Over the last two weekends I read opinion pieces in THE AGE about how Romantic comedies are a threat to relationships and how the movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ should be approached with caution because it is a threat to women’s selfesteem , and it risks rolling the clock back to the 1950s. I rolled my eyes at yet another exampe of the Sisterhood getting paternal again. I have two jobs. One is working closely with teenage girls, the other is writing fiction. One job is one hundred percent grounded in reality- grimey reality at times, where the despair lingers long after the workday is finished. The other has an edge of reality but always a guaranteed happy ending where people find the power within themselves to solve their own problems. That is the key to a good romance…they solve their own problems from what they learn from life.
Life is gritty and unrelenting. Take the ten days Victoria has just had. Light relief if required now and then to ease the burden. Romantic comedies and novels provide that relief and women know this. They are MORE than capable of discerning reality from fiction. They know that relationships take hard work, require compromise on both sides, that some weeks are a parched desert and other times the relationship sings.
So they interviewed 100 students straight after watching the film SERENDIPTIY and found people ticked they believed in predestined love and fate. I see two big flaws with that study. 1 they interviewd students, most of whom would be under 23 with limited life and relationship experience. 2 Interviewing anyone straight after the high of a ‘feel good’ movie is going to skew the findings. Interview them three days later and see what happens.
Can commentators look beyond the superfical for the real reason relationships struggle. It isn’t because of romantic fiction or comedies setting up unrealistic expectations. A lot of it has to do with loss of communal society, the ‘I’ factor taking over from the ‘us’, increasing family breakdown, poverty and associated lack of role models for kids to see the ebb and flow of a marriage. Soceital changes. Tough situations without an easy fix but not caused by Romcoms or romantic fiction.
I’ve been married for 27 years…(yes I WAS a child bride). Fiction and movies have been there for me when life pins me against the wall. They give me a breathing space, they give me a way to laugh, and they return me to my family, my job, my reality with strength to keep giving.
With that in mind, donations of books to fire-ravaged communities will be dearly welcomed by women holding their families together as they rebuild their lives. For more information go to http://www.romanceaustralia.com/