A university in Edinburgh has claimed that romantic comedies may give out the message of a perfect relationship, thus setting your expectations too high. You can read the article here. At the same time, this reminds me of other people saying that pornography is bad for relationships because the people see this as the “perfect” sexual encounter, thus setting the expectations too high as well. Take it for what you will.
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Very interesting. I certainly agree with the study about rom-coms. They can be entertaining while they last but sometime we don’t realize how much they affect us.
That’s crazy you mention the “porn setting sex expectations too high” thing; I just talked about this in one of my groups. I never thought about romantic comedies having the same effect, but I suppose it makes sense.
The media/entertainment business truly influences us in many ways, many of which we are consciously unaware. Your Obama/Today Show article illustrates this as well.
Interpersonal violence, relationship and sex struggles, politics, values, and beliefs are all susceptible to being shaped by this phenomenon. Personal awareness and accountability are traits in need of development in our society.
Here’s a question that I thought of while I was reading this study: suppose that you know about this study, and you say to yourself, “ok, I know that these romantic comedies set the standard too high, so I’m not going to take this too seriously.” Could you do that? Does knowledge of a study change your behavior about that action of what the study was about?
You COULD really do that, but it’s really difficult to. I think once you gain a sense of awareness about whatever you want to change, you’re only doing part of the work. You have to put in more hard work and think about it critically and even make behavioral changes (a la not going to see rom coms). Simply put, knowledge doesn’t change behavior a continued conscious behavioral intention does.
Shaun, I basically do that with video games. I can play an incredibly gory, antisocial video game like Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City and not allow myself to become desensitized to violence and death. I more than likely become desensitized to the visual representation of death, but the likelihood of me acting out is nil. This may be due to my awareness of studies showing a link between games and violence, as well as a host of other factors such as emotional maturity.
Long story short, my knowledge of the possible effect violent games has on me serves as a behavioral buffer.
Prometheus, you contend “knowledge doesn’t change behavior, a continued conscious behavioral intention does.” This is true. What do you think about the idea of knowledge preventing behavioral change, as in my self-described example?
I like that idea of video games as an example.
As for the question that you ask, “what do you think about the idea of knowledge preventing behavioral change?” This is what I’m getting at. People who watch romantic comedies may raise their standards. But then if you tell people the studies beforehand, would their expectations rise?
I can see this with other cases: if you knew beforehand that taking shrooms would cause your experiences to be totally out of whack, would you consider your senses to be untrustworthy and know that they are untrustworthy? I think if someone took shrooms or acid and had no idea what the psychological effects are, he would freak out even more as opposed to the one who knew beforehand.
In that sense, I agree with you Killer J. Are there any instances where you have knowledge of some study beforehand, but the results are exactly the same as what the study suggested? I can’t think of any. Second level knowledge can affect first level knowledge.
Here’s an example of a situation where you might have knowledge of the study beforehand and still have the same results…think about the assimilation of Euro-American standards of beauty onto US citizens. Most educated people know that the media provide us with an unrealistic view of what “preferable” women should look and act like, yet we still, in most instances, take these ideas on for ourselves and expect women to look/act a certain way. The same can be said for the preferential gender expression of men.
That’s an interesting thought process, prometheus. In the same way, I think looking at different times helps too. In the early 1900s, being very curvy was considered sexy. The more flesh you had, the more beautiful you were. Indeed, this is still represented in Playboy in the first issue where Marilyn Monroe was a size 8 in dresses. But now, size 8 is considered big and being thin and showing definition is now the mark of beauty. Who knows? Maybe the next generation will have a totally new definition of beauty where we currently think of it as ugly.
Now I know that we see beauty in different cultures and different times. There are plenty of studies about that. But when I look at an attractive girl, that academic part of me shuts down somewhat and I only see the attractiveness. I know that somewhere in the back of my mind that the attraction comes from my background, culture, history, and values. But for some reason, this temporary amnesia kicks in. Why is that? I don’t know.