Love finds a way, one and only and love at first sight

Birger Vandael
Romantische fictie beïnvloedt romantische idealen niet“Ik wil dat mijn liefdesleven wordt zoals een romantische film”. We kennen allemaal wel mensen die met dergelijke uitspraken durven uitpakken. De mensen die geloven in typische romantische idealen zoals “love finds a way”, “one and only” of “love at first sight”. Mensen die volgens ons onrealistische verwachtingen hebben van romantiek, liefde en relaties omdat ze zich enkel maar baseren op romantische fictie waarin man en vrouw elkaar na anderhalf uur hoe dan ook kussend in de armen vallen.

Love finds a way, one and only and love at first sight

Romantische fictie beïnvloedt romantische idealen niet

“Ik wil dat mijn liefdesleven wordt zoals een romantische film”. We kennen allemaal wel mensen die met dergelijke uitspraken durven uitpakken. De mensen die geloven in typische romantische idealen zoals “love finds a way”, “one and only” of “love at first sight”. Mensen die volgens ons onrealistische verwachtingen hebben van romantiek, liefde en relaties omdat ze zich enkel maar baseren op romantische fictie waarin man en vrouw elkaar na anderhalf uur hoe dan ook kussend in de armen vallen. Uit mijn onderzoek blijkt echter dat dit beeld achterhaald is.

Tegenwoordig worden we overweldigd met televisieprogramma’s en films die de liefde centraal plaatsen. Niet enkel fictieprogramma’s, maar ook realityprogramma’s trachten vaak een zo romantisch mogelijk beeld van de liefde voor te stellen. Het lijkt niet eens onlogisch dat jongvolwassenen dit na verloop van tijd als de realiteit beginnen te beschouwen. Dit is ook wat de zogenaamde cultivatietheorie stelt.

Ik onderzocht bij 350 jongvolwassenen tussen 18 en 25 jaar wat het verband is tussen het kijken van televisie en het geloven in romantische idealen. Daarbij was er extra aandacht voor romantische fictie, meer bepaald romantische komedies, romantische drama’s en prinsessenfilms van Disney. Ook reality datingprogramma’s werden bestudeerd. In het onderzoek werd er nagegaan hoe het exacte kijkgedrag van de respondenten eruitzag en werden hun romantische idealen onder de loep genomen. Er werd gekozen voor vier romantische idealen die in gelijkaardig onderzoek vaak worden aangehaald, namelijk het geloof dat liefde altijd een weg vindt, het geloof in de ware, het geloof in de ideale partner en het geloof in liefde op het eerste zicht. Daarnaast was er ook aandacht voor allerlei achtergrondfactoren. Gaande van de huidige relatiestatus tot seksuele ervaring en zelfs de relatiestatus van de ouders. En wat bleek? Romantische fictie beïnvloedt de romantische idealen waarin mensen geloven totaal niet.

Het is niet zo dat er niks is waardoor romantische idealen worden beïnvloed. Er zijn wel degelijk enkele factoren die een invloed hebben op het geloof in romantische idealen. Zo blijkt dat personen die meer geloven dat romantische fictie realistisch is, ook meer uitgesproken idealen hebben. De hoeveelheid romantische fictie die ze daadwerkelijk kijken, heeft hier totaal geen invloed op. Daarnaast is gebleken dat mannen meer uitgesproken romantische idealen hebben dan vrouwen. Het stereotype beeld van de vrouw die snikkend naar The Notebook kijkt, hopend dat ze dat ooit allemaal mag meemaken, terwijl de man onbewogen denkt aan de voetbalwedstrijd die hij op dat moment aan het missen is, klopt dus niet helemaal. Bovendien bleek dat vrouwen meer dan mannen geloven dat er inspanningen nodig zijn om de liefde te laten werken. Ten slotte wees het onderzoek aan dat personen die momenteel een relatie hebben meer uitgesproken romantische idealen hebben. Binnen deze groep zorgde relatietevredenheid nog eens extra voor meer uitgesproken romantische idealen. Het zijn dus niet de onervaren vrijgezellen, maar de mensen met een relatie waarover ze bovendien tevreden zijn, die het meest geloven in de (onrealistische) romantische idealen.

De onderzoekspopulatie, 18 tot 25 jarigen, vormen een interessante doelgroep voor dit onderzoek. Velen van hen bevinden zich op een scharnierpunt in hun liefdesleven. Aangezien romantische idealen hierin een belangrijke rol spelen, is onderzoek hierrond zeker van nut. Zo blijkt dat het geloof in romantische idealen een bepaalde richting kan uitgaan naargelang de relatiestatus van iemand (niet) verandert. Vrijgezellen geloven met het ouder worden steeds minder dat liefde een weg vindt. Personen met een relatie daarentegen, geloven met het ouder worden juist meer dat hun ideale partner bestaat. Een laatste interessant luik in het onderzoek is het aandeel dat het geloof in romantische idealen speelt op seksueel gebied. Zo blijkt dat mensen die meer geloven in liefde op het eerste zicht meer sekspartners hebben en zichzelf meer seksuele ervaring toedichten.

Samengevat wordt er dus geen steun gevonden voor de cultivatietheorie. Dit onderzoek toont aan dat personen die uren gekluisterd achter hun televisie- of computerscherm zitten te kijken naar romantische films of reality datingprogramma’s niet per se meer geloven in de typische romantische idealen. Het lijkt er dus op dat mensen heel goed voor zichzelf kunnen uitmaken dat wat ze zien niet de realiteit is. Mogelijk is de jeugd van tegenwoordig zich gewoon veel meer bewust van het feit dat wat ze op televisie zien “gemaakt” is en geen perfecte afspiegeling is van de realiteit. Een alternatieve verklaring is de stelling dat de inhoud van romantische fictie gewoonweg veranderd is. Misschien hebben de zeemzoeterige verhalen van de onmogelijke liefdes in “An Officer and a Gentleman”, “Dirty Dancing” en “The Titanic” wel plaats gemaakt voor liefdesverhalen waarin er vaak ook liefdesverdriet en mislukkingen aan te pas komen. Denk maar aan “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “P.S. I love you” en “500 Days of Summer”.

 Het is dus duidelijk dat het geen kwaad kan om vrijdagavond eens lekker onder een fleecedeken te duiken met een wijntje in de hand en te genieten van een romantische film. Uiteindelijk is het allemaal maar fictie en daar is de jongvolwassene van vandaag zich in ieder geval van bewust.  

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
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2015
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