Are Chick-Flicks Emotional Porn?

Our favorite movies make us feel things. As Hollywood legend Susan Sarandon said, “You go into a little dark room and become incredibly vulnerable. On one hand, all your perspectives can be challenged—you could feel something you couldn’t feel normally. It can encourage you to be the protagonist in your own life. On the other hand, it can completely misshape you.”

I experience this on a personal level. I cry, scream, and freak out in suspense about things that aren’t real. I vividly remember frustratingly tossing my face into my pillow as I finished watching my favorite chick-flick, Ever After, for the first time. Drama breeds drama, and as a teenager at a sleepover in my bestie’s basement—I was suffocating in it. The prince who pursues the main character is chivalrous, respectful, and handsome. He treats her with utter dignity and their love story exudes purity. So why did I feel so bad?

To answer this question I feel compelled to ask another question: are chick flicks emotional porn? The short answer is no. Pornography is an intrinsic evil that kills souls, relationships and sex lives. Romantic movies and novels, (that are devoid of erotic content) are not in and of themselves evil things. However, it is somewhat intriguing to compare some similarities between the two:

  1. Men are often more attracted to matters of the body, women to matters of the heart.

It’s no secret that for many men the draw of pornography is physical arousal. Males tend toward the visual and pornography can draw them in by showing explicit sexual acts. In turn, men are tempted to react in a physical way to these longings. They expect this response to make them feel better, but in reality it can only lead to emptiness.

It is also no secret that pornography addiction is a growing epidemic for women. Many women describe their attraction to porn as a deep desire for someone to long for them with such intensity. This is a hunger for almost all of us as women—the true, raw, and real desire to be desired. There are entire genres of novels, chick-flicks and rom-coms dedicated to us because this is true!

In my personal experience: consuming dramatic films and books, didn’t necessarily arouse me physically, but my heart was definitely spun in knots. These stories awakened the insatiable desire to find love, but as a result it often caused me to despair as I focused on my own uneventful love life. The irony was, that I watched these movies constantly expecting them to make me feel better… But really they usually made me miserable.

  1. Pornography and Chick-Flicks foster a false reality.

Many former porn addicts admit to the fact that porn ruined their sex life because the fabricated images on the screen distorted their sexual appetite. Porn portrays women in an unrealistic light that no woman could live up to off screen. This is why, sadly, many addicts find themselves preferring fantasy to reality.

On a different level, chick-flicks tempt us to compare reality to fiction. Expectations can be a killjoy. When we expect boys to act like Jacob, Augustus, Edward, Noah, Peta or Prince Charming we will always be disappointed. In real life there is no soundtrack, slow motion, rose ceremony or script. Sometimes boys will say and do things that maybe aren’t so well thought out. If we allow our expectations to be molded by dramas and rom-coms, we can easily miss out on the power and beauty of what is real, authentic and unscripted.

  1. Lack of temperance can be our doom.

For those who struggle with porn, the key is to know thyself. It is vital to recognize what situations lead you to the click that draws you in. If this is you, I urge you to fight the battle against pornography and discover the freedom that God desires for you!

I want to again emphasize: Looking at pornography is always grave and sinful but reading or watching dramatic stories may not be so. The key is to know yourself. What affects you? Ask yourself if these media types bring your attention to what is true, good and beautiful or make you depressed? Do they cause you to praise God or curse life? There may be certain times of the month, states of life or specific stories that cause more anguish than others. Ask yourself often if you are in a state to be able to handle these forms of media gracefully.

The best way we can combat these situations is to practice active chastity conscientiously in our daily lives. I encourage you to make a decision to guard your heart as closely as you guard your body. Having the ability to check ourselves at the right time will always show us that truth is better than fiction.

_________________________

ktKatie Hartfiel is the author of Woman In Love, which coaches young women as they pray for their future spouse. Katie received her Theology degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She served as a youth minister for seven years in Houston, where she now resides with her husband, Mark, and three daughters. For more on Katie, her books and her DIY purity retreat visit womaninlove.org.

4 Comments

  1. So to summarize: struggling with a problem dominated by men is always bad and soulrotting. Endulging in media marketed to women, that creates false fantasies that distort your ability to treat men as human beings with flaws is just an inconvenience, and creating a false idol of what it means to make a connection is all fine.

    Desire isnt merely about body, it is about lusting for what isnt yours. That can be a fantasy connection as much as smut on the internet.

    By Tron | 7 months ago Reply
    • Good point. Both of these, in the end, objectify the opposite sex. Women may want the emotional high from men that they fantasize about… Men may tend to want more physical ends. Both objectify the opposite sex by making them fit a desire… Instead of being who are they were created to be

      By Rob | 7 months ago Reply
  2. And I think this applies very very well to Japanese Anime – if you analyse it I’d say that it could be called “Emotional Porn”. And usually leads to a “sweet depressing melancholic state”. And that can be quite addictive.
    Like they say: sadness and melancholy are allies of the devil. And sons of God should be always happy, as recommended by most(every?) saint.

    By David | 7 months ago Reply
  3. Both of these actors were well known for their roles in chick flicks before jumping to the academy level. However, romantic comedies are typically respected more than chick flicks because they are designed to appeal to men and women.

    By Virtual Private Server | 7 months ago Reply

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