From Love Actually to Bridget Jones: How Our Favorite Christmas Movies Continue Rape Culture

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Love Actually (2003)

As a film that persuades audiences to declare their love for the holidays, Love in fact shows harassing and harassing behaviors under cover of large gestures.

The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant), for example, asking his secretary (Martine McCutcheon) where she lives and whether she has a husband or boyfriend is inappropriate – this is even more the case due to her position of authority over it, especially when he shows up at her house, summoning her for a “state affair”.

It is important to note that the women being sued do not seem to be afraid, which is an important element of the criminal harassment offense. However, the idea that a romantic pursuit like this is the kind of grand gesture that shows “immense romantic love” encourages behaviors that violate privacy over gestures that promote consent and equal participation.

Best Man’s Vacation (2013)

When there are problematic behaviors in Man’s best vacation, like when Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) makes an unwanted sexual advance to Julian (Harold Perrineau), the film shows that it’s inappropriate. Shelby is reprimanded (at least socially) for this behavior.

However, he is also considered “funny” which is confusing. Although criminal harassment and sexual assault are often gendered (Statistics Canada data shows that about eight in ten victims are women and nine in ten stalkers are men), the Criminal Code offense itself is not sexist. This means that unwanted sexual advances are inappropriate regardless of gender and can constitute harassment.

Single until the end (2021)

This film was one of the few to offer a space for discussion and healthy reactions to rejection when there was a sexual advance. There’s a scene where James (Luke Macfarlane) kisses Peter (Michael Urie) and it looks unwelcome. James notices this and doesn’t try to kiss Peter again, even though they don’t have a date anymore.

While there should be a discussion of consent before a person simply makes a move, Single until the end does not normalize continuous sexual touching or advances without consent. Having said that, sexually touching someone without their consent, even if it is the first time, amounts to sexual assault.


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