Does Feel-Good Always Have To Look Good?
By: xxx Published: d/m/Y
In light of the new Netflix hit ”Emily in Paris”, I stumbled across a Vogue article questioning whether or not a series like that would still have been made if the lead character were to be plus-sized. That reflection circled something that has been bugging me for years – feel-good movies almost exclusively comes with built-in privileges – economically, aesthetically and racially.
What does Legally Blonde, The Princess Diaries, The Holiday, Sex and the City, Home Alone, Parent Trap, Clueless, and Mama Mia! all have in common? Well, they’re for sure all movies designed to make you feel less anxious about reality for an hour or two. But they also portray wealth, beauty (and being white) as basic conditions for happiness. Now, seeing as I’m white, I won’t dive too deep into what I have no interpretative prerogative in, but just know that I also am aware of that factor.
Now, I’m fully aware that the list stated above are all movies that won’t exactly tickle the top-of-mind of Gen Z, but let me give you a few more – Mary Poppins, Crazy Stupid Love, and Paddington all share that same foundation.
There are exceptions to the privileged rule in feel-good, but not enough to scratch my itch when seeing Emily strut around in couture in some of the most expensive boroughs of Paris, partying with the wealthy, and hooking up with live Ken-dolls.
I am a sucker for this genre, and I fully admit to being one of its keen consumers, but the question of whether feel-good actually just makes us all feel worse is growing with each portrayal of said happiness. I’m confident we’re in the middle of a change in perspectives here as younger talents flood the drama scene, but just to remind you – enjoy with care. You do not have to look like them or have what they have to be happy, but I won’t blame you for thinking it.
“You do not have to look like them or have what they have to be happy, but I won’t blame you for thinking it.”
– Michaela Hamilton
Seeing as we’re only exposed to the polished, dandy parisian lifestyle in Netflix’s latest hit, we are spared from the reality many face when chasing that same dream. Sure, there’s the trendy job in an equally trendy office, but nobody wants to mention the 8sqm, five-floor walk-up flats where your shower is also your sink, and the neighbors aren’t hot chefs but weed-selling, aggressive gym bro’s. Yup, that’s a true story.
But hey, that wouldn’t be the kind of thrilling and super fun but also kinda shitty reality that the feel-good genre would allow, would it? Because who could possibly be happy in one of the most interesting cities in the world without being a size 0 and having a *cutesy* 50sqm apartment overlooking the Sacré-Coeur? Yeah. I just… it bothers me, and in the words of Miranda Priestly, that’s all.