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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:

Instead, we should actively resist these norms by challenging who and what we find un-attractive and un-interesting. This can be done through art, culture, porn, but also of course through changing who we interact with and who our communities are made up of.

Ah. Apparently, we should be cultivating politically correct romantic and erotic attractions to unappealing people - say, overweight bores with borderline personalities. Because, says Ms Hedlund, love and sex are unequally “distributed,” with an unfair amount of both going to people who are deemed lovable and attractive by the people loving them, and not insufferable sociopaths with horrific disfigurements. Or, one suspects, self-styled “feminist killjoys.” And this is because of capitalism. It’s “obvious,” you see. And so we’re told,

Rejecting standard notions of love… goes hand in hand with rejecting capitalism.

Though I’m not convinced that staring intently at chubby amputee porn is going to do much for me, or will recalibrate my preferences, so hopelessly entrenched are my capitalistic, neoliberal tendencies. Readers are of course invited to try it anyway and report back on how it goes. I promise we won’t judge.

Via Tom Owolade