Love is about more than romance

Yes, I was delayed in posting the next of harmful myths we tell about relationships because of [insert some really convincing reason that wasn’t “I couldn’t find the right words and TV is so good”].

Instead of Mars and Venus, I’d like to talk about the hierarchy of love. As I sit alone in a subletted apartment in a new city, unsurprisingly my thoughts turn to my comfort zone. How many times did people ask me why I would leave my husband for 12 weeks to take a job in a strange new place? Pretty much everyone I knew. A couple of my single friends also took on roles outside our home turf too, but while there were, for some, expressions of concern for very distant jobs, there didn’t seem to be the same questioning of motives, the same exhaling of their bravery to face the unknown. Continue reading “Love is about more than romance”

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Love is about more than grand gestures

The media narrative on what constitutes a successful relationship has been so warped by society that I think real relationships are actively being harmed by it. People are choosing to stay in unhappy relationships or opting out of relationships altogether because they don’t know what a lasting commitment ought to look like.

Today, we begin to debunk them using my favorite medium, pop culture.

Originally, I intended to make this a single post, but I found SO MANY examples that infuriate me that I decided to split it up by theme.

Today? The concept of your significant other being your “other half”. Spoiler alert, they shouldn’t be.

Continue reading “Love is about more than grand gestures”

How we mourn divisive figures

 

There’s an old saying: You don’t speak ill of the dead.

Of course, people use this phrase as an absolute, but it never is. There were no think pieces about Bin Laden painting him as a man devoted to his cause – even if we disagreed with that cause. There were no think pieces about the men responsible for Brussels and Paris. When a criminal gang shoots up another criminal gang, there is no outcry asking to be civil and speak well of them.

It’s interesting how we judge others so harshly for their personal feelings about the loss of a life based exclusively on our own personal feelings. The worst of it tends to fall on those that don’t abide by the niceties of speaking well of the dead.

We’ve seen this become especially relevant as divisive figures pass on in a time when more and more people have the freedom and ability to share their feelings, whatever they may be. The deaths of people like Rob Ford and Antonin Scalia, who lived their lives zealously supporting a way of life that does not benefit everyone equally, especially trigger enthusiastic and often uncivilized discourse between people saddened by his passing and those that are relieved.

People are not two dimensional, though. They have different facets and they show those facets when and where they choose. There is no one in the world that we know completely, maybe not even ourselves. We see what people want us to see and depending on who we are to that person, we will see a vastly different side of them than someone else.

 

So invariably we all mourn differently and for different things. We may well be mourning different people entirely without knowing it. Some see no reason to mourn the deaths of people like Ford and Scalia, citing the harmful political and legal decisions as well as rhetoric that has made their lives more difficult. Some know a kinder side, funnier side, or whatever else to the same person and mourn the loss of that. In an equal society, both of these feelings absolutely must be okay. A free society depends on our ability to differentiate between our personal feelings and a matter of public policy.

The thing that connects us more than anything else in this world is the love we feel for the people closest to us, so though I can’t bring myself to mourn the men themselves, I can empathize with those around them that saw a person they loved suffer, who will carry fond memories and what ifs for as long as they live. That is a difficult thing to do, no matter who you’re mourning.

But a free society must allow people to feel what they feel, and share those feelings in however way they see fit (so long as it is legal, of course). You can’t force someone to be sad for your loved ones just as they can’t force you to be sad for theirs. Personal memories of someone do not make the whole of that person. To mandate that people only speak well of the dead is to do a disservice to the complexity of that person, to the people left behind to deal with and understand that person’s legacy, and to history, which must remember things as they truly happened, rather than the sanitized way it is often recorded.

Our future relies on our ability to walk that fine line because our freedoms only matter if they’re present across the board, not just when we like it.

 

Where are the interracial relationships on TV?

As a devoted TV lover, I consume immensely unhealthy amounts of TV. In the past couple of years, I’ve been thrilled to see interracial couples appear on TV, especially when not even ten years ago Will Smith couldn’t bang a white woman on the silver screen because apparently audiences weren’t ready for it.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the awakening I’ve been hoping for. With a precious few exceptions, the majority of interracial couplings on TV are a stepping stone, temps, or ways of showing off how totally not racist a character is by introducing an ex that isn’t white.

Is that progress? Well, at least they’re showing up at all now, so that’s something. There are now couples like Captain Holt and Kevin on Brooklyn 99, Jane and Brad from Happy Endings, Jasmine and Crosby from Parenthood, even Ricky and Lucy from I Love Lucy.

Meanwhile, the majority still fall into the former category. People are fawning over Jessica Jones and Luke Cage (who make an awesome duo), but with Cage getting his own show, we know there is nothing long term in store for those 2. Then there are shows like Scandal and Community that will just rotate love interests as often as a pair of socks, so any pairing is temporary. Unsurprisingly, shows featuring people of colour prominently seem better able to manage the mind blowing possibility of people of different heritages finding common ground.

I guess my issue with this is the implicit insinuation that interracial relationships are a phase. The white girl brings home a black man to scare her parents type thing. As if it can never be the end game, just a stepping stone to the real deal when she grows up and marries an accountant of the same faith and skin colour.

I think this is what people mean about not seeing themselves on the screen. It’s a bit like being told by a close family member (and who doesn’t feel that way about TV?) that your choices are invalid, that who they are is invalid.

And that sucks, because love is colour blind.

Well, time for some re-watching.

Soulmates don’t exist, and other good news

I have great news. Virtually every relationship portrayed in the media is terrible. Why is this great news? Easy – that takes away all the pressure of trying to make yours look like them.

Here are some common myths about relationships we see in movies, TV, video games, comics, etc and why it’s awesome that they’re not true.

Continue reading “Soulmates don’t exist, and other good news”