Hello people of the Universe !
Wow, two articles about GrokNation in two days… Grokking about life is definitely a full-time job. I can’t even concentrate on my studies as my head is full of questions and ideas. I also have other articles in preparation, don’t worry. ;)
Mayim Bialik, the founder of GrokNation, published her last article in which she asks us three questions:
• What are your favorite romantic comedies? What do the couples in those comedies look like?
• Have romantic comedies or TV sitcoms had an impact on how you see yourself?
• Do you feel represented by Hollywood’s vision of the world? What is missing?
I answered directly on her website but thought it would be interesting to share my musings with you, as I am very interested in your opinion on the subject. Here we go:
Well, is there really a lot of people that feel represented by Hollywood? I am not sure… Hollywood is more about making you dream, sharing what is perfection — according to them –, and it is their way to make people happy. It is not something to blame, it is something we can make evolve to touch more people and make it more representative.
I don’t feel represented by Hollywood because even if I respect some physical standards, I don’t find myself in their characters’ personality or behavior. There is always a “typical” story and you always know how it is going to end, as if everybody had only one path to follow. Sometimes, I just think they deprecate some people’s way of living. Like, if you are blond with big boobs, you are always stupid and dreaded, and you make everyone suffer. If you are the nerd one, you don’t have friends and people laugh at you. And by telling us “don’t worry, for the moment people mock him but something good is going to happen to that geeky guy”, Hollywood just makes us think that being quirky is not fine, that it justifies the way we are treated, that we have to change to be accepted. They shouldn’t make people change, they should change their vision of what is perfect to them and empower people who feel different. (Thank you Mayim for doing that)
I think it it not the same in France. Actors seem to be hired mostly thanks to their capacities and less because of their appearance. We have actresses and actors that are not the most beautiful (inuendo, don’t respect society standards of beauty) but are in many movies and are appreciated because they are really good.
For my part, I believe TV sitcoms influence the way I see myself but not a lot. My outfits are not very pretty, my face is, well, alright, two eyes, one nose, one mouth, but I feel okay with myself. I care much more about my personality. I don’t conform to standards — at least, I don’t try to. I am also more and more aware of why people can be fat, or thin, or why they wear a lot of makeup, why they don’t, why they prefer to be well dressed, etc. I try not to judge someone only on the way they look because I don’t know the story behind their appearance. It can be very simple like they love the look they have, but they also can suffer from it and can’t change it because of a disease or a lack of confidence. It doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate someone’s beauty, of course I do, and yes, I deduce things from it (thanks brain) but I try to “read between the lines”. So if I may add something, I think your question is not complete and I would add: have TV sitcoms an impact on how you see other people? Yes, definitely, yes. I realize it every time someone asks me “do you find this woman pretty?” and I try not to directly answer “from a socially accepted point of view, yes”. (I am less asked about men’s beauty by the way, but my message is long enough). I don’t notice a huge change in the perception I have of myself, but I do see that I can be more demanding towards people’s appearance sometimes.
Also, what impacts my vision is the difference between the age of actors and the age of the characters they play. Sometimes, actors are over 20 and play 16-year-old characters. It is very confusing and I notice that more and more girls and boys want to look like their favorite character without considering the age difference. They feel frustrated because they don’t look like them at all (they are not pretty enough) and they feel belittled.
Oh, so you really want to know my favorite romantic comedies (why do we always feel ashamed to say we love romantic comedies?)… Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. I am not sure it helps to grok about the vision we have of women in Hollywood movies as Bridget is an anti-hero but they are the first books I read in English and I love them both. Bridget is not the kind of women expected in romantic comedies. As she is not the most beautiful, she has to be naive and clumsy. But I love her and I love the way she defends herself and shows her true personality without trying to be “more like this, less like that”. She represents a lot of women, I think, and that’s what is missing to Hollywood. But would you keep dreaming if they create more realistic movies? (yes, I often reply to a question with another question)
To conclude this really long answer, I’d like to share about another kind of romantic relationship. Lately, I saw Her by Spike Jonze and really loved it. You are in 2025 and you meet Theodore, a writer of letters who is single and struggles to get over his ex-wife. As he can’t feel better, he decides to install an operating system and speaks with it. The female voice he hears is very nice, funny, she knows him very well and gives pertinent advice. He falls in love with her. I won’t spoil the end but what he and this operating system creates is very powerful. And scary. I did love how the movie gives you the impression to assist to a real relationship, with two people made of flesh and bones. I also feel like it is a way to say “I can’t find what I want in society, a system could help me” or “a system is more human than humans themselves”, “this system is the perfection I was looking for”. It is scary because romantic relationships could end up like this… And it highlights how lonely people can feel and how complicated it is to deal with perfection and social expectations.
What is your opinion?