Friday, 29 June 2012

Romance and Love

Recently I have been reading Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch.  She has some interesting ideas on Love; genuine love can only occur between equals.  This I recognise and agree with it to a point; for a relationship to work there needs to be a basis of mutual respect and understanding, not adoration, obsession or pity.  One partner cannot feel superior or inferior to the other, it would undermine their entire romantic relationship.  

However, Greer expands upon this by saying: 
"If a person loves only one other person, and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow man, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism."
This  is where I begin to deviate from Greer; Helen Fisher believes that humans have evolved to develop long-term romantic relationships.  She came to this conclusion after studying brain scans of individuals in varying levels of love, some recently heartbroken and some married for quite significant portions of their life.  Fisher found that the love is a chemical reaction in the brain similar to that of taking drugs.  One could argue that this proves objectively the existence of love, but that would be another point entirely.  

My own opinion is romance does not mean that a woman, or indeed a man, has to subordinate their own personal desires outside of the established relationship.  Commitment to another individual, or group if that is your thing, does not mean subjugation.  In some cases this will happen and it is up to the individual to assess if this the case and take measures to correct it.  Love will always be a risk, but it's a risk worth taking.  

Romance and heterosexual love do not spell out the end of emancipation of women at the hands of men; your partner, if they are your partner in the truest sense of the word, should be able to support you make your own way in the world.

Faye Stone

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