I grew up in the Disney era when little girls were taught that, if we were good little girls, someday, our prince would come and rescue us. All the movies of my childhood preached the idea that girls needed a handsome prince to give them a happily ever after. My grandmother used to tell me, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man” over and over again. All this preaching didn’t sink in, however. I was a rebel and the feminist movement was the female voice that was speaking directly to me. I had a long string of relationships with men who were not only, not rich by any means, but not ambitious either. I was the bread winner and the caretaker until I realized I wasn’t getting anything out of the situation, lost all respect for my partner and eventually moved on. I have become the man I want to marry and I never wanted children, so marriage has now become a moot point for me. I firmly believe that marriage is for people who are planning on raising children. But lately I’ve been thinking about the message that society has been sending women about love and marriage.
As I mentioned, the Disney movies of our youth told us to wait for that handsome prince to rescue us. From what? From getting a job, standing on our own two feet and realizing that we are strong enough to take care of ourselves?
I guess there’s a shortage of princes and rich men now because it seems lately the romantic movies are preaching to successful women that we should go for the sweet poor guy rather than the rich guy who’s married to his career. Movies like Sweet Home Alabama, Letters to Juliet, and Leap Year illustrate this message. Of course the message is wrapped in the delusion that it’s only the sweet poor guy who could ever REALLY love you. Don’t rich men have feelings too? Apparently, if we are successful women, we can’t have a successful man because that would throw the earth off it’s axis or something. The movies of today are also telling men that they are spending way too much time working, money is not what’s important and they should be home with their families more. Movies like Liar, Liar and Click illustrate this point.
My question is, if no one is working, who is earning the living that’s needed to raise a family? Kids are expensive. So then we get back to the women should marry rich message again, but that’s bad. If you do that then you’re a gold digger, which is the societal equivalent of being a whore, which is also bad. After all marriage is supposed to be about love, pure love, true love. Scientists have found that this thing we call love is simply a chemical reaction in the brain caused by hormones and neurotransmitters… romantic huh? Maybe my grandmother had it right all along… it is just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man, when you look at love in terms of hormones and neurotransmitters.
Let’s go back to the gold digger label for a moment. It used to be that women sought out a good provider to mate with so that their children would be well taken care of. These women weren’t called gold diggers, they were called smart. Now that so many women are a success in their own right, they are looked down upon for seeking out a good provider. In my opinion, gold diggers are getting a bad rap. In the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe has a great little speech where she defends herself against the accusation of being a gold digger. “Don’t you know, that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but, my goodness, doesn’t it help? And if you had a daughter, wouldn’t you rather she didn’t marry a poor man? You’d want her to have the most wonderful things in the world and to be very happy. Well, why is it wrong for me to want those things?”
So, which is it? Do we marry for love, marry for money, make our own money and marry for love, marry for money then force our hard working husband to spend less time working or just say to hell with it all and try to find happiness no matter what it looks like?
9 thoughts on “The Love Delusion”
I think you actually nailed it in the last line. Some people won’t be happy without money—or more charitably, the comfort and stability that it brings—some go for power, some go for a sense of adventure, etc etc. “Whatever makes you happy.” We’re all different, and trying to apply rules is kinda intrusive.
[The Hollywood meme that really bugs me is that divorced couples always end up remarrying. One True Love™ will always win out. Pah!]
Thank you!! Feminism is a sin where I come from. I find the term derogatory, there is no masculinism, is there? When a woman is strong and motivated, she is labeled and when a man is he’s just a “man’s man”
That’s a great point. There are some women using the term humanist, but my issue with that is, it denies that an inequality exists in the first place. Until both sexes are equal world wide, I will continue to use the word feminist. In North America there is a Men’s Rights movement that seems to exist for the purpose of bashing feminism. Using terms like “femicide” and praising men who murder strong women these groups are trying to take control back over women’s rights… especially reproductive rights.
You may have just inspired another blog, so I’ll stop here.
I recommend No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? as an all too rare example of a positive discussion of men’s sexism issues (ie, they talk about men’s issues instead of bashing feminists). I’m not a regular there myself, but the occasional piece I’ve been directed to has been good.
Remarkable post! Well done. Your link to “The Science of Love” is yet another profound example of wave theory, which I had commented on in your January 6 post, “Marriage is for Men.” To answer the questions you pose, I always like recommending what Joseph Campbell had to say: “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” I don’t think Campbell was up on wave theory, however, the bliss he refers to is nothing more than the hormones that dominate our daily lives. I would add: Screw all organized thought! Quit the templated thinking that infests — no, contaminates — our existence and happiness. Just go with whatever hormones nature serves up. In this way we’re at least true to ourselves, not the agenda of endless organized conspiracies out to exploit not just women but men, too. Again, a remarkable post. A mind that recognizes truth is a beautiful thing.
One of the interesting things about oxytocin, which is sometimes called the molecule responsible for our feelings of love, is that it causes us to feel love for anyone we have enough touch or sex with. However, that includes both people who are good for us, and people who are bad for us. Consequently, many people find themselves in love with people who are not the best people for them.
I consider myself a feminist, but if I were in a relationship with a woman, I would want to share the expenses at least equally — and I would have no problem with supporting her. That might seem to conflict with my feminism, but since when is it a law folks must be perfectly consistent.
Great blog post! A real thought-provoker.
All the movies above are still wrapped in the lame old gender roles that I can’t understand for some reason. It just won’t get into my head. Is a horrible, dependent life really for the sake of the children or because we can’t realize how each individual can strengthen themselves independently where sex, genetics and social status are just a starting point?
Anyway, each life is unique in it’s plan and the course it takes. We can’t really say there should be a guideline regarding why to get married and to whom. Everyone should do what works for them best.
Reblogged this on tastetherainbowbitches and commented:
Love this! We analyzed disney movies in my gender studies class last semester.
I think “gold digging” is only going for the money and being deceitful about the other aspects of the relationship, and that’s reprehensible.
Money is an important factor and shouldn’t be ignored when entering a relationship, it’s what most couples fight about.
We’re all whores to one degree or another. We have to “do it for the money”, that’s life. I work for money. I wouldn’t work if I didn’t need to, I have better things to do with my time.