Caring Doesn’t Have to Mean Sharing; how social networking is effecting relationships and feminism

I’ve never been a huge fan of PDA.  Don’t get me wrong, hand holding, cheek kissing, and casual arm draping doesn’t bother me in the slightest, in fact I think that all of that stuff is pretty darn cute.  But when those little displays of affection become full on sexual PDA, I don’t really have any patience for it.  When I walk around my school and see couples making out (or what my friends call it “face eating”) on vending machines, under benches and even in the bushes, not only do I feel violated, but I also lose respect for both of the lovebirds.  It’s not a personal thing; I don’t have anything against couples expressing themselves.  It’s more that when I see couples displaying these kinds of PDA, I don’t think that they’re doing it just for the sheer enjoyment.  It almost feels as if it’s a show to demonstrate to everything and everyone how into each other they are.

When I checked Facebook and saw endless amounts of lovey-dovey posts, a wave of recognition hit me.  Everywhere I clicked were more and more statuses, posts, pictures and other tons of technological mumbo jumbo all about these girl’s significant others, or how they described them, their “boos”, “babies” and even “my life”.  These girls could be songwriters for Taylor Swift guys, that’s how intense the statuses were.  And just like a Taylor Swift song, at first I thought the posts these girls were sharing were pretty cute; “Aw! That’s so sweet!”  But after awhile, I started feeling bad about myself.  Why didn’t someone love me like that? Am I not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to have someone that into me? What is wrong with me?! I’m not going to lie, for a while I was in a slump and I was totally down on myself.  But then I began to think about it.  Lots of thoughts ran through my head but these two were the most important.

1)    Why do we think that we need to have another person to “complete” us?

2)    If these couples are so happy and content, why do they feel that they must prove to everyone how great they are?

One of my favorite quotations sums up my feelings about this topic perfectly.  “The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.” –Neale Donald Walsch.  As young women, we shouldn’t believe that we need another person to complete us.  Not only does this idea support the belief that we are not strong enough or good enough on our own, but it also gives girls and young women the impression that unless they have a boyfriend or girlfriend they aren’t a whole person.  This idea also implies that girls with boyfriends or girlfriends are better then girls who are single.  Naturally, I related this to feminism.  By suggesting that women are incomplete without having a relationship, young women and girls in general, are being told that they aren’t enough on their own.

Are couples that are constantly talking, tweeting, posting, and woofing* about each other really as content as they seem?  As I looked at the dozen posts cluttering up on my newsfeed, I thought about my ideal relationship.  To me, a relationship is with two people who care about each other and respect each other equally.  The couple should be happy together, but be able to be independent and have their own life outside of the relationship.   As I read the numerous posts, I began to feel like the writers of them were trying to convince me of their undying love towards their “baby-boo”.  If those posts could talk, I imagine they would scream “LOOK AT US! WE ARE SO IN LOVE! REALLY! TELL ME HOW CUTE WE ARE! ACCEPT US! ACCEPT HIM! ACCEPT ME!”  The person who shared it might think that the post was cute and romantic, but when I read it, I felt as if they were begging me to validate their relationship and to accept them, to tell them that they are amazing.

I eventually decided that sharing isn’t always caring.  These posts supported the idea that as women, we need another person to “complete” us.  These posts also advocate that by sharing the inner most details of their relationship, the couple will get more out of it, feel better about it and that it would mean more because some of their friends liked it.  But I have to disagree with both of these ideas.

Coming back to my favorite quote, I don’t think a relationship has to be about becoming “complete”.  I believe that when your with the right person, it should be about both of you being blissful, not getting validation on your couple hood.  I believe that my peace of mind and happiness does not rely on another person or one anyone else’s approval.

I’m not against love, relationships, or affection, guys really and truly.  But I believe that I am a complete person on my own, that all of you are whole and complete on your own as well. I am confident that when we find love or even just a relationship, it should be about both of you being able to appreciate each other’s whole completeness.  Together, both of you will be two wholes, not two halves crushing together trying to prove that they are one, like two puzzle pieces that just don’t quite fit.

*Woof is a reference to the Office aka the best show ever

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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