The End of Romantic Misogyny, Thanks Internet
Our western culture has lead us to believe that women in monogamous relationships are superior, happier women, but as another sexual revolution rears its noble head; thoughts are changing. Not all women want to, or can, fit the mold of girlfriend or wife, that is why the transition of monogamy to free and open lifestyles is so significant. Authors Pantea Farvid and Virginia Baum help to sum up the negatives of institutional monogamy. Pointing out that the interests of men and capitalism are favored through feelings of possessiveness, jealousy, and exclusion, all conveniently disguised as “romance”. Women will no longer feel the need to justify their sexual desires and experiences with a committed romantic relationship. They can behave sexually and independently without the fear of the societal damnation that they have faced for centuries. Furthermore, through the aid of social media and dating services, the realization that sex and romance can be two different entities has come into view. The “techno-sexual” age has supplied women with the tools to liberate themselves from the romantic misogyny of monogamous relationships.
There is no reason why a long-term monogamous relationship cannot be healthy and supportive to a woman. Despite the possibility to be an equal partnership, societal restraints often create a power dynamic that gives authority to the man. Theories often attribute this phenomena to old-world ideals that view women as property to be transferred from father to husband through marriage. If they did not fall into one of those two scenarios they faced being slut-shamed and titled as promiscuous. These opinions are especially true within the realm of heterosexuality , women involved in LGBTQ relationships have their own forms of constriction but typically have less emphasis on monogamy. Farvid and Baum hit the nail on the head once more when they say “Marriage and, in more contemporary times, monogamy, have been constructed as the ideal way to have heterosexual relationships; the pinnacle of all heterosexual unions (Jackson and Scott, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Stelboum,1999) and the desired outcome of dating and relationships.” . Stevi Jackson and Sue Scott elaborate within their writing called “The Personal is still Political: Heterosexuality, Feminism, and Monogamy” the reason why some women abstain from monogamy. Having a full-on romantic partner can be burdensome, it includes loss of individual identity as one transitions from individual to half-of-a-couple. It also means having to integrate said partner into an already formed social life, meeting friends and family and “making it work”(Jackson, Scott). Some women prefer to reap the benefits of sexual activities without the hassle of a partnership.
The increased traffic found on social media and dating services has opened a floodgate of never before seen opportunities for women. For instance the prevalence of sex-orientated relationships has increased and the presence of slut-shaming is (slowly) becoming less pronounced (Garcia). Tinder is an application designed to match up local singles, and has coined the title as the “hookup app”. Women who desire a sexual partner and nothing more, can swipe through dozens of profiles in minutes and find a reasonable suitor; they are in control. Not only does increased use of Tinder lead to higher levels of casual sex; but sex positive websites, Tumblr pages, and YouTube channels, all encourage safe-sexual exploration and liberation.
This obsession with sex and sex positive content has lead to the success of internet oriented entities. For example, Laci Green is a famous YouTube personality , the mission statement found on her website gives some insight on what exactly she does, “Promote a comprehensive model of sex education using technology.” Times Magazine named her one of the “30 Most Influential People on the Internet” citing that “In an effort to provide a more approachable version of sex education, the YouTube star offers sisterly advice on everything from hookup culture to body positivity to BDSM.” Laci Green’s success can be attributed to the increased open-mindedness of newer generations and their fascination with the internet and even sex. Her fame is symbolic of the correlation between compulsory internet use and acceptance of alternatives to institutional monogamy.
According to a collaborated review found on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website, “…these encounters often transpire without any promise of, or desire for, a more traditional romantic relationship. A review of the literature suggests that these encounters are becoming increasingly normative among adolescents and young adults in North America, representing a marked shift in openness and acceptance of uncommitted sex. ” (Garcia). This transition is a powerful movement for the modern generation, and is akin to the sexual revolution of the “Swinging Sixties”. During that time, levels of acceptance on pre-marital sex went up, and during present times levels of acceptance on casual sex are rising. The cause of the sexual liberation and counter-culture of the 1960’s is attributed to many factors; one in particular is increased media. Television broadcasts made radical new ideas accessible to anyone in front of a TV screen. Our modern day situation mirrors this, anyone with a smart phone can watch a YouTube video about sex positivity or download Tinder and start swipin’.
As a result of societies added approval of casual sex, women are feeling more comfortable as sexual beings. Societal constructs have previously worked against those who lived outside of typical romantic scenarios, and this is especially true when dealing with discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community as well as individuals in the sex-industry. Through the internet and media, accessing testimonials of sex-workers, experiences of LGBTQ people, and even just the sexcapades of independent women, has worked to normalize alternatives to heterosexual monogamy. Even the popularity of the HBO hit, “Sex and the City” is a precursor to the attitudes towards woman and sex. Four independent women living in New York City, making ends meet, dating, having sex, and living their lives. All the central characters are women and their romantic partnerships vary throughout the show as much as Sarah Jessica Parker’s hairstyles do.
This movement away from the status-quo may be similar to movements seen in the past, but it is entirely new. The power of the internet is grandiose and impressive and has made many societal impacts. It affects Presidential elections, world relations, and yes, even complex thoughts on heterosexual monogamy. YouTube channels, dating apps, discussion forums, all help to include more than just one version of sex and romance. Inclusion is an important step in our progression as a forward-thinking society, and it could not be achieved without the help of the internet.