Bad Feminist

Hallmark Channel movies: a bad addiction

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke

It’s almost my second-favorite time of year: Valentine’s Day. Also known as: prime time for Hallmark movie romantic comedies.

Every rom-com addict like me knows the two best times of the year are Christmas and Valentine’s Day because that’s when the Hallmark Channel comes out with some of their best hour-and-a-half-long chick flicks.

I’m addicted to these movies. For real. On most nights when I’m not doing homework or working, one can most likely find me curled up in my pajamas burrowed under a warm blanket watching a Hallmark Channel movie. Or two. Or three. Ask anyone who remotely knows me — it’s true.

It’s hard not to be an addict. These movies are feel-good, happily-ever-after movies.

You know the ones.

Boy meets girl. Girl doesn’t like boy. Boy saves girl. Girl gets all googly-eyed about him. Boy and girl kiss. (This is a big one, it happens at the very end of every single movie.) Then everyone, including nice cookie-baking grandma and adorable puppy and the whole city of New York, lives happily ever after. What’s not to love?

Honestly, there’s a lot I shouldn’t be loving.

First of all, Hallmark movies are whitewashed. They cater to a primarily white audience and feature primarily white people. Not that I’m trying to point anything out, but the Hallmark Channel could use more films with racial diversity.

They also don’t really feature any couples who aren’t straight. Who says a girl-meets-girl or boy-meets-boy movie wouldn’t be cute?

I also notice that I frequently get frustrated with the female lead in these movies. They’re either one of two types of people: They’re strong and assertive while being klutzy or obnoxious about it, or they’re nervous and shy and let the big, strong men do the hard work.

In these movies, you’ll never see the woman go after the man. If she does, she’s obsessed. If the man goes after the woman, she has to be swooning over him. There’s no middle ground; there’s no winning here.

These types of movies — and I’m talking rom-coms in general — are teaching women not to be assertive because then they’re just annoying. These movies are teaching women they have to swoon over a man to find love. Also, fundamentally, they teach women that to be happy, they need a man, and that happily ever afters mean being in a relationship.

I’m here to tell you: If you go after someone, you are not obsessed. You’re also not weak for not having a significant other. And we certainly don’t need a honey to have a good time — on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year.

I still love Hallmark Channel movies, and that definitely makes me a bad feminist. I should be boycotting them until they improve. Or trying to watch ones with strong female leads, good racial diversity and are inclusive of all sexualities.

But, honestly, it’s an addiction. I love my sappy rom-coms. I’m working on it.

Until then, you’ll know where to find me this Valentine’s Day.

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected].