Watching Romantic Comedies Could Actually Be Bad For Women's Safety

Universal Pictures

Nancy Meyers is ruining society.

We've all seen it a thousand times: a movie featuring some combination of a blundering-but-hot British guy, a quirky free-spirited best friend, a workaholic woman who is too busy for a boyfriend and a lawyer who cares more about making money and scoring chicks than doing the right thing.

It's the typical backbone to any rom-com. We meet all these characters, usually in Chicago or New York City, and watch them try to court each other through a series of wacky situations in which they attempt to get their prospective mates' romantic attention.

Here is the thing, though. Most of the time, these attempts are borderline illegal, and, oftentimes, they're like SUPER creepy. I vaguely remember a movie where some guy snuck into a girl's room WHILE SHE WAS IN THERE to set up a rock show TO WAKE HER UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT to tell her he loved her.

If that's not a KEY part in some lifestyle article that goes viral called “I was mercilessly stalked to the point where I felt my life was at risk,” then I don't know what would be.

So, if you ever thought, “Hey! Uhhhhh, Hugh Grant is creepy as hell in this movie,” you're right. This stuff could/should probably never happen in real life.

There's also a good chance outlandish romance scenarios played out in rom-coms could be a major problem, according to Julia R. Lippman, an expert in gender, sexuality and communication studies at the University of Michigan and author of a study called "I Did It Because I Never Stopped Loving You," which analyzed the issue of questionable behavior in rom-coms.

Lippman told Global News,

After watching excerpts from one of these six films, participants completed a series of survey measures, including one that assessed their endorsement of 'stalking myths.' Stalking myths are false or exaggerated beliefs about stalking that minimize its seriousness, which means that someone who more strongly endorses stalking myths tends to take stalking less seriously.

Testing her hypothesis involved recording responses from women who just watched films of differing themes. Lippman found after these women watched rom-coms like "There's Something About Mary," they were more prone to accept stalking myths than when they watched movies like "March of the Penguins."

She said,

[Rom-coms] can encourage women to discount their instincts. This is a problem because research shows that instincts can serve as powerful cues to help keep us safe.

Long story short, stay FAR AWAY from Joseph Gordon-Levitt at all times.

Citations: Study Confirms Rom-Coms Are Slowly Turning Everyone Into Obsessive Creeps (Complex), Study finds romcoms teach female filmgoers to tolerate 'stalking myths' (The Guardian), Do romantic comedies teach women that stalking is OK? (Global News)