pop culture

Link Love Wednesday: Dark Lord Funk

maxresdefaultHi everyone! As always,  I hope you are having a wonderful week. :) Unfortunately for me, since last week’s Link Love, I have been a little under the weather with pharyngitis and laryngitis. When I do talk, I sound like a 13-year-old boy whose voice is finally starting to change! Thankfully, between cups of tea and bowls of hot soup, I have been relatively productive, going through some spring cleaning, publishing a few guest articles, and (of course) collecting our latest batch of Link Love. The Internet sure is a wonderful place to go when you’re not feeling well enough to do much else!

What are some of your favorite links and articles from the week? Bloggers, did you post anything you’re particularly proud of this week Share in the comments section below! :)

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies

Modern Day Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies!After a fun-filled trip to Epcot last weekend, it’s safe to say that I have Disney on the brain! A child of the 1990s, I loved picking up a new Disney movie in its colorful plastic case and playing it in our VCR (which had to be replaced, after one of our Disney movies got stuck in there). Even in my twenties, I’m quick to pop in a Disney movie whenever I’m sick or in need of a reminder from my childhood.

Of course, watching these movies as I’ve gotten older, I realize that many of them would be a lot different if they were written today. Our thoughts on marriage, beauty and women’s roles have significantly evolved in the last century, and with the ever-growing influence of technology and social media, it’s interesting to think about how our Disney favorites would differ in a modern-day setting.

This weekend, I’ve taken five Disney classics and revised the plots to take place in 2015. Let the madness begin!

The Weekend Five: Modern Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies

Modern Day Twists to Your Favorite Disney Movies!1. Cinderella (1950)
Ella escapes the confines of her strict stepmother’s home to attend Coachella, where she meets and becomes infatuated with DJ Charming. When she flees from the festival to meet curfew, leaving behind nothing but her custom-made flower head wrap, DJ Charming launches a social media campaign (#FindElla) to find her. Meanwhile, as one of the film’s subplots, her stepmother’s cat Lucifer becomes a viral Internet meme and soon has his own line of merchandise.

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2. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
When Tod and Copper’s owners recognize the unlikely friendship blossoming between their pets, they photograph the two animals playing together and create a blog documenting the relationship. The blog goes viral, and Tod and Copper are even featured on Ellen.

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http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/the-little-mermaid-funny-font2.jpg3. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Plagued by pollution and the ongoing threat of global warming, the creatures of the sea send Ariel ashore to speak with the humans about these atrocities. There she falls in love with Eric, the son of an oil tycoon, and feels voice-less in a society still dominated by patriarchal values. In the end, Ariel saves the planet and ultimately agrees to marry Eric, but mostly because she thinks his dog is really cute.

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4. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
At the heart of Beauty and the Beast is a love triangle for the ages. Should she choose Adam “The Beast” Rose, a hairier-than-average guy whose anger management classes have proven ineffective thus far? Or should she choose Gaston, her handsome neighbor who frequents men’s rights message boards and complains about “female privilege”? In the end, Belle realizes that she’s too good for either of these men, and instead chooses the cute guy she met at the bookstore. Meanwhile, her father (a software engineer and app developer) invents Words with Friends.

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http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/the-little-mermaid-funny-font2.jpg5. Mulan (1998)
Mulan joins the army without disguising her female identity. She is celebrated for her bravery, strength and creative problem-solving skills. She returns home a hero.

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If you enjoyed these modern day movie adaptations, you’ll love my modern day endings to these classic romantic comedies! Go check them out.

What are your favorite Disney films? How do you think they would play out in 2015?

2014: The Year in Review

I'm pretty sure I had one of these.

I’m pretty sure I had one of these.

Can you believe it has been 15 years since the major Y2K scare? Luckily, a lot has changed since the days of pleather pants and Ricky Martin, and I have finally grown out of those bell bottoms I wore as the clock struck midnight. Thank goodness our computers continued to function and the world didn’t end!

2014 was a landmark year of its own, with plenty of interesting pop culture events and trends to reach the masses. I’m still not entirely sure what an Iggy Azalea is or why parachute pants are making a comeback (sorry, but no one looks good in those), but I am happy to report that starting this year, So It Must Be True will begin compiling an annual Year in Review, summarizing some of the highlights of the last 365 days.

Enjoy my last article of 2014 below and have a very happy, healthy New Year! Feel free to add your own categories in the comments section below. :)

2014: The Year in Review

  • faux_outrageTheme of the Year: Faux Outrage.
    Yes, 2014 was definitely the year of Faux Outrage, expressed mainly through social media shares of popular opinion piece articles. We became especially sensitive to all issues, even those we secretly didn’t know or care much about, in the interest of portraying ourselves as Social Activists. Through Facebook and Twitter posts, we shared our outrage over very minor issues and often glossed over the much more major ones. While political correctness and kindness have always been undeniably important, 2014 was the year that we berated each other mercilessly in order to show how accepting and supportive we really were.
  • Word of the Year: “Appropriation.”
    In the interest of Faux Outrage, we often accused even the most harmless of events to perpetuate “cultural appropriation” or “misappropriation.” For many of us, this was the first time we had ever seen or heard this word, but we were excited to use it even when cultural appropriation wasn’t happening. (Note: This is a very real thing, and we should be mindful of the way we treat other people and their cultures, but 2014 often misused and overused the term when it really didn’t apply.)
  • article-swift-0607Celebrity Makeover of the Year: Taylor Swift.
    In 2014, something miraculous happened for Taylor Swift. She transformed herself from “the girl who goes from boyfriend to boyfriend and writes songs about each of them” to “the girl who values her female friendships (and probably, in secret, still has some boyfriends here and there.” T. Swift became known for her signature red lipstick, her chic sense of style, and her coterie of superstar celebrity pals. If Taylor Swift was friends with Lena Dunham and Emma Stone, then how bad could she really be? Taylor Swift also seemed to become a lot more self-aware in 2014 as she fully transitioned to the genre of pop, writing songs that poked fun at society’s perceptions of her. What will Taylor do next?
  • Most Disliked Celebrity of the Year: Justin Bieber.
    My mom has said that if Justin Bieber were her child, he would be in time-out by now for his awful behavior. Does anyone still listen to his music?
  • 532047_10151365719858869_358177475_nSuperfood of the Year: Kale.
    As we aim to #eatclean as part of our New Year’s Resolutions, we can’t forget how much kale has dominated our Pinterest boards in the last year. Other foods that run closely behind: sweet potato (the paleo community’s Superfood of the Year), quinoa, and cauliflower (which has lent itself to gluten-free rice, pizza crust, mashed faux-tatoes, and so much more!).
  • Hot Button Issue of the Year: Feminism.
    Every year, we pick a new cause to make ourselves feel particularly important and well-informed. When I first started college, that cause was environmentalism, as everyone began to concern themselves with global warming. However, as the years wore on, more and more people stopped biking to classes and bringing recyclable bags to the grocery store. In 2014, everyone became a feminist. Many of us were feminists to begin with, but now it was especially in vogue to post Jezebel articles about slut-shaming, body-shaming, and every other kind of shaming imaginable. My personal favorite articles were those that accused certain celebrities of being or not being feminists. When Shailene Woodley (mentioned later in this article) announced that she was not a feminist, the Internet nearly broke. I’d like to think that many of the feminists that emerged in 2014 will continue to defend women’s rights in 2015 and beyond, but the cynical part of me fears that feminism has become just as much of a trend for the sake of being a trend as anything else.
  • TV Show of the Year: Orange is the New Black.tumblr_mr3p0tsiSl1sdc0bvo1_250
    When Season 2 of the Netflix original came out in 2014, social media exploded with posts about the show and the binge-watching that went along with it.  This show received tons of award nominations in the months to come, and will be bringing much of its well-earned popularity with it into the year 2015.
  • Actress of the Year: Shailene Woodley.
    Oh, Shailene, you strange forest nymph/child of the moon. Shailene Woodley, who was known for a few of her roles prior to 2014, suddenly went from pretty-but-unmemorable-unwed-teen-mother-on-television to quirky-nature-loving-movie-star. The young actress had several major movie roles this year, but was even more known for her interesting interviews and homemade remedies for everything imaginable.
  • Actor of the Year: Chris Pratt.
    After getting in shape for Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt was not only the lovable goofball from Parks and Recreation, but also a total stud. His bodacious new bod, coupled with his funny quotes and infectious smile, made him 2014’s most likable heartthrob.
  • 675d8cc18205907f363667eae27740d6Clothing Trend of the Year: Crop Tops & Dresses.
    Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, girls aimed to show off their belly-buttons. Crop tops and cropped dresses have emerged in 2014 (popularized by Taylor Swift and other celebrities), this time showing off the upper ribcage but leaving the navel to the imagination. I’m not sure if this will ever be a trend I decide to follow, but if I ever do get that six-pack I pray for every year, this trend will at least help me reveal part of it to the world.

What trends and events do you think everyone will remember from 2014?

Sound off in the comments below!

The Weekend Five: TV Crossovers That Need to Happen

82705raven_01Because I’m a fan of so many TV shows, you’d think I would love crossover episodes. After all, wouldn’t it be awesome to see some of my favorite characters from two or more TV shows, duking it out on one set? Sadly enough, I’ve never seen a crossover episode that I really enjoyed. (I am hoping that the Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover this fall will change that!)

To remedy this horrible problem, I took it upon myself to create five brand new TV shows that involve character crossovers. These shows range from comedy to drama to reality, and will hopefully make the work a lot easier for the writers, as the episodes practically write themselves! Sit back and relax with a bowl of your most buttery popcorn as we flip through these five amazing TV show crossovers.

The Weekend Five: TV Crossovers That Need to Happen

1. That’s So Raymond (That’s So Raven + Everybody Loves Raymond).
Sports writer Ray Barone (Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond) finds himself teaching journalism classes at a San Francisco high school, until one day he begins having visions of the future. His long lost cousin, Raven Baxter (That’s So Raven) teaches him how to harness his psychic powers, but the two get into plenty of costumed hijinks along the way. The show features Raymond’s nagging wife Debra, several sassy catchphrases (“That’s so Raymond!”), and Ray Romano’s glorious Muppet voice.

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1994b04a592e32d67f6d1c08f81e88d02. Boy Meets Girls (Boy Meets World + Girls).
Cory Matthews (not yet married to Topanga, with whom he is currently on a break) and the guys from Boy Meets World decide that New York is the perfect place to spend their twenties. They move into the apartment across from Hannah Horvath and Marnie Michaels (Lena Dunham and Allison Williams on Girls). Cory finds himself fascinated by the younger, fast-talking Shoshanna, while Shawn falls for troublesome Jessa, whose past may be darker than his own. Meanwhile, as part of her quarter-life crisis, Marnie hooks up with the ambitionless Eric Matthews, much to her own chagrin. The show features clever commentary on the millennial generation, Shoshanna’s bizarre hairstyles, Skype dates with Mr. Feeny, and a lot of Lena Dunham nudity.

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3. America’s Next Top Teen Mom (America’s Next Top Model + Teen Mom).
Tyra is always looking for a new spin for her competitive modeling TV show. Why not add MTV’s famous teen mothers into the mix? The young contestants are judged based on their smize, the number of weaves they can wear in one episode, their ability to text and drive, and how well they deal with their baby daddies. The show features lots of tears, a weekly discussion about the contestants’ “realness,” a screaming Tyra Banks, and Jenelle Evans’ hot lawyer.

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once-upon4. Once Upon a Grimm (Once Upon a Time + Grimm).
Once Upon a Time and Grimm, both heavily focused on fairy tales and folklore, hit the small screens around the same time. Putting them together for a spin-off TV show (or at least a crossover episode) would be a no-brainer! Nick Burkhardt, a Portland homicide investigator and Grimm (a hunter who perceives supernatural forces and can fight them), finds his way to the East Coast town of Storybrooke. He and his partner, Hank Griffin, team up with Emma Swan (the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming) to vanquish whatever villain is currently haunting Storybrooke. Meanwhile, Monroe (a blutbad, much like The Big Bad Wolf) begins an illicit affair with Ruby (Red Riding Hood/Werewolf Extraordinaire). Police Captain Sean Renard takes a liking to Evil Queen Regina (the Mayor of Storybrooke) and they bond over their shared knack for interior decorating. The show features true love’s kiss, several magical fight scenes, Nick Burkhardt’s concerned face, good triumphing over evil, and too much clever dialogue for its own good.

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5. Orange is the New Scandal (Orange is the New Black + Scandal).
Olivia Pope fixes things. But when she finds herself sentenced to a year in federal prison for the crimes she has committed, she can no longer play her role as Washington D.C.’s resident fixer. Instead, she begins helping her fellow inmates with their own issues. She gets Red back to her job in the kitchen, prepares several inmates for their appeals, puts an end to the prison race wars, and even works to improve Crazy Eyes’ image. The show features emotionally-charged prison visits from President Fitzgerald Grant, flashbacks to Olivia’s fabulous coats, a developing friendship between Olivia and fellow prisoner/hairdresser Sophia (who helps her maintain her beautiful hairstyles), and a significantly improved prison system.

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You’re welcome, TV viewers.

Love Lessons from the Movies

e9431ded-5a77-4fec-8942-d8f5b0a500dbRegular readers of my blog will know that I love to write about romantic comedies. From the gender stereotypes they perpetuate to the misconceptions they give us about love to the modern-day endings to classic rom coms, I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of watching, swooning over and criticizing these films. :)

Of course, the romantic comedies we watch can actually teach us a lot about love and relationships! Below are some of the lessons I’ve taken away from these films, which will hopefully enhance your love life and bring you the happiness you seek!

  • High school is a drag, especially when it comes to dating, but if you change everything about your appearance and personality, you will finally find true love. – Grease (1978)
  • Living under the sea is a drag, especially when your only friend is a flounder, but if you sell your soul to a sea witch in order to change your appearance, you will finally find true love. – The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • Don’t fall in love with a womanizing slacker. Instead, fall in love with his workaholic brother who tried to ship you out of the country so he could complete a business deal. – Sabrina (1954)
  • When you love someone, the best way to show that love is by yelling at the other person. – Katherine Heigl movies
  • Women are most charming when singing among nature or not talking at all. – Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • If you really want to be with someone who is otherwise engaged, you should wait to reveal your feelings until that person’s wedding day. – Various films
  • If you begin a friends-with-benefits relationship with someone, you will ultimately fall in love and end up together. – Friends With Benefits (2011), No Strings Attached (2011), various other films
  • If you’re otherwise sweet and easy to relate to, then it’s okay to steal your best friend’s fiancé. – Something Borrowed (2011)
  • It’s not an inappropriate age gap if the older person in the relationship is undead and still looks like a teenager. – Twilight (2008)

Readers, what are some of the lessons you’ve taken away from the movies you’ve watched? Sound off in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Boy Bands, The Sorcerer’s Stone and Romantic Comedies

harrypotterI hope this week’s Link Love finds you well! Can you believe how quickly the summer is flying by? When I was in high school, I always felt a sense of dread around mid-July, when the new school year seemed to be looming all too closely. Nowadays, I work year-round, but I will never forget the way I felt as I watched the summer slip away. For those of you who have a break from school or work this summer, hopefully you are finding ways to make the most of your days off – away from the computer!

Of course, when you do stop to check Facebook and your favorite blogs (wink, wink), be sure to enjoy some of our latest Link Love!

How are you spending your summer? Any great links you’ve come across this week? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

Link Love Thursday: Harry Potter is Back!

CA.0802.harry.potter.hallows.2.Good afternoon, friends! We are (sort of) back to our regularly scheduled programming here at So It Must Be True, and once again, I’m excited to share the latest batch of Link Love. Hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July weekend filled with friends, family and ESPN’s hotdog eating contest!

Happy reading! What are some of the best links you’ve come across this week?

Link Love Wednesday: Draco Malfoy & Shane at Walmart

Courtesy of HelloGiggles.com

Courtesy of HelloGiggles.com

It’s that time of the week again! You know, that time when I post interesting, funny and sometimes bizarre articles from around the web for a very eclectic link roundup. Get ready for this week’s Link Love and share your own favorites in the comments section below!

Any fantastic articles you’ve come across lately? Drop a note in the comments section or share your favorite posts that you’ve published!

The Weekend Five: TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together

TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up TogetherA pop culture junkie through and through, I can’t help but have some strong opinions about the television shows I have watched over the years. From universally hated finales to unhealthy relationship pairings, even our favorite TV shows will disappoint us from time to time.

This week, we’ll talk about the ones that got away – the TV couples who should have been together when the series ended. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together

1. Dan and Blair (Gossip Girl)
Throughout Gossip Girl, both Dan and Blair experience their share of relationships. The Upper East Side’s Queen B begins the series in a long-term relationship with golden boy Nate Archibald, falls into an emotional on/off affair with bad boy Chuck Bass over several seasons, and even marries the Prince of Monaco. Dan, a writer and outsider from Brooklyn, falls for socialite Serena van der Woodsen (Blair’s sometimes-best friend), briefly dates Hilary Duff and begins to raise a child he soon learns is not his. Let’s face it: these characters have a lot going on.

At the start of the series, Dan and Blair come from very different worlds and have nothing but disdain for one another, but as the seasons wear on, we learn that the two actually have a lot of common interests and chemistry of their own. They form a very close friendship that eventually evolves into a brief relationship, but the writers quickly force a breakup because the two characters were never supposed to be endgame material. Blair ends up with the emotionally and physically abusive Chuck (who once traded her for a hotel), while Dan ends up with the aimless Serena. Moral of the show? Shared interests and the ability to have real conversations with another person are nothing compared to rocky relationships with emotionally unavailable people! (“Dair” was pretty great while it lasted, though, and it definitely made the show a lot more interesting.)

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2. Shawn and Angela (Boy Meets World)
Many of us grew up watching Boy Meets World and wanting the idyllic Cory/Topanga relationship, but to me, the more interesting couple was always Shawn and Angela. Shawn, Cory’s best friend, had a rough family life and difficulty staying in a relationship longer than two weeks. Angela was the first girl he really committed to, dating in high school and college, and his character grew a lot during that relationship. They part ways when she leaves for Europe to be closer to her father (which is a valid reason to leave), but the couple never really gets closure.

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TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together3. Rory and Jess (Gilmore Girls)
First, let me just say that I hated Rory’s Yale boyfriend, Logan. To me, he never really came off as a fantastic boyfriend, and I was happy to see that she breaks things off at the end of the series and leaves for her dream job (a positive portrayal of a young woman who temporarily chooses career over relationship). However, if Rory was meant to be with anyone, it was always Jess, Luke’s nephew. Although a troublemaker who doesn’t always know how to be the best boyfriend, Jess grows in his relationship with Rory and (much like Dan and Blair of Gossip Girl) the two have some very real shared interests. Both experience their highs and lows over the next few seasons, but Jess ultimately grows up, achieves some of his goals and becomes a better version of himself. In some ways, he and Rory are at a much more similar point in their lives by the end of the series. I’d like to think that after Rory fulfills her dream to work with Christiane Amanpour and Jess publishes his next novel, the two settle down and live a happy, drama-free life together.

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4. Jackie and Hyde (That 70’s Show)
I know that everyone is looking back nostalgically at Jackie (Mila Kunis) and Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) because of the actors’ real life engagement/pregnancy, but I always preferred the pairing of Jackie and Hyde. Although an unlikely pair, the two characters work well together on the show and develop considerably throughout the relationship. Things go downhill when Jackie demands an engagement and Hyde marries a stripper, but with the way the show was written, it all felt like a wild misunderstanding that would eventually be resolved. However, the writers never seemed to explore the relationship again, instead bringing Jackie and Fez together in a final season that felt a lot more like fanfiction than the actual show.

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TV Couples Who Should Have Ended Up Together5. Ted and Tracy (How I Met Your Mother)
Yes, readers, I am still mourning this devastating loss! The show How I Met Your Mother, in which Future Ted tells his teenage kids about how he met their mom, opens with the story of how Ted met Robin, a woman he immediately thought was the love of his life. We quickly learn that she is not their mother. Ted and Robin date for a few seasons, but have some fundamental differences that would affect marriage and children in the future, so they eventually split. Over time, we realize that Robin truly is not The One for Ted, and he finally lets her go right before she marries his close friend, Barney. At the wedding, Ted meets the bass player, Tracy, and immediately falls for her. During their conversations, we quickly see how perfect they are for one another – their pronunciations of “Renaissance,” their dorky shared interests, the many ways they unknowingly crossed paths over the years.

The writers do a great job of convincing us that Tracy is Ted’s soul mate, the one who made nine seasons of heartbreak all worth it. Then, after the characters meet, Future Ted reveals that Tracy died and that he’s in love with (now divorced) Robin again. The entire episode felt like a slap in the face and like complete regression of his character (and possibly an April Fool’s joke), but the writers stuck to the ending they had planned years earlier, ultimately disappointing their fans. After all Ted has been through, he deserves his happy ending with Tracy!

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What are some TV couples you think should have ended up together? Do you agree/disagree with any of the above?

The Role of Women in Romantic Comedies

sandrabullockIt has become a widely accepted fact that the plots of romantic comedies are just not realistic (for further proof, see here and here). Growing up with the now often-parodied teen flicks of the 90s and early 2000s, I can attest to the fact that the movies I watched when I was younger played a huge role in the misconceptions that I and so many of my peers had when it came to relationships. If a guy treats you poorly, he likes you. If you argue a lot with another person, it means you have chemistry. And if all else fails, you’ll probably just wind up with your best friend anyway.

I think we can agree that these misconceptions are harmful, but until recently, I didn’t stop to think just how harmful their portrayals of women could be. Most female characters fall into two categories: desperate to fall in love and get married (think of Ginnifer Goodwin in He’s Just Not That Into You), or too career-driven to ever want or attract a man (Sandra Bullock in Two Weeks Notice, The Proposal, Miss Congeniality or perhaps any other movie she has ever been in). Let’s call this second character Jane.

No-Strings-Attached_240These movies do an incredible disservice to Jane and characters like her because they paint them as cold, out of touch and clearly Missing Something. In fact, there is usually a best friend character prone to “messy” relationships who summarizes this sentiment early in the film by stating that Jane is so set in her ways and afraid of getting hurt that she risks finding true happiness. Also, would it kill her to put on a little more makeup and wear her hair down once in a while?

Never mind the fact that Jane loves what she does for a living and is well suited for it. Pop culture tells us that the woman who focuses “too much” on her career is simply doing so to distract herself from finding a soul mate. Only when she lets her hair down (literally and figuratively) and demonstrates some form of vulnerability, perhaps by crying or getting drunk in front of the male love interest, does she open herself up to a happy life. Only then does she truly become the character we like and root for. After all, what man would want to be with a woman who enjoys her job?

In real life, there are gradients between these extremes. Women who love their careers and enjoy being in a relationship do exist. In addition, there are plenty of men who like independent women. Why do we have to box ourselves into these two very limited categories? (And for the women who don’t ever visualize themselves in a relationship, who are we to judge?)

ginnifer-goodwin-purple-nails-he's-just-not-that-into-you-nubar-pasadena-purpleWe value a woman’s willingness to be in a relationship as a trait to be valued, but not her independence. In the movies, Jane’s “independence” is clearly just a wall she put up after someone hurt her, a wall that is meant to be broken down by the male lead. (Jane’s best friend or love interest in the film may actually use the whole “wall” metaphor in a big speech that makes her realize just how closed off she has been the entire time.)

If a woman rejects a man or decides to put her career first, pop culture labels her as cold. (Tweet this!) What the movies – and the people who watch them! – fail to think about is the fact that we all have different priorities at different points in our lives, and while a woman may hope to marry and have babies someday, she might not be ready for that stage.

There are a few exceptions to the romantic comedy genre that don’t posit relationships and careers as an either/or for women, but all too often, pop culture dictates that we must choose (and that “career” is the wrong choice). Society – and women especially – need to remember that these options are not mutually exclusive, and that they can have both.