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August 2016

You’re Doing It All Wrong

If you are only attracted to able, ‘mentally well’, cis, normatively beautiful people, from class privileged backgrounds, then you are upholding violent norms.

Attention, husbands, wives, lovers, seekers of amour, and the partnered of the world. Student activist and avowed “feminist killjoy” Josefin Hedlund wishes to correct your desires in a totally non-dogmatic, non-presumptuous way:

This myth [of love, marriage and monogamy] still has a powerful hold in today’s Western neoliberal societies. Its most important message is that love is magical and apolitical. However, at a closer look, it is obvious that love actually works to uphold hetero- and cis-normative, patriarchal, capitalist, and hierarchical structures in society

Better stow your luggage and strap yourselves in. The ride may be bumpy.

Test yourself: write down the gender, race, class, social, political, educational, and geographical background of everyone you have been attracted to. Do you see a pattern?

Maleness aside, can’t say I do. In fact, I doubt I could recall everyone who’s ever caught my eye. And it occurs to me that if even momentary attraction requires a thorough preemptive vetting of each person’s geographic and educational background, and knowledge of their bank balance and socio-political views, then something’s gone horribly wrong. I should think few of us have time to maintain what sounds like a hugely impractical academic sorting fetish.

If you are only attracted to able, ‘mentally well’, successful (by society’s standards), cisgender, normatively beautiful, slim people, from class privileged backgrounds… you cannot just declare that who you are attracted to is a personal preference.

I feel there ought to have been some kind of explanation here, to pad out the assertion. I’m still waiting for some elaboration on that “upholding violent norms” thing. And it’s not entirely clear to me how my own lifelong coupling, with a chap, is “upholding hetero- and cis-normative, patriarchal, capitalist, and hierarchical structures in society.” Perhaps we’re supposed to enjoy the air of mystery. Still, there’s lots of boilerplate and rote regurgitation:

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