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The Boombox Outside My Window

How Watching Rom-Coms Helped Me Find Myself

Photo via Glamour (Pinterest)

By Mariana Chajon

In the past week, I’ve been watching an excessive amount of rom-coms, coming of age, and romance movies. This was my favorite activity when I was a pre-teen and had all the time in the world to sit in my living room after school and watch Netflix. Unsurprisingly, I have felt very nostalgic diving back into this activity. These movies transport me into an alternate reality where boys knock at my window late at night and I wear beautiful, stylish clothes every day (rather than my boyfriend’s hoodie and gray sweatpants). For an hour and forty minutes, I can escape the COVID-19 angst and enter a world where people can walk close to friends without endangering anyone. 

Now, I know some of these movies can be very sexist and often make it seem like teenage girls absolutely need a man’s validation to grow. In some cases, they even suggest that the characters undergo changes to get validation. As much as it can definitely affect young girls in a negative way, re-watching these movies has made me realize how badass some of these characters are before meeting their dream guy. Some examples include Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You and Laney Boggs from She’s All That. While rewatching these movies, I caught onto things I didn’t as a pre-teen, like Kat and Laney’s political activism and cultural capital. They are amazing characters even before a boy falls in love with them. Honestly, as much as the romance aspect is a plus for entertainment, I now realize that it was never the reason I watched these movies.

However, the most interesting thing I noticed when re-discovering my love for these movies is that as I watched two teens fall in love, I fell in love with myself.

Instead, I know Clueless by heart because I love the way Cher dresses, causing me to go back to it for outfit inspiration. I own The Breakfast Club on DVD because I love the dance scenes and the themes it discusses. I watched Footloose after school to dance my heart out with the characters.

However, the most interesting thing I noticed when re-discovering my love for these movies is that as I watched two teens fall in love, I fell in love with myself.

When Dave from The First Time looks around Aubrey’s room, I raise my eyes to look at my own and contemplate how much I love everything in it. I look at the corsage I’ve kept since my prom and the CD collection I started at 13. As Chase and Nicole from Drive me Crazy sing along to “Keep on Loving You”, I sing along as well. When Simon from Love Simon comes out, I feel confident in my own sexuality. 

I had never realized how much of myself I put into these movies. For this reason, during quarantine, I encourage you to indulge in the activities you loved when you were younger since it is a great opportunity to explore the love that you have for yourself.


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