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630-hungergames-lovetriangle-jpg_224825There are three magical, all-powerful words that have guided our romantic lives since before we knew what romance was…but they aren’t “I LOVE YOU.”

I am talking about three words even more powerful – three words that can take down a relationship faster than the above words can forge one.

HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Oh Mr. Disney, the power you took over us with that catchy phrase – and the power you took over nearly every single legendary romance in pop culture history as well!

You see, happily ever after doesn’t actually exist – at least not in the “The End” kind of way it does in film, television, music, poetry and books. But, deep down and no matter how wise and mature we grow, most of us secretly still think we are looking for our happily ever after.

Thankfully, both Abbie and I were cured of this disease years ago – thanks to Dr. Mary-Lou Galician, creator of REALISTIC ROMANCE®: The Thinking Person’s Relationship

Remedy™ and founding head of media analysis and criticism in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Arizona State University. (I was her student, while Abbie worked with Dr. Galician on her master’s thesis).

Dr. Galician sees it her mission to focus public attention on unhealthy, dangerous media myths and stereotypes and to honor the rarer portrayals that provide healthy models of coupleship that can help media consumers “get real about romance.”

As part of her mission, each year, Dr. Galician works with a team of communications professionals – including her hubby, also a professor at ASU – to seek out and call out the best and worst portrayals of the media’s skewed version of “Happily Ever After” with the Stupid Cupid Awards.

Now in its 12th year and always announced on Valentine’s Day, the Stupid Cupids focus on 12 areas where the mass media – especially Mr. Disney and his merry band of stereotypes – is being dumb about love, including:

  • Myth #1:Your perfect partner is cosmically predestined, so nothing/nobody can ultimately separate you.
  • Myth #2: There’s such a thing as “love at first sight.”
  • Myth #3: Your true soul mate should know what you’re thinking or feeling (without your having to tell).
  • Myth #4: If your partner is truly meant for you, sex is easy and wonderful.
  • Myth #5: To attract and keep a man, a woman should look like a model or a centerfold.
  • Myth #6: The man should NOT be shorter, weaker, younger, poorer, or less successful than the woman.
  • Myth #7: The love of a good and faithful true woman can change a man from a “beast” into a “prince.”
  • Myth #8: Bickering and fighting a lot mean that a man and a woman really love each other passionately.
  • Myth #9: All you really need is love, so it doesn’t matter if you and your lover have very different values.
  • Myth #10: The right mate “completes you” — filling your needs and making your dreams come true.
  • Myth #11: In real life, actors and actresses are often very much like the romantic characters they portray.
  • Myth #12: Since mass media portrayals of romance aren’t “real,” they don’t really affect you.

Among this year’s “honorees” are:

  • The Hunger Games (movie)
  • Safe Haven (movie)
  • Beautiful Creatures (movie)
  • Once Upon a Time (television)
  • Warm Bodies (one of my favorite movies of 2013!)
  • Despicable Me 2 (movie)
  • Frozen (movie)
  • Ariana Grande’s “Baby I” (song)
  • Her (movie)
  • Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” (song)
  • Iron Man 3 (movie)
  • Cody Simpson’s “Pretty Brown Eyes” (song)
  • The Wolverine (movie)
  • White Collar (television)
  • Oz the Great and Powerful (movie)
  • Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (movie)
  • We’re the Millers (another of my favorite movies of 2013!)
  • Before Midnight (movie)
  • Pink’s “True Love” (song)

(She also actually honors 12 additional recipients, each showcasing a more realistic view of love and romance in the media, which are detailed here. Oh, and it should be noted that Dr. Galician and the team LOVED many of the above movies and television shows – it is okay to love them, just don’t model your romantic life on theirs.)

Now – the fun part! Try and guess which of the above movies, TV shows and songs fit which stereotype, then check your answers here. And, be sure to comment below with any of your favorite characters, shows, movies or songs that fit one or more of the above Myths. One of my faves – Sam and Diane from Cheers for #8!

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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