Rules and Mad Love
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This research paper explores the points of intersection and divergence between the popular self-help book The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right and the 1995 film Mad Love. Both of these represent the following:
- Idealized versions of romantic love relationships
- Stereotyped notions of what comprises male and female characters.
- Although the book The Rules is designed for women who are seeking potential life partners, Mad Love also represents a kind of fantasy of relationships; in which even the most devastating of life's difficulties can be eviscerated by the purifying power of love.
The majority of the essay is invested in exploring what is identified as the chief similarity between the film and the book, namely, the way that each text models certain prescribed standards of behaviors for men and women engaged in relationships. Even though Mad Love does not specifically purport to serve as a guide in the same way that The Rules does, the argument is made that most commercially-produced entertainment can be interpreted as a teaching model, serving as a demonstration of which types of behaviors are socially sanctioned in the context of a heterosexual romantic relationship.