Holmbo

Do you want to change the society?

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A lot of the discussions on this forum is how our societies are poorly adapted for aromantic people. We would like to have a society with less focus on romantic love and relationship ladders and more about the whole spectrum of relationships people could have with each other. It seems to me that such a society would be better for everyone. If people could have many close relationships rather than just one they'd be more resilient to changes in their lives. If so many activities, like sex, cohabitation, shared life goals, child rearing weren't confined to be shared exclusively with romantic couples people would have more options in their lives. Oh your husband doesn't want kids? Fine have one with your best friend.

 

My thoughts on this topic goes in many different directions. Two questions I'd like to ask is:
-Do you feel like people in general, just not aromantics, would be happier in a less amatonormative society?

-Do you act on your thoughts about romance in other contexts than just in your own life choices? Like advocate for less romance in pop culture or point out to your friends that some things considered romantic is just toxic and abusive.

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I do think that if society focused much less on romance it would be a lot better for not just aromantic people, but romantic people as well. Cheating wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem, for example.

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Hi there @Holmbo nice to see you back on here :) I was missing these types of conversations.

 

3 hours ago, Holmbo said:

-Do you feel like people in general, just not aromantics, would be happier in a less amatonormative society?

 

Probably - although this would obviously have less overall positive impact for them than it would for aros. I agree with what you said here:

 

3 hours ago, Holmbo said:

If people could have many close relationships rather than just one they'd be more resilient to changes in their lives. If so many activities, like sex, cohabitation, shared life goals, child rearing weren't confined to be shared exclusively with romantic couples people would have more options in their lives. Oh your husband doesn't want kids? Fine have one with your best friend.

 

Traditional marriage, long term monogomy and the 'nuclear family' isn't such a great fit for many people - including many romantic peope.

The stuff on raising kids also ties in with something @LunarSeas wrote on another thread:

Quote

 Raising kids has not much to do with orientation. I've often wished there could be some communal situation where friends can raise kids as a village. 

 

 

3 hours ago, Holmbo said:

Do you act on your thoughts about romance in other contexts than just in your own life choices? Like advocate for less romance in pop culture or point out to your friends that some things considered romantic is just toxic and abusive.

 

I'm not really involved in the arts in any way, but if I was, I'd like to advocate for more pop cultural acknowledgment of aromantic experiences. They are pretty invisible. I also don't have any really stereotypically "hyper-romantic" friends - but if I did, I would most likely (gently) call them out on stuff like that.

 

 

In terms of how to actually change the society (or at least, gradually "terraform" it into something less explicilty amatonormative) there are a lot of different ways you could go about this. There are the architectural/town planning dimensions that we've already discussed elsewhere. As I said there, living arrangements with the same social dynamcs as student dorms - but with better building standards etc. - would be super awesome :D Plus cities with more communal spaces.

 

The legal dimention is also important, I think. To decouple all the things traditionaly packaged together in marriage (child-rearing, cohabitation and sharing of domestic tasks, emotional and career support, etc.) and allow a more 'mix-and-match' approach where these things can be provided separately and by various different relationship archetypes may require some legal reforms for facilitation/support. That's basically what Elizabeth Brake's book Minimising Marriage was proposing - generalising the legal concept of marriage to any sort of care relationship and providing a propoer legal framework for this and getting rid of the current amatonormative 'package-deal' legal approach to it (plus we have her to thank for the concept of "amatonormativity")

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If I had the power, I would definitely change society from scratch in this regard. There're so many things wrong with people that I don't even know where to start from. I'll try to rant in an organised manner, so, here we go:

 

First of all, I wish all people understood once and for all that romantic attraction (crushing on someone and then falling and being for a while in love with them) and loving someone are not the same. Yes, the latter CAN emerge from the former, but it is not always the case. Romance in the first place is NOT necessary for true love to occur. It is possible for a relationship to start on different grounds, even if this only happens in a tiny percentage of the cases. The two can be best friends and realise they are right for each other because they share an amazing level of trust, comfort and so on. Or, maybe, they can be mere sex partners in the first place, and then slowly befriend each other, and then... 

 

Secondly, people must understand that romance is NOT the central element of a relationship. They have to understand that settling down has NOTHING to do with whether one is or has ever been in love with that person or not. A relationship is like a cake. It is elements like comfort, knowing each other well, trust, acceptance, support, warmth, affection, patience (and the list is long) that constitute the dough. It is these ingredients which make the cake be a cake and not something else. Sex and romance are just additional ingredients (the sprinkles and the frosting). While these are popular with the vast majority of the world's population, there still are exceptions which only enjoy one of these two, or neither. Also, if you only have frosting, then there's no cake, right? While romantic attraction, as the word "attraction" suggests, happens involuntarily and in an instant, true love is like a wall. A wall whose each brick must be lain patiently at the right time. A wall whose construction takes place over a consistent amount of time. A wall which once built, can't be shaken. It has nothing to do with the (romance) "flame" whose days are numbered.  

 

Thirdly, something that should be taken very seriously is the fact that our society not only overrates romance, but it glorifies one of the two existing types of romance, namely the toxic one. Media pictures jealousy and possessiveness as the ultimate proof of how much the jealous one cares for their partner. Ownership is regarded as a reason to be proud. (as in, I'm proud, I belong to him/her). Stalking behaviour is viewed as an act of carefulness. Tolerating an abusive partner is pictured as an act of true love and heroism. Most people get suspicious if someone talks to, or hugs someone of the opposite sex, that "someone" being a best friend. For crying out loud, people, we are humans, we need friendship, too, being affectionate towards someone does NOT mean we sleep with them! So many feel to brag about their relationship, posting photos of them constantly. (Well, won;t you tell us about the last time you fucked, too?). They imagine that if they have a partner, it's like they have a claim on them. They normalise the idea of becoming insular once getting into a relationship. The phrase "you're my everything" is regarded as the ultimate expression of one's feelings. Its translation is "you are the ONLY person I care about, and ALL THE REST (my family, my friends) might as well die and go to hell". They normalise the idea that a relationship means you have to give up on all your hobbies for good and change radically. There are so many couples who are close to banging their heads agains a wall because one day passed without their having seen each other. They want to slash their wrists because oh God, they haven't been in contact for 2 hours. If someone doesn't reciprocate a crush or a stronger form of romantic attraction, the one experiencing them generally won't' accept that and is thick-brained enough to insist. Books such as "50 shades of Grey" are frighteningly popular and everyone thinks they're fantastic. I'm so done with this propaganda. It's like the air we breathe is polluted with all these witless and sick ideas. It is like a sort of gas and it seems like very few are immunte to this gas. I'm sick of the (all too many) people around me who display such behaviour, even if it is only one of the aforementioned elements. Memes about those elements everywhere. Thoughts they say out loud. People who accept having such a partner, who indulge themselves into that, who accept so easily to give all their passwords to their partners so they can be monitored 24/7. People who so easily lash out at anyone who has an ounce of reason and tries to point out to them that the relationship is toxic. Who throw the all too known "BUT I LOVE HIM/HER, HOW COULD THOSE LIKE YOU EVER UNDERSTAND?". Well, then it means that you enjoy being treated like shit, so stop complaining already. You deserve your fate, you pitiful brainless creature. Toxic relationships are glorified everywhere: books, films, songs. I can't take it anymore. I'm so done with these ideologies. So done. Fuck you media, fuck you Hollywood, fuck you, human nature. Fuck you, amatonormativity, fuck you. 

 

P.S.: Pardon my French :p.           

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1 hour ago, Ice Queen said:

Well, then it means that you enjoy being treated like shit, so stop complaining already. You deserve your fate, you pitiful brainless creature.

 

I think you took it a bit far here :/. People are prone to different weaknesses, depending on their nature - toxic romance just happens to be something allo-romantics are a lot more prone to than us; but I don't think that experiencing human weakness makes them uniquely stupid or contemptible (no doubt aros just have different types of weaknesses or traps we can more easily fall into).

 

I can pretty much get behind the rest of what you wrote though. "Everything popular is wrong" is attributed to Oscar Wilde (although I can't find a source for it, so I have my doubts that he actually said it...)

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14 minutes ago, NullVector said:

 

I think you took it a bit far here :/

 

I might have. Sorry, but I was really revolted. It is just the idea that the persons complains about something, but at the same time won't do anything to avoid the root cause and hates everyone who tries to open their eyes.  :-? 

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2 minutes ago, Ice Queen said:

I might have. Sorry, but I was really revolted. It is just the idea that the persons complains about something, but at the same time won't do anything to avoid the root cause and hates everyone who tries to open their eyes.  :-? 

 

I know exactly the type of person you mean. I just think that sympathy/compassion is a better go-to response here than anger/contempt. 

 

But I never said people were easy! And maintaining compassion/sympathy for these types of people is sort of like playing on hard mode :P

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7 hours ago, Ice Queen said:

Most people get suspicious if someone talks to, or hugs someone of the opposite sex, that "someone" being a best friend. For crying out loud, people, we are humans, we need friendship, too, being affectionate towards someone does NOT mean we sleep with them!

Oh yes, I hate this. And even a significant favor is often interpreted like this.

7 hours ago, Ice Queen said:

People who so easily lash out at anyone who has an ounce of reason and tries to point out to them that the relationship is toxic. Who throw the all too known "BUT I LOVE HIM/HER, HOW COULD THOSE LIKE YOU EVER UNDERSTAND?". Well, then it means that you enjoy being treated like shit, so stop complaining already. You deserve your fate, you pitiful brainless creature.

I know, but we some of us are very close to this type of romantic, and I couldn't feel contempt for them. In these situations their character changes entirely, it's like they are possessed by a demon. I always try to be supportive of all of this including their heartbreaks, though I often feel like “And why am I forgotten again if some new romantic interest comes along?”.

 

 

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22 hours ago, Holmbo said:

-Do you feel like people in general, just not aromantics, would be happier in a less amatonormative society?

 

I do. I feel like, if people were born into a less amatonormative society, no one, besides a few closeminded people who want an amatonormative relationship and want everyone else to be exactly like them(and honestly, I don't care if I piss off people like that), would really mind. It's not as if I want to ban romance or monogamy altogether, I just feel like they shouldn't be seen as necessary to live a full, happy life. I definitely feel as if everyone would be better off if they didn't feel like they had to base their lives off of one thing, trapped in situations that aren't making them as happy as they could be (or happy at all, really) solely because it's romance. I don't see how anyone loses from having all their options viewed as equally acceptable and fulfilling, whether that be living with, raising children with, or doing whatever with, a friend, a qpp, alone, a family member, or a romantic partner(or some combination of any number of any of the above).

 

22 hours ago, Holmbo said:

-Do you act on your thoughts about romance in other contexts than just in your own life choices? Like advocate for less romance in pop culture or point out to your friends that some things considered romantic is just toxic and abusive.

 

I've tried to bring up issues with romace and point out amatonormativity a few times, but all I seem to get in response is something along the lines of being told incredibly patronizingly that "that's not what this is about, honey"(I really hate being called honey) even though it really is what that is about, or just simply to shut the fuck up.

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I just don't like how finding the one is portrayed in all media, books, and social circles as THE POINT OF LIVING. What about children who are unfortunately very sick and don't live to be adults? Have they wasted their lives because they never found a romantic partner?

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I don't like how romance is seen as a point to life full stop.

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On 13/05/2017 at 11:20 AM, Holmbo said:

My thoughts on this topic goes in many different directions. Two questions I'd like to ask is:

-Do you feel like people in general, just not aromantics, would be happier in a less amatonormative society?

I'd say the problem here is normativity in general.
How to foster diversity, rather than replace one normativity with another, is a far from trivial issue..

 

On 14/05/2017 at 8:51 AM, Shroomie said:

I do. I feel like, if people were born into a less amatonormative society, no one, besides a few closeminded people who want an amatonormative relationship and want everyone else to be exactly like them(and honestly, I don't care if I piss off people like that), would really mind. It's not as if I want to ban romance or monogamy altogether, I just feel like they shouldn't be seen as necessary to live a full, happy life.

They'd be fine so long as it were possible for them to have a romantic, monogamous, identity merging, cohabiting, etc. relationship. Which would still be the case in a diverse society.
Things only become a problem when it's some person (or group) who wants to impose their way of doing things as "the one twue way" for everyone.

 

On 14/05/2017 at 8:51 AM, Shroomie said:

I've tried to bring up issues with romace and point out amatonormativity a few times, but all I seem to get in response is something along the lines of being told incredibly patronizingly that "that's not what this is about, honey"(I really hate being called honey) even though it really is what that is about, or just simply to shut the fuck up.

Also how this (amantonormativity) is the "natural order" or how wanting anything else is seeking the "very specific".

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Reading the title, I didn't know this was about amatonormativity so I was gonna say I would change society to make it APPRECIATE JAZZ AGAIN!

But yeah less normativity would be cool too. Except jazznormativity. It should be normal for everyone to listen to jazz all the time.

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On 13 May 2017 at 0:20 PM, Holmbo said:

Do you feel like people in general, just not aromantics, would be happier in a less amatonormative society?

Absolutely. People tend to rely on just one "special" person way too much, and I think this is unhealthy.

 

On 13 May 2017 at 0:20 PM, Holmbo said:

Do you act on your thoughts about romance in other contexts than just in your own life choices? Like advocate for less romance in pop culture or point out to your friends that some things considered romantic is just toxic and abusive.

Does very obvious cringing during particulary stupid "romantic" parts in movies count?

 

One thing I really do want to try to inform more people about is how underrated friendship is, and I want to encourage more people to take it seriously. I actually moved to where I live now in order to be closer to friends I knew for a long time. People generally kind of look at me weird and don't know how to react when I tell them this. The fact that people think that's weird bothers me... it should be more common! I ranted a lot more about this kind of thing on my blog here.

 

I really think people overall would be happier if they organized their neighbourhoods etc by building tribes of friends that stick together, rather than the whole "nuclear family" thing.

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5 hours ago, brsajo said:

Reading the title, I didn't know this was about amatonormativity so I was gonna say I would change society to make it APPRECIATE JAZZ AGAIN!

But yeah less normativity would be cool too. Except jazznormativity. It should be normal for everyone to listen to jazz all the time.

 

It's soooo off topic, but I just can't resist posting it :D 

Spoiler

 

 

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22 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

I really think people overall would be happier if they organized their neighbourhoods etc by building tribes of friends that stick together, rather than the whole "nuclear family" thing.

 

I agree. University halls/dorms/colleges are actually like that (for a few yesrs, at least). I miss them.

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1 hour ago, NullVector said:

I agree. University halls/dorms/colleges are actually like that (for a few yesrs, at least). I miss them.

Same. For years after my college years, I kept wanting to get all my friends from there together in the same place, preferably to live in the same building again like we used to. Sadly, they all got different jobs in different places, eventually married, etc, all that sad story stuff. Eh, maybe they're happy though, if so, great for them... but still, they did seem like they would have liked my idea if it actually worked out.

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I have read articles about how amatonormativity hurts everyone, I totally agree that society would be a lot better if it relaxed its attitudes towards romance. In my eyes, it's kind of like a farrier cutting a horse's hoof to fit the shoe, rather than making shoes to fit, in that (some, or many?) people try and force feelings/their actions/life plans to fit some kind of narrative in the context of romantic society's expectations of how 'romance' should work, and "if X isn't going X way for you, it ain't working"... rather than take a couple of steps back to really evaluate how they feel/what they really want and whether they 'work' with a particular person. 

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On 16/05/2017 at 9:06 PM, Untamed Heart said:

In my eyes, it's kind of like a farrier cutting a horse's hoof to fit the shoe, rather than making shoes to fit, in that (some, or many?) people try and force feelings/their actions/life plans to fit some kind of narrative in the context of romantic society's expectations of how 'romance' should work, and "if X isn't going X way for you, it ain't working"... rather than take a couple of steps back to really evaluate how they feel/what they really want and whether they 'work' with a particular person. 

Sounds like Procrustes :)

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On 2017-05-13 at 3:45 PM, NullVector said:

Hi there @Holmbo nice to see you back on here :) I was missing these types of conversations.

 

 

May is a bussy month for planners :D

 

On 2017-05-15 at 4:19 PM, Mark said:

I'd say the problem here is normativity in general.
How to foster diversity, rather than replace one normativity with another, is a far from trivial issue..

 

That could be true. It's not about changing the norm but breaking/widening it.

Though I kinda feel like there are some parts of romantic behavior that is just harmful and should not be considered normal. Like some of the stuff @Ice Queen posted above.

On 2017-05-15 at 4:30 PM, brsajo said:

Reading the title, I didn't know this was about amatonormativity so I was gonna say I would change society to make it APPRECIATE JAZZ AGAIN!

But yeah less normativity would be cool too. Except jazznormativity. It should be normal for everyone to listen to jazz all the time.

Maybe we can make another thread about changing society in general, I have many thoughts :D

 

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On 5/15/2017 at 3:19 PM, Mark said:

How to foster diversity, rather than replace one normativity with another, is a far from trivial issue..

 

Yeah and 'sub-cultures' in general often aren't very good at this IMO. Lke that joke in South Park where Stan joins the 'non-conformists':

"If you want to be one of the non-conformists all you have to do is dress just like us and listen to the same music we do" :D 

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I would. I'd like for society at large to pay more attention to the grey areas of life. 

This goes for amatonormativity as well as literally everything else.

People are so quick to divide everything in black and white and I mean all people, romantic or not (myself included). Sure, cis romantics can be dickheads, but members of subcultures aren't that great with the whole openness to outside opinions/influences either. We've all seen or read about situations, were LGBT people are more than willing to throw the grey area members and allies under the bus. I'd wish for a society that's more open to the stuff in life that doesn't neatly fall into a category. And I wish people in sub-cultures would be more open to questions, so we can minimize the divide. Take some walls down. I wish society wouldn't get all "you're for or against us" all the damn time, cause chances are it's neither. Aro and Romantic aren't the defining features of our respective personalities, we're as diverse as they come. It's not black and white. The world just doesn't work that way and It's just almost never ever that simple.

 

I feel like a society that keeps that in mind (to a certain degree) would ultimately be better for everybody. That being said, that's a long shot :rofl:

 

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I only want to change it in the fact I want society to leave me alone about my life. 

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On 5/15/2017 at 8:30 AM, brsajo said:

Reading the title, I didn't know this was about amatonormativity so I was gonna say I would change society to make it APPRECIATE JAZZ AGAIN!

But yeah less normativity would be cool too. Except jazznormativity. It should be normal for everyone to listen to jazz all the time.

Jazz makes me feel tired. It's too complicated, I find it overwhelming. If everyone was expected to listen to jazz all the time, I wouldn't like that.   

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On 27/05/2017 at 3:17 PM, Just like Jughead said:

I only want to change it in the fact I want society to leave me alone about my life. 

 

Said every non heteronormative person ever

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