PART V-DISNEY DIDN’T DO IT!

Bursting BubbleMuch to the chagrin of my husband, I hold hard and fast to the notion that “the one” does not, let me repeat, does not exist. I was going to save such a blog for a better day, like Valentine’s Day because it would fit perfectly with my cynical sentimentality; however (or perhaps unfortunately in your case, whichever you choose), a headline shared on Facebook got me fired up enough that sooner, rather than later, is best especially with the recent buzz on this topic given the Frozen explosion (Disney, 2014).

First, I must give props to the writer of the Huffington Post article How Disney Sabotaged Our Love Lives, by Ashley Crouch (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ashley-crouch/how-disney-sabotaged-our-love-lives_b_5194639.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046), because from the headline alone I immediately knew where it was going and that’s one sign of a good writer (aside from the fact the article was well written). However, my purpose is not to critique one’s writing abilities, it’s to state my two objections to the article which was laying blame to Disney, or Hollywood for that matter, and not separating love, marriage and sex from one another.

Sure, we’ve grown up with those timeless tales about waiting for prince charming and a happily ever after, but Disney didn’t do it—they didn’t ruin our love lives or teach us about “the one.” In fact, the idea of “the one” was instilled in us, women that is, long before moving pictures. Two of my favorite philosophers, Frederick Nietzsche (1844 to 1900) and Emma Goldman (1864-1940), had some very strong views on this subject long before Disney (early 1920’s with Snow White having been released in approximately 1937) or even before the media began perpetuating. Hell, Renaissance poets penned such romantic idolatry and could stand to take a bit of the blame (if we are going that route).

Most of the article falls in line with what I concluded long ago and solidified in my mind after reading Nietzsche’s and Goldman’s take on love, marriage and sex. It also seems as though the article could have been somewhat influenced or inspired by their ideology, but since they were neither quoted nor referenced I think it’s safe to bet they were not. Regardless, what was missing and needed to be addressed is the concept that love, sex and marriage ought to be separated from each other. While they can coexist, one does not need the other to survive or to be good or great and neither should be used to define the other. And, if Ms. Crouch’s article separated love from marriage it would fall more in line with Nietzsche in that marriage is best put to use as a practical matter.

Now you know what I think—below is more specifically about Nietzsche and Goldman and why I think what I do (because I’m too lazy tonight to bother with revamping an old paper). With that, I bid you a “so long, farewell, alveterzane, good night.” Good luck—sleep tight for me, I’m gone!

NIETZSCHE AND GOLDMAN ON LOVE MARRIAGE

Black Rose

Love and marriage, according to Nietzsche and Goldman, do not go together like a horse and carriage, and marriage is oppressive to women. I will discuss the various thoughts of Nietzsche and Goldman on love, marriage, and gender roles upon which love and marriage are based, as well as compare and contrast each philosopher on these subjects.

Both Nietzsche and Goldman believe that love should be separated from the definition and application of marriage because they have nothing in common. Marriage is simply a means to control and oppress women. Both authors explain, with regard to marriage as oppressive to women, that women in their society were not as well educated in “marital relations” and females were socialized to bow down in servitude to the husband. Women were expected to maintain proper domestic order as well as serve their husbands sexually; however, women were taught to believe that love was required of sex[1], that sex was evil or dirty, and to feel shame for merely thinking about such an activity, let alone succumbing to natural desires. Both believe women are taught that marriage is their only outlet for copulation, which is required in marriage. And, the only way for them to find social penance for these dirty deeds was to find “love” and bear children.

However, while Nietzsche further develops his oppression theory by explaining that their modern marriage is designed to possess someone like a piece of property and that eventually the possessor will tire of it once the newness wears off (like landscaping), and the expectation of life-long commitment and fidelity is an act of possession, he does believe that marriage as an economic arrangement is just fine (i.e. marriage for practical purposes, financial security in exchange for a wife who can cook well, etc.). But, Goldman does not believe in marriage at all.

Both Nietzsche and Goldman believe that men and women are not given enough opportunity to get to know each other long enough to get past the infatuation stage [2] to be able to determine whether or not the other is who they perceived them to be and would really want to be with that person after finding out he/she is not who they perceived them to be. Think about a stereotypical, twenty-first century, young couple who is absolutely “in-love” with each other, have only been dating for a few months but decide to get married anyway. After the honeymoon period they are forced to really get to know each other, bad habits (smells) and all. Eventually, one of them realizes the one he or she married is not who they wanted to spend the rest of their life with in the first place and they ultimately end up divorcing. This is Nietzsche’s tiring landscape and Goldman’s not knowing each other well enough.

One of the big differences between these two philosophers, however, is in their views on love. Goldman believes in love while Nietzsche could do without it. Goldman is pro “free love” while Nietzsche is not. Goldman describes of love, “…the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy…the defier of all laws, of all conventions…the freest, the most powerful molder of human destiny….”  (Goldman, 1991) She believes that love, if anything, is freedom itself—not the “free love” coined by the hippies of the sixties. Goldman also believes in “free motherhood,” meaning that a woman should be able to bear children with the man she loves, should she choose, without her child being labled a “bastard” or denounced as illigitimate (or she a whore) and that a child born out of wedlock from this “free motherhood” enjoys a higher standard of care and love than those born in wedlock. Nietzche on the other hand seems to believe that in love, one is always more interested than the other, that men and women experience and expect of love in different ways, i.e. women expect “complete surrender” to love “…without any motive, without any reservation…” whereas a man expects this devotion from the woman, but does not return the same intensity and merely desires to possess her.  (Nietzsche, 1991).

Another difference is that Goldman believed that men and women were separated by society. That is, both were socialized to play specific gender roles which harmed a relationship. She believed women could be both feminine and powerful with a mutual respect to both genders—a celebration of their differences without oppression to the other and without women behaving as men. Nietzsche, on the other hand, believed women were best admired from a distance. In other words, he thought women were better if he didn’t know them and that, while he believed they should be better educated about sex, they were ultimately ignorant and could be better.

As you can see, there are similarities between Nietzsche and Goldman regarding the need to separate love from Marriage in definition of either term; one is not required of the other and that the institution of marriage is oppressive to women. I have also contrasted their different views on love itself (Goldman is for and Nietzsche is against), marriage (Goldman is against and Nietzsche is for practical marriage) and gender roles (Goldman believes in mutual respect, Nietzsche would rather not be bothered with women).

Ultimately, having sex does not mean there is love. Love is better served without the oppressive institution of marriage and if one chooses to be married they should do so because it serves a purpose other than the idea of love (practicality equals a contract whereby one agrees to provide some thing(s) in exchange for something else—all contracts require an offer, acceptance and consideration [the fair exchange]).

[1] Goldman says this is where the woman’s never ending search for “the one” begins

[2] They say it quite differently, but the message is the same.

Image credits: Google images

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About Jan Rain

See the About page. View all posts by Jan Rain

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