Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Favorite Posts {DAY 4}--Emotional Porn

For no particular reason than to simply take a break from blogging as I gear up for a fun filled  romantic getaway with my hot husband, I'm going to share some of my favorite posts from 2010.

A few weeks ago I organized my DVD collection (you can read about it here) and noticed how extensive my Rom-Com selection was.  I’m pretty sure I own every movie inspired by an Austen novel or with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in it.  Don’t even get me started on Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock.






Luckily for me, I married a man who loves chick-flicks as much as I do.  (To be fair I should mention my absolute love of sports shows, war movies and action shows.  I practically forced Matt to take me to Gladiator 3 times, I’ve seen the Italian Job so many times that I consider myself an expert Mini-Cooper driver despite never having been in one, and I still get goose bumps from Rudy, Invincible, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans …).  We’re movie compatible—for the most part.



Matt and I parted movie ways when Twilight came out.  And this is when I started to notice a slightly unhealthy obsession with women (not tweens—grown, married women). 




I’ve already shared my thoughts on Edward but as I think more critically, I wonder if there is something wrong with the female consumption of chick-flicks. 



Are chick flicks emotional porn?



When I started looking into this topic, I ran across the article “You’ve Got Lies” by Beth Spraul.  In her article, Spraul asserts that as pornography appeals to men’s visual instincts and creates a false ideal of the female body and interest in sex, chick flicks create a false emotional ideal of the role of men in romance and marriage. Through chick-flicks, Spraul contends that women learn to believe these lies:



  • Men and women view emotional and relational intimacy in the same way.
  • Marrying the right man will make everything perfect in my life.
  • I’ll know he’s the “right” man by the feelings I have when I’m around him.




By accepting these lies as truth, many women compare men to fictional heartthrobs and disregard important qualities like faith, character, and humility because of physical attraction or “chemistry.” (P.S.  I hated chemistry).



I’ll admit that I’ve bought the “lies” in the past.  I’ve been swept up in “feelings” that weren’t ok and have placed super unhealthy expectations on males in relationships.  But now, I think I’m healthy enough to know that life with Matt isn’t perfect. He’s going to make me mad and offend me and not defend me when I need him to.  Only God is my all in all.  And trust me, after being around Matt for 11 years, I’ve pretty much caught on to the fact that we view romance and intimacy in vastly different ways (and I didn’t even need to read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus).



Are women are being subtly attacked?  Are the emotional lies told in chick-flicks less harmful than the lies portrayed in pornography?  Spraul states, “Like pornography, chick-flicks take a good gift from God (romance, relational intimacy) that women are created to desire, and distort it by presenting as “normal” an unbiblical and unrealistic picture of men, love and marriage. And just like men who buy into the lies of pornography, women who believe that their husbands and marriages should always be like what they see on the screen will be sinfully dissatisfied with God’s good gift to them of a “normal” husband and marriage.”


Um, WOW.






I have to admit I struggle with this because I believe pornography actually IS sinful whereas I think chick-flicks can be viewed without sin.   


Suffice it to say, I don’t know what I think about Chick Flicks though research has encouraged me to be a more conscious consumer for the sake of my marriage and Mr. Darcy Matt.


I’d love to know your thoughts (since mine are so scattered)!  Are chick flicks emotional porn?  

 The comment line is open!

7 comments:

  1. I think some women totally do treat chick flicks like emotional porn. Usually after a really popular chick flick comes out, you'll hear friends going on and on about how sexy the lead guy was and how they wish their current (or future) boyfriend/husband would be more like him. I think it's really dangerous for your marriage to fantasize about a ficticious character being your perfect man (whether you're single or not) because, like you said, it creates unrealistic expectations and will lead to you comparing your man against the lead guy in a movie.

    I remember about a year ago Pastor Jeff was talking about how there is no perfect spouse out there for you and showed a video of Tom Cruise's famous "You complete me" line. He pointed out that whomever we marry becomes "the one" for us but that nobody besides God "completes us" so it's both silly and harmful to your marriage if you expect to find that completeness in a spouse.

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  2. Oh my Goodness! Years ago, before it came out in theatres, I read the Notebook. When I put it down I said to myself...and later to anyone who would listen..."That is what is wrong with marriage in America. Girls and women read these completely unrealistic love stories and bail on their real men when they don't behave like the heroes in movies and books."

    People always looked at me like I was sprouting a third eyeball...it happens a lot...and I never had anyone validate this particular opinion until today.

    I do believe that in the same insidious way that porn can move in and take over and pervert healthy God-given sex that these movies can create a set of expectations that separate women from the real men in their lives.

    I do kinda think though that as long as we know that, and watch these movies and read these books with a jaded eye we can control their impact on our lives. But what I have found is that when I do that, I don't enjoy the gooey mushy stuff anymore. But that is a good thing. It is what leads me to cuddle up on the couch with my husband watching old Dirty Harry movies.

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  3. I'm not a big chick-flick kinda gal - but I definitely think it makes it much more difficult for women to accept men for what they are - MEN. Honestly, I'd be so exhausted if I had a super romantic husband that was always trying to sweep me off my feet and be oh-so-sensitive. Ugh.. no thanks. Surprise me occassionally with your non-cave-man ways and I'm happy. ;)

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  4. I don't think I've ever actually formed this thought... but I think this is the EXACT reason that I've had issues with chick-flicks. I liked 'em when I was in high school and college... but, after I got married I just lost interest. They're kind of formulaic. But they're so NOT real. And that bugs me. I don't want to live on a diet of fluff. I'd rather dig my ACTUAL life and my ACTUAL man.
    Thanks for sharing this.

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  5. I've heard the same thing said about romance novels, which are much more blatant than chick flicks. That they are porn for women. We are drawn to what tempts us. Since women are more emotional we attracted to the mushy stuff in the chick flicks, just like men are more visual and attracted to the movies and magazines. Or something along those lines.

    So to answer your question, I think yes if you let them be. If you lust after those type of relationships and become dissatisfied with your own.

    Do we therefore stop watching all chick flicks? Or do we analyze and realize it's all fantasy and thank God that we already have amazing men in our lives? Or avoid them altogether (the movies, not our men)?

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  6. It's funny I was just commenting on someone else blog, she quoted a statistic that religious couples and couples who prayed together didn't have as high a divorce rate, and I asked her if there was a stigma in religions about divorce.
    Personally, I believe that statistics can be skewed in favour of the outcome that is favourable to the belief.

    But she seemed to be content that because she prayed her marriage would be successful and that just isn't true. Romance movies very well may mislead women into believing that happily ever after means not working at the relationship. We all know that isn't true, prayer cannot save a failing marriage, that's up to us (I don't believe God would want to do all the work, he'd probably be kind of annoyed if we said "why didn't you save my marriage" I'm sure he'd reply "Why didn't you?").
    I think most women are sensible enough to see that rom-coms only show a small section of life and very few show the couple working to keep the love alive. I adore Ever After and the idea of a prince charming is all very nice but it does show that the man can screw up and it's not the end of the world (and he screws up big time) perhaps when we're in high school we dream of true love and living happily ever after but most women grow out of that.

    I also personally believe that Twilight shows an extremely unhealthy relationship, Edward stalks her, manipulates her, controls her and Bella idolizes him and allows herself to lose her free will. If anything gives young girls a skewed view of love it would be these books and movies.

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  7. LOVE this post! I won't even begin to list the reasons why, but just say thank you for posting this! I am encouraged that I am not alone in the reasons why I think chick flicks (especially the Twilight series) are dangerous if left unchecked.
    Found your blog just searching for some interesting reads and am glad I did!

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