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To Whom It May Concern, Let’s Write a Rom-Com

by Kiana Danielle (Write Inclusive! Author)

To Whom It May Concern,

Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray in ‘A Cinderella Story’

I’m not delusional, I know most romantic comedies are crap. The teen ones are filled with angsty kids that speak about life as if they’ve lived it six times over. And the adult ones are filled with people who haven’t learned how to communicate properly, despite existing on this planet for decades. The declarations of love are ridiculously long and way too well-worded for them to sound remotely realistic. But, I won’t for the life of me give them up. They’re my guilty pleasure and sometimes even my muse. My devotion to the genre started when I was very young after watching A Cinderella Story. After that, my spare time consisted of marathon after marathon of the 90s and early-2000s rom-coms. I watched anything I could record or get my hands on at the local library. No surprise here, it was mostly straight, white, cisgendered couples I was swooning over. The older I got the more I unconsciously assumed that only white people starred in swoon-worthy romances.

Everyone outside of that white bubble (or outside the default, wink, wink) struggled with love in a stereotypical manner. Films featuring black couples were riddled with violence and abuse. Both of which are very real, but insanely normalized in association with black culture. Same goes for films about Latinx couples. Asian romances were probably the most difficult for me to find back then. When I did manage to find some I noticed the women were supposed to be these delicate flowers, hiding from the sun. The men always got their pick of the bunch. It frustrated me so much that for a long time I gave up on seeing people of color fall in love. I mean, I wanted to witness well-rounded heroines and their equally impressive love interests. And white-led films were delivering that and occasionally more (see: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s take on memory or (500) Days of Summer take on the “good” guy)

Solution? Let’s write one. Reasons?

  1. Do you really want Nicholas Sparks’s stories to bombard television and theater screens for every Valentine’s Day from now to eternity? We’re better than that, people.
  2. Other dating cultures are fascinating. The action of telling someone you like them differs from place to place. For example, in Japan, it’s the girls that buy the boys chocolate on Valentine’s Day. And one month later, on White Day, the boy returns the favor – if he’s interested in the girl.
  3. Since rom-coms aren’t exactly the hottest genre to be working in right now, I think it’s safe to say, there’s not going to be a lot of movement towards diversifying content. Time to take matters into our own hands.
  4. If I have to sit through another film where the guy obviously has more chemistry with his male friend than his actual love interest my heart’s going to give up.

I believe in us. I declare this upcoming Valentine’s Day a “Write a Rom-Com” day. Give it a try. It doesn’t have to be an actual screenplay. Just play around with some ideas. Think outside of the box. Remember, people who aren’t white, straight and cisgendered can and do fall in love. Let’s give them some happily ever afters. Share them with me below or on Twitter because that’s where I’ll be this Valentine’s Day. Wishing you a Happy Write a Rom-Com Day. Or, of course, if you’re celebrating, A Happy Valentine’s Day.

Yours Truly,

Kiana Danielle

A bit about the columnist:

Kiana Danielle is a student studying English Literature and Film at the University of South Florida. Besides storytelling she's interested in psychology, feminism, vanilla coffee and space travel. Visit author page