Conflicted Love - Oliver

Conflicted Love - Oliver - Conflicted Love Oliver, Kelly,...

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Unformatted text preview: Conflicted Love Oliver, Kelly, 1958- Hypatia, Volume 15, Number 3, Summer 2000, pp. 1-18 (Article) Published by Indiana University Press For additional information about this article Access Provided by Baylor University at 09/24/11 10:19PM GMT http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/hyp/summary/v015/15.3oliver.html Conflicted Love KELLY OLIVER Our stereotypes of maternity and paternity as manifest in the history of philosophy and psychoanalysis interfere with the ability to imagine loving relationships. The associations of maternity with antisocial nature and paternity with disembodied cul- ture are inadequate to set up primary love relationships. Analyzing the conflicts in these associations, I reformulate the maternal body as social and lawful, and I re- formulate the paternal function as embodied, which enables imagining our primary relationships as loving. CONFLICTED LOVE The popularity of self-help programs, various forms of therapy and counsel- ing, antidepressant drugs, and new age religions suggests a wide-spread search for meaning, acceptance, self-esteem, and ultimately, love. 1 Bookstores across the Western World have self-help sections filled with books discussing how to find love, how to maintain love, how to rekindle love, how to feel lovable, how to love yourself. 2 Why, as a society, are we haunted with feelings that we are unloved or unlovable? While the prevalence of domestic violence, neglect, and children living in poverty may contribute to the impossibility of imagin- ing love in contemporary culture, these traumas do not explain why so many children who have so-called normal childhoods and normal relations with their parents grow up to suffer from depression, melancholy, or anxiety. If de- pression is becoming the norm, perhaps it is time to investigate our fantasies of normality. In spite of the realities of multiple family formssingle-parent families, blended families, adopted children, lesbian parents, gay parents, communal familiesand the fact that the nuclear family with father as breadwinner and mother as homemaker is the minority, our cultural imaginary still revolves around the heterosexual two-parent family. That is still considered the norm Hypatia vol. 15, no. 3 (Summer 2000) by Kelly Oliver Hypatia 2 in our culture. My purpose in this essay is to investigate some of the conflicting presuppositions upon which the normalcy of the nuclear family is supposed. By pointing to conflicts at the heart of our stereotypes of maternity and paternity, I hope to challenge normal conceptions of the family. In addition, I argue that these norms actually undermine the possibility of imagining loving relation- ships. While theories in psychology and psychoanalysis may actually perpetuate the fantasies that give rise to emotional suffering, they do not cause them....
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Conflicted Love - Oliver - Conflicted Love Oliver, Kelly,...

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