14 June 2008

Some Musings on Love: Part 1

It's been about a year now since I've realized that I'm polyamourous. *You can pick you jaw up off the floor now* And several people have asked me what I think about love in light of my polyamourous views.

I've been wanting to post my thoughts on this subject, but have neglected to do so because 1) I really haven't had the time to mess with my thoughts, and 2) I wanted to be sure to have something semi-sensical to present. I know you may be thinking, "he's been through a bad break up, he's bitter, he's hurt and he's full of hot air!" Perhaps you're right. I'll leave that possibility open for the time being. I'll let you decide once you make it to the end of this.

So let me lay some foundations for my argument.
1. I believe that love does not exist. At least not in the way most people view love. Our (society's) notions of love are constructed and are heavily linked to sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. From early on, we are taught as children that we are to fall in love with one person, of the opposite sex (I won't go into the assumptions here), and that we are to marry and remain faithful to our "true love". While the narrative may be very romantic, it does nothing more than perpetuate heteronormativity and is anything (fasten your pew belts) but the "norm". Nowhere will you find a day care that actively educates children that there are many different kinds of families, save for perhaps in the Castro district. But then again, the gays aren't supposed to be having kids, right?

2. The construction of love has a history. But I won't bore you with the biblical implications of love, nor with those nasty Greeks and Eros... We'll just do a small bit of time travel. Alert: If you are like more than half of this country, you don't have a normal family (but that might be news to you). That's right folks, the nuclear family of the 1950s is still the standard. Husband, wife, two kids - oh, and did I forget to mention that the hierarchy of power follows that order? Everyone, please welcome Sexism to the stage! Granted many heterosexual relationships are becoming more egalitarian, but husband-over-wife domination is still very prevalent. Men are by and large considered the head of the household, and this image as man-as-leader is perpetuated by the media and by religious groups - but let's not open up that can of worms.

3. Love is a commodity. We are sold love in every aspect of our lives. Love comes pre-packaged in the form of flowers, silicone implants, and Barbie... AND with Love Spell from Victoria's Secret, love is quite literally in the air. Do you realize that the majority of the items you buy are to please the people around you or to make you're partner happy? And let's just bypass the whole issue of anniversaries, Valentine's day, Christmas, etc... Moreover, is it not painfully obvious how much money is spent in marketing "love" to consumers through the modeling industry - billboards, television commercials, radio spots, spam mailings, newsletters, newspaper ads, pop-ups (need I go on)?

I'll stop before you think I'm a delusional freak. ;-)

So, what is love, you ask? I'll save that one for part two.

No comments: