Dear Netflix, HBO, and Hulu,
As a proud 29-year-old feminist, I am begging you to be an ally and delete all romantic comedies from your platforms. “Rom-Coms” are disgusting misogynistic garbage. I thought we all knew that, so imagine my surprise when I’m watching a YouTube compilation of My Favorite Murder clips (Why do my Murderino ladies not have their own show yet?) and what should pop up but an ad for HBO’s newest “comedic love story,” Locked Up. I literally puked all over my Twin Peaks “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” T-shirt. Do you know how hard it is to get vomit stains off of a screen-printed tee without damaging the blood splatter design? They came out eventually but it turned the picture a little pink and now Laura just looks like she’s just taking a quick beach nap in a clear plastic sleeping bag.
Come to think of it, if Urban Outfitters sold clear blow-up sleeping bags I would buy one.
Back to vom-coms. The whole genre needs to go. It’s about the lack of respect: Boy meets girl, girl falls for boy and sacrifices everything—it’s like we’re props. How are we supposed to change society if we keep glorifying these shitty images?
We’re all responsible for not promoting problematic older films. Netflix, I used to binge an episode of your series The Ted Bundy Tapes every week before my shift at Planned Parenthood, but I’ve had to suspend my subscription after you added a list of Julia Roberts films. Pretty Woman should not be categorized as a “classic feel-good,” it should be under “demeaning to women and honestly inhumane.” Hulu, 500 Days of Summer?! That guy’s behavior is objectively not OK. And the way they neglect the woman’s side of the story and center the male gaze is obscene. Tokenization of Manic Pixie Dream Girl traits is gender violence. It’s not just me, I posted about it on my True Detective fan fiction blog and got over three hundred claps.
When I got my minor in women’s studies, my biggest takeaway was that people out there have no idea how much misogyny they are internalizing on a daily basis. The thought of it truly makes me feel like tearing my hair out, peeling my skin off, and dissolving myself in acid while I’m still alive. Weirdly, this happened to a woman in 1986 (she didn’t do it to herself, they think it was her neighbor) and for the record, it would make an excellent Lifetime movie.
We don’t need more male-protagonist, gender-role-centric, Disneyfied love stories. Let’s have fewer Love Actually’s and more of The Undoing. Points to HBO for this one. Nicole Kidman is this rich lady whose husband cheats on her with a sexy Latina woman with HUGE knockers and then that woman is found brutally bludgeoned to death—it is so good! It’s such an interesting series, because they don’t spoon-feed you background or obvious clues, just quick flashbacks of the other lady having sex with the husband and POV clips of hammering her face in. Nicole Kidman defends the husband because he’s so good with kids, but at the end, he kidnaps her son so she’s like “OK arrest this guy.” It was nice to see a strong female lead, you know?
Do I know that it's ironic to battle the societal caging of women while enjoying the “Woman Trapped in Cage” episode of Criminal Minds? Yes. But between sexual harassment, the wage gap, looming threats to reproductive rights, disregard for LGBT rights, and lack of equitable rights for women of color (all of which women are still dealing with today) I think the very least you can do is stop streaming Gigli.
I hope you all clean up your act so I can renew my streaming accounts in good conscience. While I don’t miss the eye-roll-worthy catalogue of romantic comedies, I do miss watching shows. There’s only so many times I can re-listen to Serial. Plus I really want to know how Mare of Easttown ends.