When a Kiss is More Than A Kiss – Hallmark

collage vintage romance comic peope kissing, 2 lebians kissing

Sometimes a kiss is not just a kiss.

It’s a firestorm.

For way too long heterosexual love has been the very hallmark of love and marriage. The Hallmark channel takes this very literally.

The channel known for serving up a syrupy, saccharine fare, pulled an ad from wedding planning company Zola featuring a loving Lesbian couple kissing on their wedding day. Apparently, it was too spicy for some of their viewers, upsetting their delicate, conservative tummies accustomed to the bland menu dished up by Hallmark.

A kiss.

Same-sex wedding as seen on Zola Commercial that was pulled by Hallmark Same-sex wedding as seen on Zola Commercial that was pulled by Hallmark after a petition by a conservative group.

The trouble started when the ad caught the eye  of the conservative group “One Million Moms.” They received complaints from folks watching Hallmark and saw the commercial of gasp… two women kissing.

“The Hallmark Channel has always been known for its family-friendly movies,” the group wrote. “Even its commercials are usually safe for family viewing. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore.”

In case they hadn’t heard, same-sex marriage is the law of the land. Two consenting adults pledging to commit to each other for life is not offensive. It’s love. It’s romantic. It’s the very essence of Hallmark movies.

To their credit, Hallmark eventually apologized for dropping the same-sex wedding ad after facing a firestorm on social media.

In this case, love eventually won out.

But old notions of who can love one another still linger like a toxic overspill.

Hours after the horrific news broke of the shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016, the gunman’s father suggested to the media that the sight of 2 men kissing may have prompted his son to go on a killing rampage.

A kiss.

Now more than ever, it’s time to end the shame of being attracted to partners who fall outside the range of who our society tells us we should love.

Love is Love.

Sold Straight

 

vintage ad Secretary You Cant Spell Romance Without a Man Vintage Ad Colgate 1951

The selling of who we may love may finally have reached its expiration date.

In a country that long prided itself on endless choices of toothpaste, breakfast cereal and shampoos, for far too long there really was only one choice when it came to who you could love.

You stuck with the brand you knew and trusted.

Heterosexual – It’s the right brand. Time tested…dependable…AMA approved…loved by millions. Don’t accept substitutes.

Don’t Box Me In

Vintage Romance Comics cartoon Vintage Romance Comics

Today there is a cultural shift as we slowly begin to shrug off the need for definitions and labels in how we conceive gender or who our society has told us we should be sexually attracted to.

The choices are widening, encouraging those who are uncomfortable being slotted into a gender binary.

The Normal Heart…Love Honor and Obey

Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics

With the media obsessed with defining and exaggerating gender codes of masculinity and femininity, never was the insistence that everyone fit into a heterosexual cisgender model stronger than in mid-century America.

Images of happy heterosexuals as the norm permeated popular culture, scattering its potent assumptions of family, marriage and who we should love deep into our collective psyches.

 Girls Romance

comics love SWScan04885 In the late 1940s and early 1950s, romance comics were aimed at teenagers and young women in their 20s but they appealed to a younger market ranging from 10 to 17.

When it came to learning about love, teen girls turned to romance comics, ground zero of mid-century hetero-normative love. The Hallmark Channel of its day.

With names such as Young Romance, Girls Love and Secret Hearts , the colorful, pulpy pages were filled with heart throbbing stories about the rocky road to love in the quest for Mr. Right.

comics love dreaming SWScan04890 Interestingly enough romance comics were written and drawn primarily by men. Even the advice columns with bylines attributed to women were written by men

The formulaic stories were instructive, telling the readers how to find a man, how to keep him, how to be beautiful for him and most importantly how to get him to put a ring on your finger.

Skating on Thin Ice

Vintge Romance Comic Books

There was only one path to true happiness and anyone who veered from that was headed for trouble.  Fast girls who got pregnant got the shame they deserved but could be redeemed,  but a  girl who wasn’t boy crazy?

Unthinkable!

Vintage Romance Comic Books Vintage Romance Comic Books 1960’s

No one wanted to be thought of as being “That Kind of Girl!”

Let’s follow the instructive story of “Liz” the not too subtly named Tomboy who queerly enough shows no interest in boys. Despite the taunts, leering comments and shaming pointed her way our hero… er …heroine stands firm.

That is until… she meets the Right boy, in a story entitled “That Strange Girl!”

That Strange Girl

Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics

comics love that stange girl1 SWScan04861

Failure to conform to these confining roles meant there was a whole lot of shaming going on.

Vintage Romance Comics

The Key to Femininity

Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics
Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics
Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics
Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics

She Doesn’t Go For Boys!

Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics
Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics
Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics

 What Do You Think I Was…?

Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics
Vintage Romance Comics Vintage Romance Comics

This story appeared in a romance comic from the early 1970s. Still grounded in the morality of the 1950’s, the Love Comics genre could never adjust to the new changing morality despite trying to deal with contemporary themes, eventually dealing a death knell for romance comics.

Today’s changing morality has likewise signaled a death knell to limitations on love.

Take pride in who you love!

Zola Commercial Hallmark Channel

 

 

(©) 20019 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

5 comments

  1. Laura

    I am so damn sick and tired of homophobia! What are people afraid of? Why does the sight of a gay or lesbian couple make some people so uncomfortable? And just what gives these “mothers” the right to tell someone else who they are allowed to love? If only they would direct their energies to things that are actually bad for humankind, and there are so many to choose from – climate change, Trump, racism, income inequality, starving children and animals, etc etc.

    I was never a fan of the Hallmark channel, but I am even less so now that I know they are spineless. They should never have given in to pressure to pull the ad in the first place.

    Like

    • Monica Cole from One Million Moms the group who was outraged, called for gay people to be sentenced to death, citing scripture. She also denounced Hallmark for reversing itself.

      Like

      • Laura

        Does she think she is God? There is no worse hypocrisy than using religion as a reason to shun or kill. And there is just too much of that going on in the US lately.

        Like

  2. Here is a minority group of which I finally grew up and joined. I am talking about those of us who choose to remain single if only for a while. I had always been raised to believe that someone who remained single or took long periods between relationships had something “wrong with them” or later on “must be a closet case” . I was also led to believe that when a relationship ended. the way to heal was to “find someone else” . My two aunts and one uncle who remained single were always dangled in front of me as a hellish fate and some sort of pitiful monster I would “end up like” if I didn’t get “less picky” . I finally woke up in my 49s and felt comfortable enough in my own skin to take long breathers between men to take my inventory before getting involved again. But fate dealt me a cruel fate at 48 in the form of a disabling disease that made intimacy a thing of the past anyway. So I guess it’s good that I became a strong woman who can be alone. My fantasy? That someone falls in love with me and my wheelchair. I challenge Hallmark to make THATmovie!!

    Like

    • The insistence that all women should be married or in a meaningful relationship has permeated our culture for decades. As women have become more economically independent, many have pursued their lives in meaningful fulfilling ways without needing to be in a relationship, or identifying themselves through a relationship with another. The choices of who we can love as well as choosing to remain solo has expanded. People with physical challenges are just beginning to be represented in the media as fully evolved people with hopes and needs the same as others and hopefully, that will continue.

      Liked by 1 person

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