You are here:

  • Home
  • Recreation/Outdoors
  • Martial Arts
  • Self Defense
  • Does Hollywood (and mass media in general) get the bonding process wrong (esp. dating) just as wrong as it portrays violence? In particular giving young people (esp. guys) dangerous models to follow on?

Self Defense/Does Hollywood (and mass media in general) get the bonding process wrong (esp. dating) just as wrong as it portrays violence? In particular giving young people (esp. guys) dangerous models to follow on?


I've lurked on your profile and these questions made me interested.

(Especially the second one).

I am not the person who asked the questions above but I am currently reading Manwatching (as you recommended to the OP who asked the second question). I also watched the Karate Kid Trilogy one thing it brings up is that Daniel Russo gets beaten a few times throughout the movies for getting involved with a girl romantically. Although the second and third cases are more of bad luck of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and the second one's plot makes it clear violence would have been inevitable girl or no girl, in the first movie its because he took an interest to one girl that he got into a feud in the first place with the antagonists of the film. He probably would not have gotten into a scuffle in the first place with the Cobra Kai dojo he he didn't find Ali attractive. The film totally rings a bell with the second question (although the situations were a bit different).

It made me curious because the guy who asks the second question said that James Bond and characters modeled after his archetype NEVER EVER have to deal with a PFB. Hell they never get into trouble with a jealous ex-boyfriend and have to fight off a gang of horny testosterone filled men because their sexy fiery love interest didn't keep their mouth shuts and had to blur a smartass remark (like you mentioned about the drama queen in the third link).

Going hand in hand with this, romance movies, TV shows, novels, well pop media (including news stories) representation of love stories. almost always portray happy endings like in The 50th First Dates, Blame It on Paris, and  Breakfast at Tiffanys. Even the tragic tales with dark endings often pits a romance of undying love against wars, totalitarian government, social classes and norms, feuding families, and angry mobs in Doctor Zhivago, Titanic, Gone With the Wind, Rose of Versailles, Romeo and Juliet, and The Notebook like proof that "love is undying", "love is the greatest thing ever", and other idealistic notions.

I am curious can this representation of love and romance give young people incredible dangerous misconception about how to date and get into relationships, etc ? In your opinion is love stories and romance movies unintentionally get innocent law-abiding citizens into violent situations and perhaps even unnecessarily escalate something minor like an argument into a shooting spree or knife stabbing that will result in dead people and later gangrapes in prison>

I ask because I remember on Facebook you stated in a post you'd rather watch romantic movies than action flicks fucking inaccuracies in the latter such as stabbing vital points in the rib cage vertically rather than horizontally (which you called BS because the rib cage has bones that would prevent a knife from reaching the heart). Repeatedly on your NoNoneSenseSelfDefense Website you bash TV and movies for misrepresenting how violence escalates and how self defense actually work in the legal system. However by admitting you'd rather watch romance movies, you're sort of contradicting youself. I read your Bonding Process article as well as "how to deal with stalker" article and all the stuff you state in those articles (in addition to the three allexpert questions I linked above) list things that are often misrepresented in mass media. I mean most traits associated with rapists you listed can easily be found in Edward Cullen of Twilight fame, who is BELOVED as SEXY by millions of female readers around the world. I never realized how much an Edward Cullen personality would get into so much trouble with the law and violence until I read your Rapist profile article. Not to mention Scarlet O'Hara, who fits so many of your description of PFBs, is one of the most BELOVED romance heroines of all time in cinema.

Before I send this question, I must point out I AM A GIRL and even I always wanted for a James Bond to swoop me by the leg into bed or for my Rhett Butler to appear and chase me around the world. But reading your articles and your AllExpert question is making me wonder and now I'm scared at the thought of having a real life Edward Cullen as a BF and worry if another guy will try to hurt a real life James Bond womanizer who hits on me out of jealousy like in the second AllExpert link mentions (because I don't want people getting hurt over me).

Here's the's a lot more complicated than you might think.

Stories tell us how to live our lives. Sagas, fables, ballads, myths and folktales emphasize what a culture values and provide guidelines to the listener on how to act.

You can find the whole Joseph Campbell interview around the web

It really is worth the investment of time.

Partly because it gets you asking, "Okay, what values are being promoted by this story?" Is it a story that inspires? Commiserates? Confirms your beliefs (the world sucks and you can't win vs. try and strive and you'll win)?

I know romantic comedies aren't real, But here is a message from one of my favorite movies "Love Actually"...

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around. "

Personally, I find this inspiring. Because I have seen more than my share of horror, hardship, evil and suffering.

Having looked into the actual history and social constructs around the samurai, I'm not particularly impressed with the idealization of those rat bastards by many people today. However, this is one thing I did find rather useful in their perspective. That is actively encouraging the paradox between horror and beauty as a way to function. Yes, people dying in a horrible way and living with treachery, danger and hardship sucks. But then consciously taking the time out to see beauty, to find wonder and peace.

That's how you stay balanced (and long term functional). Otherwise, one perspective takes over and rules (often destroying) your life. Now that is very easy to see when it comes to violence and nasty stuff. But do you recognize that the same problem exists if you only focus on the so-called good? It gives you an equally unrealistic perspective.

There was a very strong movement in feminism in the 1970s to break free from what Colette Downing called "The Cinderella Complex." This was the belief in "Happily ever after." Good idea, because life is very seldom like the stories.

But again, what values were being promoted in those stories? That's a very subtle question because if you don't look at it from that perspective, but instead ask "What were the expectations they created?" you can see where things can go off the rails.

Sure expecting a white knight to come and rescue you is unrealistic (expectations). But a man being willing to set his safety and comfort aside to take care of and provide for others is pretty good value for a functioning society. Take that away and what do you get? Make it every person for themselves aaaaaaand you got some problems.

So Cinderella Complex on one hand and being a complete and total selfish bitch on the other(like Scarlett O'Hara was in GWTW)gives you a not so simple guidelines for getting through life. But where it turns into outright juggling is when you the influences of humanism, equality and our modern lifestyle.

The latter is important because so much of what we do, think and believe is only sustainable because of technology and society. At the same time, it literally flies in the face of how our brains are wired and behaviors that kept our species alive for a million years or so. For example, if you have a good job it is possible for you -- as a single woman -- to raise kids on your own. In times and places where women didn't earn income (but worked their asses off none-the-less) you couldn't raise children on your own -- you had to be part of a group or family that helped provide.

Primarily what the group does is provide extra resources. One person alone can't do it all. Which -- interestingly enough -- is still true, but the myth is you're doing it all by yourself. Except for the teachers and doctors for your kids, the farmers and ranchers, the food industry that processes and packages your food, the distribution networks and supermarkets where you buy your food. The gas and electric companies that power the house you didn't build. But you can tell yourself you're making it on your own because you're paying for these goods and services.

I tell you that for contrast. Also to clue you into a myth and value that is being promoted by our modern stories. A lot of our 'stories' these days are about the individual making it on his own. That is a myth. Our lives are dependent on others. Our successes depend on the efforts of others. While there may be exceptional individuals, that guy ain't doing it alone. Often movies promote both this idea and deem it a value.

That's another reason I usually dislike action individual overcoming a large, equally armed group? Ummm no. Not likely. But the story says so.

Whereas romantic comedies are often stories of two independent individuals coming together to form a couple. Creating a partnership between equals and forming a group (Unless you're talking "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" -- in which case, it's joining a family of characters.) As people bond and fall in love all the time, this is a value I not only enjoy but understand.

Now can people develop unrealistic expectations from this story? Oh hell yes. (Which is in part what I am suspecting you're asking about.) And that is very much a problem. Life is not a romantic comedy. Don't expect those to be any more realistic than action flicks.

But part of why I like "Love Actually" is it is a series of short stories about all the different ways, phases and problems surround love. (The good, the bad, the silly, the stressful and the "Awwwwwww")

At the same time, look at Gone With The Wind. The same self-centeredness that -- in many ways -- got Scarlett O'Hara through it all (although arguably often made it worse) ended up costing her the only man who loved her. It was her inability to change from what is now being touted as a virtue that left her miserable and isolated in the end.

So yeah, Hollywood gets a lot of things wrong -- in many fields. But go watch Joseph Campbell and you'll realize why it's a much bigger question than you thought.

Self Defense

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

See CV

Too numerous to list here. My CV (for my expert witness work in court) is at

Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

Awards and Honors
See CV

Past/Present Clients
See CV

©2017 All rights reserved.