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Psychology Today Article on privilege of romantic relationships

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DAMN FUCKING RIGHT, TELL IT LIKE IT IS DOCTOR

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I think this is spot on. It's annoying to me that romantic relationships are "first and foremost" in society. As it says at the end of the article, amatonormativity, begone!

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i'm not super-thrilled about how the author listed familial relationships as being considered lesser than romantic ones when id say they're seen as being equally important in our society, especially as someone who does not have a great relationship with their family. i think this is because the two are so heavily intertwined- romance is supposed to end in marriage and kids in our society, so romance and the nuclear family are difficult to separate from each other in that respect.

im also not keen on them saying that friendships "don't rely on the crutch of sexual attraction" bc it seems to be reinforcing a binary between sex and friendship that i dont think exists. (not to mention that language seems a bit ableist".

the rest of it is fine. nothing particularly new that i haven't seen discussed already in the community but it's always nice to see people from outside our sphere talking about this stuff.

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On 5/3/2019 at 9:07 AM, Mark said:

 

It's alright. A decent conversation starter, I think. Gotta say, though, when I saw the title ("Why Are Romantic Relationships Privileged Above Others?") I assumed -- incorrectly -- that that question was going to be answered. And the article doesn't really do that, more just argues that the question is worth asking.

 

On 5/3/2019 at 7:13 PM, assignedgothatbirth said:

i'm not super-thrilled about how the author listed familial relationships as being considered lesser than romantic ones when id say they're seen as being equally important in our society, especially as someone who does not have a great relationship with their family. i think this is because the two are so heavily intertwined- romance is supposed to end in marriage and kids in our society, so romance and the nuclear family are difficult to separate from each other in that respect.

 

This is a good point. DePaulo is... downplaying the societal place of familial relationships, here, in a way that needs to be a little more hedged, I would say. There are certainly cultures that prioritize family as much as if not more than romance. And while she does qualify "in the U.S.," that still includes a big mix of people. It's my understanding that, for instance, the place of "family" is generally different in upper/middle-class White culture vs. Latinx culture.

 

Plus, yeah, contrasting them gets in the way of recognizing how they're intertwined. Romantic relationships are expected to be how more families(/children/blood relatives) get made. That's why I'm inclined to think that a serious approach to answering this question ("Why Are Romantic Relationships Privileged Above Others?") would have to start digging into critiques of not just marriage but also the nuclear family. I've put together a few sources on that topic here, for anyone interested.

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On 5/7/2019 at 4:49 AM, Coyote said:

Plus, yeah, contrasting them gets in the way of recognizing how they're intertwined. Romantic relationships are expected to be how more families(/children/blood relatives) get made. That's why I'm inclined to think that a serious approach to answering this question ("Why Are Romantic Relationships Privileged Above Others?") would have to start digging into critiques of not just marriage but also the nuclear family. I've put together a few sources on that topic here, for anyone interested.

Like romance and romantic marriages nuclear families are a fairly recent thing.

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It's a shorter read than I expected. 😛  I don't have much to actually add that others haven't said apart from that I appreciated the piece.

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8 hours ago, Mark said:

Like romance and romantic marriages nuclear families are a fairly recent thing.

 

It's hard to say how recent exactly, but something like that, yes. While mothers/fathers/children relationships may have existed since the origin of sexual dimorphism, the idea of taking that as the "basic unit of society" (or even calling that "the nuclear family") isn't universal across time and space. I was hoping to put together something of a more specific timeline on that, but that's going to have to wait, because it turns out that the literature on this subject is a lot more varied and complicated than I thought. Should have figured though.

 

Anyway, this is something important to me to talk about because while criticizing amatonormativity is one thing (and it is a good thing to criticize), recognizing a connection between that and the nuclear family, and criticizing that norm as well, opens up a lot of potential for alliance with lots of other movements. Those sources, they come from feminism, sociology, geography, critical race theory, queer theory, postcolonial and indigenous studies... There's a lot of connections waiting to be made there. I mean, I dunno about y'all, but I find all that potential exciting.

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15 hours ago, Coyote said:

It's hard to say how recent exactly, but something like that, yes. While mothers/fathers/children relationships may have existed since the origin of sexual dimorphism, the idea of taking that as the "basic unit of society" (or even calling that "the nuclear family") isn't universal across time and space. I was hoping to put together something of a more specific timeline on that, but that's going to have to wait, because it turns out that the literature on this subject is a lot more varied and complicated than I thought. Should have figured though.

The term "nuclear family" as well as "conjugal family" is recent.
Though such family structures appear to have been common enough to be noticed in the 17th (even 13th) century. According to Wikipedia.
With the idea of a connection between this kind of family and the (18th century) industrial revolution being an example of correlation vs causation.

 

15 hours ago, Coyote said:

Anyway, this is something important to me to talk about because while criticizing amatonormativity is one thing (and it is a good thing to criticize), recognizing a connection between that and the nuclear family, and criticizing that norm as well, opens up a lot of potential for alliance with lots of other movements. Those sources, they come from feminism, sociology, geography, critical race theory, queer theory, postcolonial and indigenous studies... There's a lot of connections waiting to be made there. I mean, I dunno about y'all, but I find all that potential exciting.

Amantonormativity seems to rely on several several other things being normative.
Amongst those are monogamy (sexual, emotional, social and activity), marriage, romance, conflation of romantic and sexual attraction and the nuclear family. Though possibly not heterosexuality, even though Brake specifically references heteronormativity.


Interesting is that nuclear families are normative whilst actually being in the minority.
In most Western societies married adults are about half, with about a third never married.
It's surprisingly hard to good data on how marital status has varied over time. The best I could find is this and this. Which only goes back to 1950;. This median age of first marriage shows a trend which changed around the mid 20th century. It would certainly be useful to see such graphs for 1850-present. 

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7 hours ago, Mark said:

Amongst those are monogamy (sexual, emotional, social and activity), marriage, romance, conflation of romantic and sexual attraction and the nuclear family. Though possibly not heterosexuality, even though Brake specifically references heteronormativity.

 

I think they're all intertwined forces -- sometimes identifiable separably, but often running as a pack and reinforcing each other. Heteronormativity and amatonormativity do tend to go hand-in-hand (Luvtheheaven discusses an example of that in a recent post). And another reason to make the connection to heteronormativity, tbh, is that this is something you'll see tackled in academic queer theory sometimes, although not always by the name of amatonormativity as such. I wouldn't know who to cite off the top of my head but they definitely make the case that the "respectability" of marriage is inflected with a heteronormative ideal -- and paint trying to incorporate LGBTQ people into that mold as assimilationist.

 

7 hours ago, Mark said:

It's surprisingly hard to good data on how marital status has varied over time. The best I could find is this and this. Which only goes back to 1950;. This median age of first marriage shows a trend which changed around the mid 20th century. It would certainly be useful to see such graphs for 1850-present. 

 

huh. Interesting. Thanks for collecting those pdf pages. Is there a main source page where you found them?

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19 hours ago, Coyote said:

I think they're all intertwined forces -- sometimes identifiable separably, but often running as a pack and reinforcing each other. Heteronormativity and amatonormativity do tend to go hand-in-hand (Luvtheheaven discusses an example of that in a recent post)

My critique of Chapman is that in addition the above he ignores any form of love other than romantic. Thus omitting the possibility of different languages for different types of love as well as the idea that everyone prefers to give in the same way they receive may not be universally the case.
IIRC he has written books aimed at children and teens. Which, hopefully, are about storge.

 

19 hours ago, Coyote said:

And another reason to make the connection to heteronormativity, tbh, is that this is something you'll see tackled in academic queer theory sometimes, although not always by the name of amatonormativity as such. I wouldn't know who to cite off the top of my head but they definitely make the case that the "respectability" of marriage is inflected with a heteronormative ideal -- and paint trying to incorporate LGBTQ people into that mold as assimilationist.

I found this list critiquing "marriage equality". Also this newspaper article from a feminist and lesbian perspective.

 

20 hours ago, Coyote said:

huh. Interesting. Thanks for collecting those pdf pages. Is there a main source page where you found them?

The links come from the US Census Bureau. I suspect the information may be present for most of the developed world. But not always in the most usable of formats.
There's also this on marriage decline from the UK. With this newspaper report possibly based on the same data.

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