are forgiven because of love. Generally the bad thing is the conflict or drama of the story and then it gets wrapped up into a happy ending. Admittedly there are some shows and movies that don't follow this but they are seen as, I guess, more of a individual case specific to those circumstances while the second-chance-happily-ever-after movies use similar one liners like: Don't give up on the one you love. Everyone deserves a second chance.  Don't turn your back on love. Forgiveness will free you.

 

or the idea that to move on from a relationship you have to fall in love with someone else, so more a case of give the person a rebound relationship and expect them to forgive you and understand. 

 

Yeah, so basically the idea you have to have someone and that bad things should be forgiven in the name of love. 

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On 10/13/2018 at 10:51 PM, Mezzo Forte said:

I think it's more of an anime romance trope, but I can't stand the trope of "these people are in love; they just haven't noticed yet or are otherwise oblivious to their own feelings." (Think Ouran High School Host Club.) That trope threw off my questioning for years, and I wouldn't be shocked if it was reinforcing my need to constantly reassess if my platonic bonds are, in fact, 100% platonic. (Doesn't help when the rest of the world makes assumptions about your closer friendships either.)

I haven't watched much Anime but I definitely recognize that trope. Though I suppose most of the time the obliviousness is only from one of them. Or they are enemies that love each other without realizing it.

 

The one trope that seems the most harmful to me is Love conquers all. The idea that no matter how many practical problems there is with the relationship they can never weigh heavier than the feelings. I've seen it so many times, and in real life too.

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On 10/15/2018 at 8:33 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

Yeah, so basically the idea you have to have someone and that bad things should be forgiven in the name of love. 

 

This. SO MUCH THIS.

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On 10/28/2018 at 9:09 AM, Holmbo said:

I haven't watched much Anime but I definitely recognize that trope.

“tv tropes: Oblivious to Love”

 

I'd say Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan takes the cake.

On 10/28/2018 at 9:09 AM, Holmbo said:

Or they are enemies that love each other without realizing it. 

Casca / Guts from Berserk?

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On ‎10‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 2:33 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I think one of the most harmful tropes that is bad for everyone to buy into is the idea of relationship second (or more chances). People do bad things and then are forgiven because of love. Generally the bad thing is the conflict or drama of the story and then it gets wrapped up into a happy ending. Admittedly there are some shows and movies that don't follow this but they are seen as, I guess, more of a individual case specific to those circumstances while the second-chance-happily-ever-after movies use similar one liners like: Don't give up on the one you love. Everyone deserves a second chance.  Don't turn your back on love. Forgiveness will free you.

This.

I remember when I watched Once Upon a Time, when people defended Rumbelle. If you Don't know the show, the story is a version of the Beauty and the Beast, except that at some point it goes in circle. Rumple just kept lying and being abusive to Belle. She gave him a new second chance each season. The show used that for "drama" (just omething that is in the way of Rumple before "conquering" Belle's heart). But it was just a toxic relationship. And the craziest was not that the show presented it as romantic, but that people defended the couple, saying that this is true love. I remember in season 6 when Belle hated him (and for a lot of reasons), someone told me that the relationship wasn't over, that they can still "fix" it, that they have to fight for love… I really didn't understand that. If someone treated me that way, I would run away, surely don't fight for having that man in my life.

I'm not saying that you should never forget anything, but come on, sometimes it's just unhealthy.

 

It makes me think of that other trope. In my country we call that the nurse syndrom, I don't know if it's the same in English. The one woman who will make the bad guy become good again (because, you know, any bad guy just need a woman to stop being abusive or toxic or whatever).

 

But the trope I hate the most is that you can't be happy if you're not in love. You can have everything you want, you won't be happy till you're not in a couple.

Makes me think of all that romantic movie when the man or the woman left his job or refuse the promotion he/she always wanted, to move on with their boyfriend or girlfriend (that most of the time, they know for only two weeks or a month…). Sure, abandon all your life for that person you barely know, or you will be single forever! This is true love! And this is a rational decision!

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11 hours ago, nonmerci said:

But the trope I hate the most is that you can't be happy if you're not in love. You can have everything you want, you won't be happy till you're not in a couple.

Makes me think of all that romantic movie when the man or the woman left his job or refuse the promotion he/she always wanted, to move on with their boyfriend or girlfriend (that most of the time, they know for only two weeks or a month…). Sure, abandon all your life for that person you barely know, or you will be single forever! This is true love! And this is a rational decision!

Agreed! At least many allo people seem to dislike that one too. I know so many people that love Devil wears prada, except the end when she leaves the job to move with her whiny boyfriend.

On 10/13/2018 at 10:51 PM, Mezzo Forte said:

I think it's more of an anime romance trope, but I can't stand the trope of "these people are in love; they just haven't noticed yet or are otherwise oblivious to their own feelings." (Think Ouran High School Host Club.) That trope threw off my questioning for years, and I wouldn't be shocked if it was reinforcing my need to constantly reassess if my platonic bonds are, in fact, 100% platonic. (Doesn't help when the rest of the world makes assumptions about your closer friendships either.)

As I was commenting on this before I completely forgot that the book I'm reading right now has that exact trope :D I haven't gotten to it yet but I've seen the show adaptation so I know where it's headed.

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On 10/30/2018 at 5:34 PM, Holmbo said:

I know so many people that love Devil wears prada, except the end when she leaves the job to move with her whiny boyfriend.

I always thought that ending was about her coming to grips with how the job changed her and realising she doesn't want that for her future. :aropride: It seems I totally aro-remembered the end of the movie as I thought she left her boyfriend as well :aropride:

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On 11/16/2018 at 12:35 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I always thought that ending was about her coming to grips with how the job changed her and realising she doesn't want that for her future. :aropride: It seems I totally aro-remembered the end of the movie as I thought she left her boyfriend as well :aropride:

I think that's what they tried to convey. But a lot of people saw it as, a woman who has a exciting career she enjoys should leave it to make her boyfriend happy. She goes to him at the end and asks if she can go with him as his moving to another city for a different job.
The book it's based on better I think. It's much more focused on how the job wears her down. And her best friend has a much larger role too.

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Soooo....I caught an episode of Dawson's Creek on daytime tv. Yes I know daytime tv is known for playing vintage movies and low budget stuff so it is full of sexism, rascism and other shady stuff like badly acted telemovies. Anyway the two teenage male leads are having a conversation about the lead female on the show and they say something along the lines of: 

"You are wasting a lot of time and effort on a girl you're not dating" 

 

True the scene was one where they were meant to be needling each other to admit feelings but still I found it offensively toxic. Hetero boys and girls can't be friends because of romantic/sexual undertones. So of course why try? Don't have a best friend of the opposite gender, they are not worth it. Don't go out of your way for them. Don't be supportive. Don't do them favours. They will find another friend of a suitable gender (theirs), just as you will, no matter if you get along better with them than anyone else. There is no point investing anything being friend unless you will eventually marry them. 😬

Okay Dawson's Creek is over a decade old but it is still out there spreading or maintaining the tropes. I'm sure there are lots of other shows that are less blunt but have the same message. All I can say is thank goodness for Buffy and Harry Potter that gave us complex boy/girl friendships as good representation of friendship overcoming obstacles including gender and attraction potential. 

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About (romantic) Anime tropes:
I despise the Tsundere archetype with a passion.
When a girl (in rarer cases it's a male) hits/insults/harasses you she actually likes you and is only too embarrassed/shy to tell.
Yeah, being abused is very romantic. Worst part is some poor protagonist often ends up with that kind of person and people be all like "aww, they are a cute/great couple!"

Don't know if it's an actual trope but adding to what @Apathetic Echidna wrote:

On 10/15/2018 at 2:33 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

Don't give up on the one you love. Everyone deserves a second chance.  Don't turn your back on love.

Let's say character A is in love with character B.
Character B never shows interest in character A (romantically or generally) or even openly states they don't like them/ it shows they are annoyed by them.
Some stuff happens, Character A may confess feelings.
BOOM they are together.
What? How? Why? They had no chemistry at all? Why did Character B suddenly fall for A when they clearly had no interest at all???
It gives off that vibe of You just need to try long / hard enough they will give in eventually!
Maybe that is just really bad writing but I've seen it several times now. I'm kinda nauseated by it.

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I don't kow if this is a trope, but...

 

when a character reject someone's advance, it's their fault. Or they're the bad one because they're not in love. And then they redeem themself by dating.

 

I hate it 

 

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On 1/22/2019 at 10:11 AM, NotHeartless said:

Let's say character A is in love with character B.
Character B never shows interest in character A (romantically or generally) or even openly states they don't like them/ it shows they are annoyed by them.
Some stuff happens, Character A may confess feelings.
BOOM they are together.
What? How? Why? They had no chemistry at all? Why did Character B suddenly fall for A when they clearly had no interest at all???

Reminds me of a scene so confusing in Insatiable. The guy hated the person until the person confess (or, more exactly, kissed him in the middle of an argument) and suddenly they were dating. What?

 

On 1/22/2019 at 1:01 PM, Cristal Gris said:

when a character reject someone's advance, it's their fault.

The famous "friendzone". I never understand how you could blame someone for not feeling the same way as you do? We can't control our feelings. And it's even worst when it's coupled with a plot like "try to date me, you'll see I'm right for you", and it worked. Just another case of "if the person said no, try harder until it become a yes".

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The fact that the male and female leads of a given film/series/whatever have to be in a relationship by the end. It undermines male/female friendships.

 

Also when the power of love is used as a redemptive force.

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