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Project Three: Exploring stereotypes of love

Many Americans are attracted to love because of its many benefits like trust, compassion, and mutual understanding. Unfortunately, due to the depiction of love in popular culture, there is a stereotype of love that many people seek to recreate in their own lives without acknowledging the alternate ways love can manifest in a relationship. For example, The Notebook is a classic representation of stereotypical love that American culture continuously portrays. In the movie, Noah and Allie are desperately and passionately in love. Noah makes romantic grand gestures of love like writing her love letters and passionately kissing her in the rain, and Allie becomes infatuated with him. The Notebook, along with other movies of its expose viewers to this single image of love which results in so many viewers seeking a love similar to Noah and Allie. This deprivation ultimately limits one’s perspective of other possible forms of love.

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In the essays by Laura Kipnis, bell hooks, and Sarita James, each of the authors challenge the multiple assumptions about love that have been fabricated and perpetuated by society. While many seek a more stereotypical romantic love, these three authors present examples of love that stray away popular stereotypes in order to convey that love can prevail without corresponding with the common standards of a relationship.

Kipnis presents an alternative love to provide a counterexample of stereotypical monogamous love that is often desired. In “Against Love,” Kipnis critiques the masses for being fixated on love and devoting their time to seek its fleeting satisfaction. Additionally, she condemns monogamy for limiting individuals to rely on just one person to fulfil their needs. Kipnis provides an interview of a gay couple who have been together for thirty years to support her argument. They love each other but admit to seeing people outside of their relationship for recreation. They are the perfect example of a version of love that is not often represented or praised. While they have seen other people, they both have a mutual understating that having affairs for sexual release is acceptable and will not cause any harm to their relationship. This takes away the responsibility of just one person to fulfill needs of their partner which Kipnis doesn’t see as a feasible expectation. While popular depictions of love make monogamy seem like the only way to sustain a relationship, Kipnis argues that it is okay for outsiders to fulfill the needs of those in a relationship and that alternative, non monogamous forms of love can successfully exist.
Due to the influence of popular culture, some Americans have the expectation that it is necessary for a couple to forego individualism to be in a traditional relationship, yet hooks conveys that couples can maintain successful relationships while living very separate lives. Hooks essay, “Baba and Daddy Gus” shares that she is proponent of long term monogamy due to watching her grandparents remain in a relationship that lasted for more than seventy years. She explains her grandparents love as one that was strong, yet the way in which they vocally or physically expressed their love was not always as evident. She writes that they didn’t sleep together because Baba Gus despised Daddy’s odor of tobacco juice, but he didn’t complain because he didn’t mind having a bed to himself. Hooks mainly emphasizes that their spiritual connection contributed to success of their love and they didn’t need passion to prove their commitment to each other.

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Hooks writes “In their own way my grandparents were rebels, deeply committed to radical individualism.”( hooks, 375) They were able to build their romance around their own needs which isn’t always associated the traditional love. However, without affection or traditional tenderness, their love still had components of balance and understanding that were rooted in the respect they had for each other’s as individuals. In the portrayal of love that is most popular, many couples comprise and may even hide parts of themselves in order to make their relationship more in sync, yet hooks does not believe that those efforts are essential. Daddy Gus and Baba prove that individualism can still co exists with long term monogamy. They rejected conformity and lacked the physical connections that is mainly associated with love, yet those facts did not change their love. Their differences complemented each other and their spiritual connection ultimately outweighed their lack of surface level connections which made their relationship so long lasting.
James tries to convey that developing feelings for someone does not necessarily require stereotypical chemistry. Initially, in “Let Me Find My Own Husband” James resents her parents desire for her to marry her suitable boy and she has no interest in the suitable boy; however, James admits that she was attracted to him more once he proved he could adapt to her family’s antics. After a simple exchange of smiles at her graduation party, James is ready to marry him and he says he is ready to marry her. Later she begins to plan out their life together yet, she questions what is would be like to sleep together because even she recognizes that they barely know each other. Even with these doubts, she says“ I was ready and poised to fall in love.” (James,381) While, James was skeptical of the way that their relationship would turn out, she still feels ready to fall in love. Even though, they didn’t build a commonly accepted type of chemistry, James still felt strongly towards him. Her essay proves that love can manifest itself in unassuming ways even after lacking previous development in a relationship. In The Notebook, Noah and Allie have a love that builds gradually which makes the viewer see the progression of love as something natural and essential to establishing love. However James proves that attraction can be spontaneous and feelings can stem from simple acts and doesn’t have to be physical contrary to popular belief.
Ultimately, there are alternative forms of love that can develop that do not align with the broadly accepted stereotypes of relationships. Since being in love and seeking romance is a common theme in many popular shows and movies, it is challenging to avoid the stereotypes of love, but it is very important to understand the nuances that love has. It is equally as important to acknowledge the many ways that people within relationships create their own norms. Finally, one must be ready to face the multiple forms that love can take even if none of them conform to stereotypes. 

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Kipnis, Laura. “Against Love.” ReMix: Reading Composing Culture. By Catherine G. Latterell. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 362-70. Print.

Hooks, Bell. “Baba and Daddy Gus.” ReMix: Reading Composing Culture. By Catherine G. Latterell. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 372-77. Print.

James, Sarita. “Let Me Find My Own Husband.” ReMix: Reading Composing Culture. By Catherine G. Latterell. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 379-82. Print.

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Opposites Attract

In hooks’ story, she related this assumption to the unorthodox yet successful relationship of her grand parents. Opposites attract is a classic assumption that transcends to many love stories.  Whether it is a tale of forbidden love between stereotypical nerd and a popular jock or a reserved quiet girl falling for the class clown, opposites attracting is a popular plot in tv shows. In Gossip Girl, a teen drama series that examines the lives of students at an elite and exclusive prep school on the upper east side of Manhattan. The show exposes the heartbreaks, scandals, and mishaps that occur in their daily lives. Aside from the intriguing drama that kept viewers so attached to the show, there was a large aspect of romance which propelled the show’s success. One of my favorite parts of the show was the relationship between Serena and Dan who were two of main protagonists.

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Together, their love represented friendship, passion, and was a prime example of how opposites could attract. The two of them were a perfect example because they came from different worlds. Dan was from Brooklyn and lived in a humble apartment with his artsy dad. He tends to keep to himself and doesn’t associate with the rich and often superficial crowd that Serena is apart of. Serena is a socialite who is the most popular girl at school who lives in a penthouse apartment in Manhattan, She is bold, fashionable, and extremely wealthy. While they reside in separate parts of the city, they are able to form a relationship that no one would have accepted due to their personality and financial differences. They were attracted to each other because they both appreciated each other’s lifestyles. Dan was drawn to the glamour and elegance of Serena’s life and Serena was open to accommodating to Dan’s humble Chinese take out dinners.The two of them balanced each other because they gave each other a different perspective about life. They were able to overcome the differences of their social groups and learn to understand each other apart from the reputation they had. Opposites attract is such an appealing assumption because it inspires people to believe that they can have a relationship with someone who is otherwise very different from them. It makes love more interesting and potentially fated because of the many challenges that can arise from dating someone so different their partner. It also makes for a great star crossed love story.

Meeting Your Match

James’s resistance to the suitable boy causes tensions within her family because she won’t accept the ideal type of relationship that her parents are forcing upon her. Her parents made it evident that they wanted what they believed was best for their daughter even if that meant sacrificing her personal choice. Her parents made her weary of the dating scene by trying to convince her that it is full of men would marry her and then divorce her. Her parents made it seem like trial and error in relationships wasn’t worth her time and would never result in a “right” outcome. James’s experience with love is one that has little autonomy nor personal connection to the person that she is involved with.

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When her parents placed an ad for her in a major Indian newspaper, she realized how she could not allow her parents individual actions determine her romantic relationships. From my experience, my family has had little to no influence on choosing who I see mainly because I think they want me to figure out the types of qualities I value in a person. They have often offered some input but never have they actively tried to find a partner for me.

Hooks on Long Term Love

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Hooks essay shares she is proponent of long term monogamy due to watching her grandparents remain in a relationship that last for more than 70 years. She romanticizes her grandparents relationship even though it is very unorthodox type of love. She describes her grandparents as very opposite people. She says her grandfather Daddy Gus was quiet and calm presence while her grandmother was loud and fussy. They didn’t sleep in the same bed and they rarely showed affection towards each other but they managed to stay close even though they created separate spaces for each other. Hooks mainly emphasizes that spirit and energy that their relationship had which was advantageous to sustaining their bond. She shares that they created heat that was strong and fierce. Hooks asserts that they connected deeply on a spiritual level to the extent that they became a part of each other. Their differences complemented each other and their spiritual connection ultimately outweighed their physical connection which made their relationship so long lasting.

Let’s stick together?

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Kipling’s essay argues that society’s expectation for people to engage in monogamous relationships can actually result in relationships that lack passion or can be detrimental to individual freedom. She uses the importance of mutuality, communication, and advanced intimacy to argue how there are limits to love. She first critiques mutuality by challenging the assumption that love must be monogamous. While she acknowledges that a partner has needs that should be met by the other person in the relationship,yet she also suggests that a person can seek relationships outside of his own. She thinks that monogamy can be achieved, but she accepts the idea that people have needs that can be met by others partners outside of their own relationship. She uses the example of Steve and Chuck who have been together for thirty years, yet admit to being okay with each other having sex outside of the relationship. They both attested to their mutual understanding of needing sexual release; however, these acts never damaged the relationship. Kipling addresses communication as a key to mutuality. She argues that people need to know to how to listen not just hear. She states that is important to have a strong sense of understanding and compromise in a relationship without forgoing individual autonomy. She also explains how a relationship can be very restricting because one must always state what they are doing or where they are going. Also she states that you can’t watch certain shows or eat food that your partner dislikes. Her critique of individual freedom, or the lack thereof, shows how modern love have developed in a very limiting way that is ultimately detrimental to the overall success of a relationship.

Blinded by Love

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Source:http://sowwwhat.com/post/17601629585/14-most-romantic-valentines-ads

This first image is romantic because of the way the woman is holding onto the man.The image represents romance as something wild, spontaneous or even a little dangerous. The girl on the bike could easily get hurt if they got in a bike accident, yet the add makes the couple look like they are enjoying the wild side of love. The text on the poster reads that stupid listens to the heart which would make the audience feel that being stupid can correlate to being in love. It represents how people can do stupid things for love. The presumed audience is people in their mid to late twenties. The writers assume that their audience are still young enough to engage in activities like the one in the advertisement. They probably think that a photo like this will excite them or relate to experiences they have had with a significant other.

The second image represents love in a very dramatic way, yet it depicts a lot of passion. I think portrays love in fantasizing way as well because of the horses and the lush fields that the couple is going through. The presumed audience are older adults who are can not only afford Ralph Lauren, but are looking to engage in reckless activities than the audience who be attracted to the other advertisement. I think the writers assume that their audience want a more mature and sophisticated type of romance.

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Source:http://www.pranayogadunmore.com/ralph-lauren-ads-with-horses

I think these advertisements idealize the passion and excitement of love, yet they are both examples of behaviors that people don’t engage in on a daily basis. Since they aren’t regular activities, I think the ads make love seem like it has to be something out of the ordinary. If the advertisements had people walking on a street hand in hand or enjoying a dinner together, love would be represented in a much more attainable or average way. I think these examples could potentially make people search for a love like they see in these separate images when that isn’t always realistic.

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