Imagine the ultimate romance of an early 2000s Hollywood movie: a random encounter between a handsome white middle class man, and a naïvely beautiful young woman. She might have fallen off her bike as he nonchalantly walks by. Or perhaps they’ve met in a supermarket aisle reaching out for the last packet of one thing or another. Better still, an NYC taxi is stopped, which both row over and in a New York minute share.
It goes without saying that the rest of the story is history. The protagonist (and generic) cis male of ours and the 2D woman start dating, fall in love, move in together, and have children. They’ll probably cheat on each other at some point, but that’s another movie.
This particular structure of a ‘boy meets girl’ narrative is a universal representation of Hollywood-love in a nutshell. Unfortunately, most of us were raised thinking that love was exactly that. Not much space was left for queer love, or polyamorous love, or no-love at all for that matter. Not many Hollywood movies showed that the freedom of and to love isn’t allowed to everyone in the same way, that ‘love’ could be a privilege as well as an obligation, and its understanding could vary from culture to culture.
Self-love, for instance, was never considered as actual love, and neither the whole spectrum of possibilities that love could entail – the society we live in today is a product of that. And while Hollywood blockbusters can’t quite be accused of creating social norms more than it simply reflected on the environment; it is surprising that a business rooted in fiction strayed so little from reality. It’s important to disrupt the narratives that portray a unique and largely idealistic definition of love in order to promote a broader spectrum of experiences that aren’t as dependent on the power structures that influence our interactions.