Why I Won’t Watch Love Actually This Christmas

Sometimes being a feminist is a bit…well, hard.

If asked about my favourite films I’d often say Love Actually and why not? It features some of my most favourite actors, like Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, (I love Bill Nighy), and Emma Thompson. The list goes on. But recently I rewatched it and blimey, what a shock that was. It turns out somehow, 14 years ago (and shame on me because I’ve been a feminist since 1974!), that I missed just how badly the film treated women. It may have been of its time but I think it should have been obvious to me even then.

Here’s why Love Actually is so flipping awful if you believe in equality.

There are 9 mini stories in Love Actually. In all of them the woman is in an inferior position to the man, apart from the one about the gay man, the only story that would survive my cull. Women range from cleaners who cannot speak English but are nevertheless pursued by their employer and ‘won’, give me strength. This little vignette is even more distressing in that it mocks larger women as most definitely not being worthy of male attention (who needs attention from males who think like that?). Or she may be a wife who is steadfastly standing by her man even though he is regularly unfaithful. She doesn’t work, of course, just holds everything together in true silent stoic fashion. Of course, the woman he is unfaithful with is portrayed as a vamp and an unsympathetic figure because, poor chap, he couldn’t help himself, could he? Then there is the young boy who has to behave very differently to his true self to get his girlfriend (all sorts of horrid messages in that bit) aided and abetted by his father.

The nice gangly chap from the BT ads can only think about how many women he can have sex with and none of them even get to speak, and one creepy character is in love with his best friend’s girlfriend and virtually stalks her (men should be up in arms about how they are portrayed in this film, too). And then there is the guy who cannot cope with a woman who is caring for her brother as presumably he must be sole focus of her attention. Plus, yet another employer who chases down a lowly employee and I don’t care if he is Hugh Grant; the power balance is all wrong. The only bit that survives is Rowen Atkinson hilariously wrapping a parcel for the philandering husband and then he came out and had a go at my friend Miriam O’Reilly for bring a case against the BBC about equal pay. Strewth!

I think that’s it. I’ve ghasted me flabber enough. Ye gods, I cannot believe I actually loved it for so long… at least Bill Nighy came out of it OK.

So, please do recommend me some adorable gender balanced, non heart-attack-inducing, Christmas movies to watch this year. What are you favourites?

PS Do check out the latest details of our brand new course coming in January – ReVitalYou!

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Posted on October 26th, 2019 by

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