Hollywood and Valentine’s Day. The desire for love. The problem? Our culture has romanticized using another person for personal pleasure.
By Lauren Heaton
Picture this: high school girl, reading a Nicholas Sparks novel while on the elliptical at the gym, tearing up.
That was the first and last Nicholas Sparks book I ever read. As women, books and movies like this mess with our emotions. I think more often than not, we are well aware of this fact and choose to watch the Bachelor or latest RomCom in order to feel those emotions. Hollywood calls them love stories. I call them stories of romanticized use.
The stories that have the guy and the girl hooking up are not stories of love. If they were, the man would be upholding the woman’s dignity and protecting her from use as self-gratification. But if it looks like love and sounds like love then it sells as ooey gooey love and our culture gobbles it up faster than the chocolate candy on sale. Why? Because we long for love. The problem? Our culture has romanticized using another person for personal pleasure.
Sarah Swafford, Catholic author and speaker, coined the phrase the “Cycle of Use” in her book Emotional Virtue. The Cycle of Use is prevalent in our over sexualized media and HookUp Culture today. Speaking generally, a guy will use a girl for physical pleasure and a girl will use a guy for emotional pleasure. We also will use media in a similar way, be it romance novels, romantic TV shows, movies, and even porn, to experience a fleeting sense of pleasure.
Midway through college I decided I was done with the emotional rollercoaster brought on by Hollywood’s design and I know I’m healthier (and hopefully on my way to being holier!) because of it. Frankly I decided I did not want a movie to dictate my mood or view of myself. Has it limited the options of movies or TV shows I have? Sure. But finding joy in the reality around me has been worth it!
By the end of college my roommate and I were dedicated to fostering a real feminine community in our apartment, so Friday nights were not for trashy “romantic ” movies. They were for games, conversation, and the occasional adventure out for ice cream.
My challenge to you is to think twice before you buy tickets to see this year’s Valentine’s Day blockbuster. Consider the joy that is to be found by leaving behind emotional rollercoasters caused by false love stories. Real joy, the lasting kind Jesus offers to us, is far better than any Hollywood, riding off into the sunset kiss.
“Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see their God” Matthew 5:8
Lauren is a young Catholic professional working in the marketing industry. She loves working with high schoolers and leads a high school youth group. She is also passionate about leading a young women’s bible study, is on the leadership team for West Denver 2:42 a young adult ministry and sings at her church. Lauren is a modest fashion enthusiast, pancake connoisseur, promoter of faith and fitness, and lover of all things family oriented.