Thursday, December 6, 2012

day 547: relationships are weird

Hey friends

Relationships are weird, don't you think?
I mean, relationships with friends and family are fantastic and yea, they get a little strained sometimes due to a variety of reasons, but those are bridges I like to have reinforced and checked up on at least monthly, if not daily. Plus, they do tend to be weird, sometimes. There are definitely people who I am friends with now that I wonder, would I have been friends with them years ago when I was in high school? College? And my relationship with my family is a little odd. I love them to death and I would do anything for them, but I don't really talk to them as often as I used to. I don't know why, it's just how life has become. I mean, I try to call and skype whenever I can, but chances are my internet is out or our timing is off or if my internet is on, the connection can be described as shitty at best.

But the weirdest relationships I can think of are the romantic ones, the significant others in our lives. Personally? I don't like them. I know it's probably because I've never really had a relationship. The ones I did have were terrible- timing, expectations, everything was just never right. The sad thing is, I like being with other people and my general nature, the need to make other people happy, has resulted in my being in relationships that are, at best, not good for me.

Still, I think I'm learning. I'm figuring out what I like, what I don't like, and how to actually talk about it. I've been reading a lot of articles on a topic that has recently been making more and more of a presence in the media these days- the concept of a rape culture.

The fact that "Don't get raped" is taught and "Don't rape" isn't discussed. I think at this moment in our history, it would be stupid to stop teaching how to not get raped. Unfortunately, that part of our culture still exists and we need to ensure that girls and boys know how to defend themselves. However, it is equally if not more ignorant of us not to teach and reinforce the message of "DO NOT RAPE."

This is a huge part of our culture that we look over. I asked my Sex ed (called "Pasos Adelante") class what the spanish word was for "rape" and they told me, "violaciĆ³n." The english homonym is, of course, violation. Rape is a violation. But I find this interesting because we grow up in a culture where rape culture is actually cultivated as something that, if it doesn't go as far as drugging someone and physical violence, is actually a romantic ideal- something that girls and boys should practice and expect.

You see it on television shows, the boy plying the girl with wine during a date, the boy pursuing a girl who has repeatedly told him no until she eventually gives in and says she loves him, the boy who hits the girl and the girl is told it's because he likes her, the girl who plays hard to get and teases and toys but never says yes until the boy throws himself into a passionate frenzy and the girl gives in to her actual desires.

This is ridiculous. All of these are forms of rape. No mean no.

And I know that I've played a part in this. I definitely liked the idea of being pursued, of a guy working hard to convince me that I should date him, of playing those stupid games that are always played between couples. I was told as a child by my teachers that the only reason a boy was bullying me was because he liked me. I have come to associate pain with pleasure and have accepted that I can't be loved by someone who is nice to me.

It's stupid. I've decided today, that I can't be a part of it anymore. I can't, as a responsible human being, condone a culture where I see girls and boys doing this to each other, a culture where nice boys finish last. I'm sick of it.

So yea... relationships are weird. But they're also things that we, especially my generation, which holds so much potential for the future, it's something that we need to start changing. The social interactions we have shape the way future relationships will be viewed. We need to start setting the examples.

I've seen girls as young as 12 tell me they love some guy who's 16 or 18 or 25, and that he has worked so hard to show her his love, that even though she knows she's young and her parents don't want them to be together, that he must be her soulmate.

What.

It blows my mind. For the rest of us, it seems to obvious. A 12 year old should not be sharing a bed with a 25 year old. That's pretty gross. But to these young girls who believe so much of what the media puts out there, what tv tells them, what the internet tells them, who don't know what their parents aren't communicating with them, who don't have the role models that most of us can turn to for help... it's a culture that is very dominant and if the world ends on dec. 21st, I sincerely hope that it's a social end to all these terrible problems our society needs to unite against.


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