The Fairy Tale Myth
How Romanticism Ruined Love
Art, Film, Culture, Critical Thinking, Social Impact, Storytelling, Video Production
Six years ago, I did what every teenage girl who want to move to New York City does, I watched Sex and the City for the first time. One of the show’s main plot lines is the protagonist Carrie’s toxic, on-again-off-again romantic relationship with the mysterious and wealthy businessman Mr. Big. During the series run Carrie meets the kind and emotionally-available, Aidan, and chooses to repeatedly cheat on him with Mr. Big. This is when I discovered that popular romance stories promote toxic relationships and do not place value on stable love. After this experience, I began noticing how these cultural depictions of romantic love have influenced me in my real life. I was led to believe that the toxic love of Carrie and Big was real love. I searched for men that provided me with the same intoxicating intensity of Mr. Big, which would lead me to heartbreak.
After much debate on what would be the best way to present my research. I settled on creating a video essay that educates young people on the effects romance media has on their expectations of romantic love and relationships in real life.
I did this by analyzing the depictions, themes, and values presented in popular American romance stories through the lens of various psychological theories of love. I chose to make a video essay because I wanted education to be at the core of my project. I wanted to make sure I was teaching my listener something new and valuable but in an entertaining way. Romance in media is a massive topic space to enter into, considering most major stories have a romance plot line. Throughout the school year I found that my biggest challenge was streamlining all of my research into one cohesive narrative.
The overarching thesis for my video essay is that the ideology of the 19th century cultural movement of Romanticism has shaped every piece of popular romance media we consume, and in-turn influences our real romantic experiences, because we use romance media as the blueprint for our romantic relationships. Simply put, when it comes to love, we are still living in the romantic era.
Ideally I hope my video will play into a larger cultural shift around romantic relationships. I hope to see popular culture move away from romanticism and towards a more realistic and logical look at love. My research conclusion would lead to an increase in long-lasting and healthy relationships. I hope that after watching my video, young women will be more educated about love and will feel more secure in making romantic decisions.
Learn more about the students: