Predators Portrayed Romantic

After a long-winded pursuit, the charming prince finally woos the reluctant princess and the pair rides off into the sunset—living happily ever after. While it sounds like an old-fashioned cliche, this theme is still prevalent in movies today, disguised as romantic persistence and true love.

Decades of societal change have moved us away from belief in stories that reinforce male superiority and two-dimensional women. Surely, the stories that we know and love today don’t adhere to outdated tropes of hesitant damsels in distress that need to be won over.

In order to present a truly compelling storyline, Hollywood movies rarely portray healthy, happy relationships—and this isn’t a problem.  The basic premise of a dramatic love story centers around two people who have to work through some sort of difficulty to end up together. Often, movie studios create conflicts that revolve around a complicated situation—perhaps the pair live far away from each other, or their parents forbid them from seeing one another.

Occasionally, however, studios choose to create problems where the conflict lies with the feelings of the love interests themselves. Maybe the pair doesn’t want to ruin their friendship, or perhaps, maybe the woman simply isn’t interested in the first place.

As Han Solo kisses Leia after she backs away from him and says no repeatedly, we root for the protagonist. The audience doesn’t see a moral dilemma when Noah tries to break up a happy couple in “The Notebook,” because we know that he’s supposed to end up with Allie. When Patrick lies and manipulates Kat to go on a date with him in “Ten Things I Hate About You,” it’s OK—his actions are eventually redeemed when Kat falls in love with him at the end.

Problems start to arise when rejection from a woman is portrayed as a plot point the men need to overcome. When we watch a film, we have a full understanding of each of the characters, and what they’re thinking. We don’t have an issue with the actions of these men because we never doubt that the woman will end up happy. In real life, things aren’t as clear cut.

In his writing, culture critic and YouTuber Jonathan McIntosh dives into predatory behavior in Hollywood, and the ideas perpetrated to those who watch it.

“Women are framed as challenges—puzzles to be solved or prizes to be won. When faced with rejection or disinterest, male protagonists simply stalk, pester or otherwise push women’s boundaries until their defenses are worn down.”

These example of “true love” allow people watching these movies to form a skewed perspective of what love truly is. While we can reinforce the idea that “no means no,” it’s difficult to implement that when media continuously shows women as something attainable if you simply try hard enough.

Hollywood needs to take into careful consideration the crafting of their love stories, and what it truly means for two characters to get together and fall in love.