Op-Ed: Romanticizing Isn’t Romantic

Senior Leah Pifer. Photo taken by Kylie Saxton.

Senior Leah Pifer. Photo taken by Kylie Saxton.

One thing I cannot stand in this world today is the way which teenage girls and young women romanticize marriage—love in general, really—and children. Not all women do this, of course, and young men do this to an extent as well, but the problem is primarily noticeable in the female sex. Why do they romanticize these relationships in such a way? Why does it seem as if marriage and a family will fix all of life’s problems? I get that family does provide solace for some, but ladies: is it really that realistic that you and your hot/caring husband or wife live together in a mansion with your cute kids and seven dogs? You may not be locked down and “wifed up” by 25, no matter what Twitter culture conveys.  

Aside from the impracticality of such thoughts, I think what bothers me most about this sort of mentality is the way in which it sets feminism back a bit. It is no longer the 1950’s; women do not belong to their husbands and do not only find enjoyment in the home. Women—like all people of different genders, races, ethnicities—deserve to find happiness within themselves; this new phase of the Women’s Movement has shown us exactly this. Whether it be through a career or something they find passion in, women are taking their lives into their own hands. There are so many smart, beautiful girls—speaking primarily to straight women, as this seems to be where the issue lies—out there who think that a boy will make their lives better. Well, he probably won’t. Most young boys are not that intelligent.   

I find it rather irritating that many fantasize about “finding the one” like it is the end-all-be-all. It may be because I wonder about a bigger question at times: can love conquer all? Eh. It is a rather nice thought, but sometimes we let the ones we love go, for various reasons—and things turn out better than they would have had we stayed with the notion that “love can fix this.” Maybe love can’t. Should we stay with those who treat us horribly just because we love them? Most young, feminist women would say absolutely not, and condemn the thought of staying with a significant other that either cheated on them or hurt them, yet it happens. I have noticed that, though many preach this sort of self-love, they may not follow it exactly as they would have thought. And that is okay—to an extent, of course. I can’t really imagine the difficulty of saying goodbye to someone you love so much, as I have never had to go through this experience, but does staying make things better? I suppose that what I am trying to say is that, though the love is there, the problems are as well. Those things that were laughable at first are now annoyances, and the issues once swept under the rug still linger. It is cynical, I know, but relationships take work—not just love. So why treat the phenomenon as if it is the only way to find fulfillment? Marriage and children don’t automatically make one happy—read any book or watch any movie ever, and you’ll see what I mean.

Not only so, but do people think that children will actually make things better? Oh dear. I definitely do not have kids, but I already know enough to know that I do not want to have them. I’m sure most who do love their children, but think of the happiness that could be achieved if they weren’t in your life (once again, this is not for those who already have children, but rather those with “baby fever”): you could go out at night, eat out, shop and make expensive purchases, travel, etc. The list of possibilities goes on and on. You can do all of these things with kids, sure, but it would really be better without them. They don’t fix every problem that you’ve ever had, that is a given. Yet young women seem to fantasize it as true. Once they have a great house with a husband and a couple of young ones, everything turns out perfectly. I don’t want to crush anyone’s dreams: these things might happen, of course. I’m not saying that there are young women out there who won’t find love, but I certainly am saying that that is not everything there is to life. I may contradict Shakespeare and others, but love is not some frozen time-stamp that is more powerful than anything to ever exist.

At the end of the day, it is up to the women in society today to change the culture that has been established somewhat recently, thanks to the phenomenon that is social media. While it is accurate that love and children are both great things—for those who desire them—they are certainly not everything there is to life, particularly for those who are young and may not be aware of all of the work that lies within relationships. I believe in love and its power, but I also believe in reality.