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cheesy christmas films

Cheesy Christmas films: feminist or failure?

Christmas is almost here! A time filled with joy, togetherness and Hugh Grant being the Prime Minister that this country desperately needs. I love Christmas, I love the presents, the decorations, the copious amount of cheese my mum buys, but most of all, I love snuggling under a blanket with a cup of tea and watching 90 minutes of the most tooth rotting, festive trash on Netflix. It’s my crack. I have watched every single film in the Christmas Prince franchise and I’m not even sorry, to the haters I must ask, is it a crime? Why do we, as strong independent feminists, fall for Big Christmas’ agenda every time? So, join me on the sofa while we unwrap the greatest present of all…knowledge. 

‘Tis the season to be Jolly?

In 2015, the University of Denmark proved that when people were shown Christmas themed photographs, their brains lit up like, well, Christmas trees. Our brains physically experience festive cheer. So, 90 minutes of Christmas-themed imagery is going to have our brains going crazy for Christmas. Scientists describe the joyous reaction to Christmas as a ‘happiness circuit’ which meant that all the happiness in the brain is also wired to other parts of your body. When I was a child, my dad told me that when I climbed into my parent’s bed at 4am on Christmas Day one year, I was so excited he could hear my heart beating through the mattress, a perfect example of the happiness circuit! 

A prince is for life, not just for Christmas…

Look, we’re all aware that Christmas films aren’t particularly feminist, they’re pretty cookie cutter. The New Feminist Team was ripping itself apart to think of a single Christmas film that wholeheartedly passes the Bechdel test. 

They usually go like this: He’s a small town Christmas themed boy who lives in Wintertown, she’s a big city Christmas hater, she falls in love, leaves her evil city slicker boyfriend behind and she marries the Christmas tree farmer, she falls in love again with Christmas. The end. But what happens after the credits roll?

Firstly we need to look at why these festive boyfriends are perfect to us. As well as our brains being literally programmed to love these christmassy men, usually they are played by the first person you are suggested when you google ‘Stock photo handsome man’. They also live somewhere inexplicably beautiful and who doesn’t want to fall in love inside a pinterest board? 

Christmas is the perfect season to pin all of your hopes, dreams and wishes to because it represents joy, togetherness and a countdown to the end of the year. The fact that new years is right around the corner forces people to make massive, magic-fuelled decisions so that they’re starting off the next year with a bang. 

In reality, someone who didn’t leave their hometown and has unstable seasonal work is probably not that much of a catch, especially as most of our romantic heroines leave their fiances in the city for them. Most of the original fiances committed only one crime: not being able to take last minute PTO from work. Thinking about marrying a Christmas Prince? Think again. What makes you qualified to run an, albeit imaginary small European country? Think of the paperwork, the politics, the rules! The concept of admin is so not Christmassy. 

Single all the way…

Hallmark movies also perpetuate the idea that you HAVE to be in a relationship at Christmas. As if the mistletoe hanging, matching Christmas PJs, Christmas marriage proposal crowd weren’t bad enough, they also get propaganda as well! It’s ok if you don’t have a partner at Christmas, just like it’s ok not to have a partner on every single other day of the year*. You’re not a failure or unloveable just because you don’t have a Christmas bae for Christmas day, don’t let the couple-y atmosphere of Christmas get to you if you don’t want it to. You can still be a strong independent individual in a Christmas jumper!

I’m (not) dreaming of a (straight) white Christmas…

Now then, I’m not saying we should boycott cheesy Christmas movies in the slightest. I’m saying we should expand the Christmas film universe to include a wider array of people. While there has been some diversity in recent Christmas films, most of what I call the CPCU (the Christmas Prince Cinematic Universe) is dominated by stories of beautiful straight white people falling in love. This just isn’t realistic, Hallmark will be shocked and devastated to hear that POC, differently abled and even gay people also fall in love at Christmas time. Shocking, I know.

It’s time for the people responsible for the cheesiest Christmas films to tap into the diverse Christmas films market so that they can continue to dominate every streaming platform and TV channel from early November. I’m just saying everyone deserves a piece of sparkly Christmas trash, just for them. 

Mince pies before guys

In conclusion, my advice is to let festive cheer consume your soul but STAY VIGILANT, you never know if a mysterious, inexplicably ripped baker from your past is going to pop up and fill your head with visions of sugarplums. But what about the Winter Cupcake Sale Snowflake Ball? It’s just one day! Remember that Christmas decisions lead to rest of the year consequences. Time spent not with a Christmas Prince is time spent smashing the patriarchy. Merry Christmas feminists! Anyone up for Love Actually?

*This advice also applies to New Years kisses, couples Halloween costumes and Valentines Day.