Jump to content

Aromanticism and French culture


 Share

Recommended Posts

Well, that's more a answer for a question by NullVector on my presentation page about my aromanticism and the fact that I'm French.

So here are the questions :

 

Quote

I'm wondering how you've found being aromantic and French? Do you think that this could be more difficult compared with other nationalities?

There is a stereotype that French people are very romantic - is there any truth to this stereotype, in your experience?

(we had this thread for 'romantic cities' - do you think that there are such things as 'romantic countries' or 'romantic cultures'?)

 

Well, to begin, there are many things that could explain that stereotype :

 

  • During all France's History, our culture tended to revolve around romance : the courtly love in the Middle Age during the era of Chivalry, the sexual freedom during the Renaissance (although the carnal and love pleasures' repression by the Catholic church had never been so repressed at the time) ... But I think that was mostly the French litterature and music which ingrained the French's reputation as lovers :
    • The authors : Pierre de Ronsard, known as the 'Prince of Poets' who dedicated many of his poems  to severals womens whom he loved during his life, Charles Beaudelaire and his representation of the Woman in 'Les Fleurs du Mal', Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, Verlaine, Louis d'Aragon, Theodore d'Agrippa Aubigné.... wen
    • The novels : Charles Perrault, known to have wrote 'Cinderella', 'Donkey Skin', 'Sleeping Beauty'  Stendhal's 'Le rouge et le noir', Gustave de Flaubert's 'Madame de Bovary' and 'L'éducation sentimentale', Boris Vian 'L'écume des Jours'  Edmond Rostand's 'Cyrano de Bergerac''....
    • French music: Berlioz, Debussy, Rameau, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Barbara....

All those people are known to have the Love's theme quite frequently in their composition, novels, poems... And some of them were in a relationships seen as 'scandalous' at the time  : Rimbaud and Verlaine were in a homosexual relationship and there was  the passionate idyle between Edith Piaf  and Marcel Cerdan, a married man.

 

  • Love is indeed, present in our literary, historic and artistic heritage: there is no taboo. In France we fall in love easily, often, and we do not hesitate to shout it in the whole world while in other country it's much more difficult and taboo to let know his feelings.

 

  • There is also some French's habit, seen in the eyes of a foreigner, that elevate the romance, on a whole new level. Here is an exemple that show the huge part of the foreigners about this 'French Romanticism' ;
    • Our Habit to Hold the door for someone. This small gesture, harmless, is a peculiarity of the French people. Most of the French people make an effort to hold the door for the person behind them while this isn't the case for most of the countries. Thus, the romanticism of the French would come from these small gestures attentive to the others, although they are more mechanicals than voluntarys actionq. They would translate in the eyes of the others a state of mind which we, French People, would have.

 

While I can't denied that romantism is very much present in our society, it has been vastly shaped by foreigners (especially Asians). For Asians, the romanticism comes at first from the fashion, the art generally, and the buildings. So, as a French, I can say that the romantism that French are sterotyped for, is an old-fashioned romantism.

 

In my experience, I don't think we are more romantics than any others countries (and I won't even talk about sexuality, that would be too long) but we are more...loose I would say. We can touch more freely, we can express more freely our sentiments, but the fact that we aren't as " caliente "  as our Spanish and Italian neighbors, whilst also being less restrained than some countries such as Asian's or Germany, making us in the eyes of the world, one of the most romantic people.

 

As an aromantic, I don't think that would be more difficult to 'come out' in a French society. The concept of love and romantism are cloesly linked together and with the globalisation, it  is becoming even more important in most of societies.

Heck I even think, it would be more difficult for a foreigner, that know my home country, to accept the fact I'm aromantic, BECAUSE OF this french sterotype O.o For some of them, love is a freedom that we can enjoy and it would be silly to not enjoy this freedom. 

 

I hope that will help you understand and I apologised in advance, for any mistakes  ^^

 

And I would love to hear your point of view about the romance in your country, how it is to live there as an aromantic, or even the sterotype you're known for :D!

 

Ps :

There is a humor video made by an Englishman, Paul Taylor, which criticize the Romance in France. It's fun as hell to watch.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's certainly a difference between the capital-R Romanticism of the sort found in art, architecture, music, literature, etc. that's actually a part of French culture (but also European culture in general), and the small-r romanticism that some alloromantics make such a fuss about, and I wish there wouldn't be such a conflation of the two.

 

I will say, though, that the stereotype of everyone being a bit more touchy-feely in France has, at least in my own personal experience (which, as an American studying in France for a few month, I definitely recognize is by no means representative of the culture) definitely been borne out. The whole "faire la bise" greeting thing has been a source of unending awkwardness since I've gotten here -_-

 

I don't really have much to say on the matter of romance in America, seeing as most of my friends are arospec :P Though I can say from the ones who aren't that the stereotype of American romance being pointlessly complicated and overdramatic is kind of true? Not always to the extent that it's portrayed in media, but definitely to some extent.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Dodecahedron314 said:

I will say, though, that the stereotype of everyone being a bit more touchy-feely in France has, at least in my own personal experience (which, as an American studying in France for a few month, I definitely recognize is by no means representative of the culture) definitely been borne out. The whole "faire la bise" greeting thing has been a source of unending awkwardness since I've gotten here -_-

 

Of course it depends of the people and the part of the country. But where I am, the whole 'faire la bise' as you said, is quite important. Many people look funny at me when I don't greet them with la bise and even escape from their attempt to do it xD

 

1 hour ago, Dodecahedron314 said:

t the stereotype of American romance being pointlessly complicated and overdramatic is kind of true? Not always to the extent that it's portrayed in media, but definitely to some extent.

 

Any kind of romance is being pointlessly complicated and overdramatic to me :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, sarcastic kitten said:

And I would love to hear your point of view about the romance in your country, how it is to live there as an aromantic, or even the sterotype you're known for :D!

 

Hmm. Well, I'm from England, like the maker of the video you posted! And I don't think we're particularly stereotyped as the world's greatest lovers ;) 

Holding the door open for people is an English thing too. But I don't think it's seem as at all romantic. It's just that we famously have a kind of cultural 'fetishisation' for exaggerated politeness! :D 

 

I think compared to Americans like @Dodecahedron314 we're seen as a less stereotypcially 'romantic' culture. Formal 'dating' strikes me as more of an American import. In England, I have the impression that it's much more common to just get drunk at a party and end up getting together with someone you've fancied for ages than it is to ever bother with actual dating! :P (alcohol is actually the 'matchmaker' for pretty much all English couples :rofl:). Americans are stereotyped as being more earnest and emotionally open. Wheras English people are stereotyped as more reseved and sarcastic - which doesn't fit in very well with 'romance'. Also, the English are probably one of the least tactile nations (compared to, say, French or Italian people, I think there is a lot less touching going on in neutral social contexts?). That might also factor in.

These are just vague impressions I have about cultural stereotypes though, so I don't take them too seriously!

 

Despite all that, I still pick up on plenty of pressure/social expectation in my country that romantic relationships are just a normal and expected thing for a healthy, functioing human to fall into line with at some point in their life. So I'm not sure if it really makes very much difference what European or North American country you're from - like you said, globalisation! (it does tend to homegenise countries) But maybe it would be more difficult to be aromantic in a country like, say, India, where there is a tradition of arranged marriages and a lot of family pressure to get married and have a 'normal' married family life? Or, similarly, if you were from a strongly culturally Catholic country, one that placed a lot of expectations around married life and having a family, that might also be quite difficult for an aromantic? So I think we probably have it relatively easy comapred to some people out there? I don't really know that though - I don't live in that type of country.

 

P.S. I did enjoy the bit on "je t'aime ... bien" in that video xD 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2017-04-30 at 9:52 PM, Dodecahedron314 said:

I don't really have much to say on the matter of romance in America, seeing as most of my friends are arospec :P Though I can say from the ones who aren't that the stereotype of American romance being pointlessly complicated and overdramatic is kind of true? Not always to the extent that it's portrayed in media, but definitely to some extent.

 

That's my impression too, from my high school exchange year in the US at least. So much drama! And most of it tied to romance. Everyone dated so much and were always in relationships. In Sweden young people date much less.  You hang out in groups and if two people like each other romantically they become a couple.

 

I think Sweden is a good country to be aromantic in, I wrote a post about that some while ago. Most people have a sort of mind-my-own-buisness-atitude about other people so they mostly don't give their opinions about who you do or do not date. On the other hand Swedes often have only a small group of friends and spend a lot of their time at home, so having a big group of close friends instead of a significant partner might be more difficult.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
On 01/05/2017 at 1:53 AM, sarcastic kitten said:

And I would love to hear your point of view about the romance in your country, how it is to live there as an aromantic, or even the sterotype you're known for :D!

Soooo, I can't generalise for the entire Australian culture as it is such a melting pot of different things. Generally alcohol is involved. uhhh, then it varies depending on your family heritage and the values of the culture that influenced your family life. Because of the differences I think lots of romantic gestures go unnoticed because revving your car outside a girl's house was a romantic gesture, making origami flowers was a romantic gesture, asking a girl to a church day was a romantic gesture. It still seems a lot more acceptable to brag about spending time with your friends than it is to talk about your romantic events. So I guess romance is subtle? or maybe being aro I just miss it? 

 

That is one thing I guess Australia is known for, the strong idea of mateship. Close friendships between two or more men is not seen as odd, and by close I mean they are basically an aromantic bonded unit. Physical affection like hugs and holding hands is not uncommon. Have a couple of dates with girls every now and then and none of the homophobic old people I know would even blink an eye at two mates living together and doing everything together. I guess the prevalence of mates might be reducing from what they were 70 or 100 years ago, I can only think of three pairs of mates that formed in high school. I guess mateship is the perfect framework for a aromantic platonic yet loyal and affectionate/caring relationship. So one of Australia's most historically cherished concepts is an asexual aromantic relationship.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

So one of Australia's most historically cherished concepts is an asexual aromantic relationship.  

In theory. Despite this many families still place a high value on getting married as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

That is one thing I guess Australia is known for, the strong idea of mateship. Close friendships between two or more men is not seen as odd, and by close I mean they are basically an aromantic bonded unit. Physical affection like hugs and holding hands is not uncommon

 

Yes, I have already hear of that : if my memories are right, the idea of mateship was quite common back then, in France and Victorian England. (Maybe they existed in other country but I don't know it  ^^') 

Nowadays, most of them are seen as an homsexual relationship's disguise because of the romantisation(?) of the society we live in. Many people that I know don't believe in these close friendship and think this kind of 'frienship' was hiding a sexual activity.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Momo said:

In theory. Despite this many families still place a high value on getting married as well.

oh, yeah, being in a close mate relationship did not let you get off from procreating. But it wouldn't have been weird to have your families live on the same street and regularly 'escape' together for 'bloke stuff' 

 

3 hours ago, sarcastic kitten said:

 

Yes, I have already hear of that : if my memories are right, the idea of mateship was quite common back then, in France and Victorian England. (Maybe they existed in other country but I don't know it  ^^') 

Nowadays, most of them are seen as an homsexual relationship's disguise because of the romantisation(?) of the society we live in. Many people that I know don't believe in these close friendship and think this kind of 'frienship' was hiding a sexual activity.

 

I think it started off as a warfare thing where men relied on each other, then brought the friendships back from active service. maybe. So it would be shared with many other cultures. The mateships that formed in my high school were not considered homosexual or a cover. The term bromance had happened by then (I hate this word so much)so those that didn't know about mates still basically understood that if you invited one to an event you had to give him a +3, so he could bring his mate and their dates. As I said before, a lot of homophobic older people, in their 70s or more, are not judgemental of mates as they would be of the female equivalent, or close male friendships that change participants regularly. Maybe the romanticism hasn't seeped into some cultural curiosities yet?  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/22/2017 at 0:11 AM, sarcastic kitten said:

Many people that I know don't believe in these close friendship and think this kind of 'frienship' was hiding a sexual activity.

Imho most of the theories like “Nietzsche was gay” result from applying our modern standards to such friendships in the past.

 

When we read Bram Stoker's Dracula in English class my classmates also instantly assumed that Lucy and Mina were totally romantically attracted to each other. It's too long ago to, I don't remember the text well, but was there anything that proves this, if we interpret it by the standards of its time?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Imho most of the theories like “Nietzsche was gay” result from applying our modern standards to such friendships in the past.

 

Yes I think so ^^ 

 

9 hours ago, DeltaV said:

When we read Bram Stoker's Dracula in English class my classmates also instantly assumed that Lucy and Mina were totally romantically attracted to each other. It's too long ago to, I don't remember the text well, but was there anything that proves this, if we interpret it by the standards of its time?

 

Well, I'll read it and tell you cause I'm bored and I had to read this book anyway xD !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...