It’s that time of year again… It’s cheesy Christmas movie season! I must confess, that Ilove this time of year and all the gushy, sprinkle covered, romantic Christmas viewing there is from the beginning of November until the New Year. I love getting out my knitting projects, curling up with a fuzzy blanket and my fuzzy dogs and just relaxing for a few hours while I watch some beautiful people fall in love amid the backdrop of Vancouver or down town Toronto in July attempting to look like there could be one speck of snow on the ground. Bonus points if I can recognize a Canadian actor in the cast.
There is one glaring problem (only one you ask?). Okay, okay. So the writing is bad, the plots are predictable, and most of the movies require a hard core commitment to suspension of disbelief to even begin to enjoy them. But the main problem to which I am referring is the lack of diversity in these films.
This year, I saw one movie that had Amber Riley from Glee as the star. I was shocked to see an African American actress in a lead role, which is a terrible reaction to have. It was a much appreciated change from the tall, blonde, thin, white women who fall in love with dark, handsome, tall, rich men.
Despite my love of these movies, I find myself craving more. I’d love to see more diverse body sizes and skin tones in these films. Differently abled bodies would be a welcome change too. Same sex story lines? Yes please. Gender fluid or transgender leads, alright!
I cannot see why the lead roles in these films couldn’t just be given to other types of actors than those we are traditionally used to seeing in these types of stories. Would we find it so hard to feel excited for two women falling in love at a ginger bread competition? An elf in a wheelchair falls in love with an elf of colour? Surely Santa’s workshop is an equal opportunity employer.
I’m not talking stories that play up people’s differences, or pull at our heart strings because the romantic lead is blind. No. I’m talking let’s just put normal, everyday people, of different shapes, sizes, abilities, and colours in the roles and see what happens. A great example of a film that did this was Hitch, though not a Christmas flick, it is a good example of a movie that had two actors of colour in the lead roles, and no one died of shock. Will Smith and Eva Mendez star in this movie, where their race is never once discussed as part of the story. They have the romantic leads and fall in love, just like all kinds of people do everyday. If you’d like a Christmas example, check out Last Holiday, starring Queen Latifah and L.L. Cool J. Their race is never mentioned either. As I always say, acceptance through representation. Here we have two perfect examples.
So maybe I’m filled with the Christmas spirit of wishful thinking. But if there is ever a time of year when people of all kinds deserve to fall in love, shouldn’t it be now? Come on cheesy Christmas movie makers, give us some diversity.