Romantic comedies hurt real-world relationships

by Whitney Carter

I love romantic comedies, but I also recognize how far they are from reality. They end well and the right girl always ends up with the right guy. Horror movies present the opposite. The people you like die or are put in grave danger as they are fraught with violent attacks. There is a common perception that horror movies negatively impact society.

Studies have shown that horror movies can cause anxiety, bed-wetting and other stress responses in children and adults alike. According to the University of Michigan, movies have an effect on our hormone level. Children under five have the hardest time because they have trouble separating fantasy from reality. The same could be said for teens and young adults when it comes to romantic comedies. Studies have shown that seemingly harmless romantic comedies are warping views of relationships and marriage. According to Deseret News, although these movies are not intended to be realistic, their effects are real.

According to Deseret News, “scholars of communication theorize that exposure to media like romantic comedies, especially for young people, can shape expectations about both romance and marriage, shifting adolescent perceptions about what love is like and how to show it.”

Most romantic comedies move at a much faster pace than actual relationships by focusing on immediacy. They quickly shift from “Hi my name is…” to “I love you”. These concepts impact viewers greatly because they can shape their views of marriage. The happy ending in these movies does not come from a long-lasting marriage, but from the wedding. Chicago Now calls this the “happily-ever-after-effect.”
According to a 2009 study produced by Routledge Taylor & Francis Groups, “Films depict male characters as frequently performing exaggeratedly romantic gestures such as the scattered rose petals, and bouquets of roses. Female adolescents may be led to believe that such behaviors are the norm.”

Should I expect my significant other to chase after my taxi to profess his love like Matthew McConaughey in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”? This movie depicts that when he stops you from moving on with your life, you’ve found the one.

Routledge Taylor & Francis Groups, who conducted this study, also reports that movies focus on the behaviors that make the relationship. This makes it seem that behaviors are the most important aspect, rather than factors such as communication and trust.

A study done in Australia polled 1,000 people and almost half said that “rom-coms, with their inevitable happy endings, have ruined their view of an ideal relationship.”

Horror movies are bad for kids because they can’t yet understand what is and is not real. For adults, it is easier to understand that the on-screen horror antics are not real, but accept those antics in the romantic comedy genre.

Contact Whitney Carter at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *