America’s Next Bill Clinton!

Feminism and love.
August 7, 2007, 12:51 pm
Filed under: family, Feminism, gender roles, love, personal is political, social constructs

At an attempt to start off this blog on a good note, I am using old blog items from other blogs I used to write on. As it progresses, I’ll be coming up with new ones in the next few days.
You can also find me on facebook, with notes featured as blogs. I am listed under Marc L at Old Dominion University.
So, feminism and love: it’s been the topic in my head the last week or so, because of what we’re reading in class and all. I want to get your opinion on whether we can love and still be feminists.

I used to think it was impossible, because love, for what it’s worth, upholds patriarchy. It leads to “family,” and “wife” and “husband,” all of which are problematic in its own sphere, because of society’s definition.

In fact, since my transformation/mutation/metamorphis into a feminist, I’ve rejected relationships and love, seeing it as weak and patriarchal.

But, in reading “To Be Real,” I realized that, indeed, love and feminism can exist.

While society’s view of love, it seems, is based on inequality, feminists can indeed take such institution (love) and transform it into something powerful.

Love, for the feminist, isn’t about being weak or feeling “out-of-control” love, but it’s a decision. It’s a decision based on us having a choice — in that we love someone for choosing us, and we choose someone for loving us. That decision to love is not because we are forced to, as is often the case with the general public, but because we choose to, and we feel like it.

For the feminist, love is about shared values and ideals, beliefs and dreams, knowing damned well that we are completely fine alone; but that we’re better together.

For the feminist, love isn’t about someone completing us, making two halves into a whole — but rather, two wholes joining.

In fact, for the feminist, love isn’t about someone making us better people, as the cliche goes (idealistically, you should already be good enough when entering a relationship), but rather — joining forces to make something, someone, some agency, some group, some institution better.

Maybe I am all wrong. Maybe we feminists should just settle for casual sex, because anything else that can lead to a family might be patriarchal, but then again, maybe I am onto something here.

After all, we feminists don’t need a trophy partner or a suppoter, what we need are allies.

As my favorite poem goes, and I think it applies here, “I don’t want to build my life around you, but I want to include you in the building of my life.” That, for me, is how love ought to be for feminists.


2 Comments so far
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Well I think you already know what I think, but I want to comment. There are a lot of things wrong with the way relationships work in patriarchy. But that doesn’t mean there’s no point to relationships after you take out the patriarchy, or that taking out the patriarchy is impossible. It’s hard I’m sure, but so are most things we try to do the feminist way. We do most of them imperfectly, but it’s better than giving up on having the things we want.

I do think the idea that you shouldn’t lose yourself is important. I wouldn’t focus on it too much because it would make me too scared to fall for someone, but I have transitioned from the Christian “two people become one flesh” idea to something more like yours. In the Bible, Paul says that the husband and wife’s bodies belong to each other, so they shouldn’t deny each other sex except by mutual consent. I think that the mutual consent must be for having sex, not for abstaining. I realize that that passage is actually pretty radical since it gives the wife the same right as the husband, but I still think it’s dangerous and probably ends up hurting the wife more than the husband. So that has changed in my concept of how love should work, but I still think love is worth having.

Comment by judgesnineteen

I’m actually trying to figure out if you’re being serious or slightly sarcastic here. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me, but I don’t see why feminism has to mean saying no to love, or not allowing yourself to fall in love and feel that loss of control and giving in.

Relationships can be anything you want them to be. Sure, there’s this patriarchial idea of the Man and Woman, and the Man goes to work and the Woman has to do as he says. But who says we have to do that anymore?

The most important thing here is that things are equal. Why is it bad to give yourself to someone else emotionally, if they’re doing the same for you? Yes, I know that I could very well live my life without my husband, and he knows the same, but boy would life suck then. On the outside we may lead pretty traditional lives– he’s the scientist, he makes the money, I’m pregnant and will be staying home with our child. But we view each others as equals, in all our major decisions, and he respects me just as much as I respect him, and he views my contribution to the world and society by raising our child to be as if not more important than his by working and supporting us. Sure, I may be putting myself in a position in which we could leave me and I’d be sorta stuck… but I trust him not to do that. And what is life without love and trust? This may not be PC to say, but I pity those who live their lives without knowing true, lasting love, b/c I think it is one of the most precious things in the world, and a life without it isn’t nearly as full as it could have been.

Comment by Marcy

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