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We are not allowed to hold someone emotionally hostage until they give us what we want, forcing them to swallow their own feelings, desires, and needs in order to satisfy our own. That's not romance. That's abuse.

This year, Vulture declared that the grand romantic gesture will never die. It's become such a popular trope in “chick flicks” and the like, including John Cusack and his boom box. Movies like Say Anything (1989) gave rise to Ted Mosby, who grated on our nerves throughout nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother with this type of dramatic display to win the hearts of several women, none of whom turned out to be the mother. As an industry staple, I don't see it disappearing from rom-coms and related narratives any time soon, but these sort of public pity parties that play on people's empathy in order to achieve an end are not as romantic as television, movies, and music would have us believe. In fact, they are more akin to abuse. Many of the tunes that we consider to be our favorite love songs have lyrics that are nothing short of harassment and stalking. I happen to be a big fan of The Script’s “The Man Who Can't Be Moved” and I listen to it often, fully aware of its implications and its failures. The song intends to tell a story about a lost love and what one man is willing to do to have this woman back in his life, but the story that it ends up telling is about an attempt to manipulate her into rekindling a relationship with a very public display because he cannot handle their separation.
Related: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ABUSE IN QUEER RELATIONSHIPS

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