nmadison.A4.140 - 1 Madison Nina Madison Professor Openshaw...

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1 Madison Nina Madison Professor Openshaw WRIT 140 10 November 2011 Transmutation of Love What is love? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, love is “a feeling or disposition of deep affection or fondness for someone.” Love has been perceived differently over time and has changed due to the social construction of the nature of affection. Anthony Giddens distinguishes the different types of love according to their societal implications during their particular time periods. In his book The Transformation of Intimacy, Giddens defines the transformation of romantic love to confluent love. Romantic love is dominated by emotional attachment rather than sexual endeavor, which was largely seen in the 19 th century when societal obligations motivated people to marry. Eventually, women were able to access a love motivated by a pure relationship, “where a social relation is entered into for its own sake” (Giddens 58). Unlike romantic love, confluent love is contingent on an equal level of intimacy and determined by sexual passion. This type of love is said to promote gender equality even though male dominance persists due to social influences. The history of love is important when considering today’s untraditional types of relationships, which is addressed by the New York Times Love Columns. Although the majority of Giddens’ understandings of love can be used to clarify the reflections of the Modern Love columnists especially in regards to gender differences, the authors do not fully endorse the “transmutation of romantic love.” The Modern Love columnists’ reflections of relationships consist of the qualities of confluent love: personal growth, equal give and take of pleasure, and sexual intimacy. In the
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2 past, societal expectations connected love and marriage, which caused intimacy and love to be associated with females. Women needed to marry “primarily as a refuge from economic individualism” (Giddens 57). The rise of divorce rates is evidence of confluent love because people began to engage in relationships for their own personal sake. The column “Want to Be My Boyfriend? Please Define,” is about the author, Marguerite Fields, and her many casual relationships with men in the modern hookup culture. She discusses with one of her lovers about how common divorce is. He talks about “divorced parents and how [he believes] marriage was nothing but a pragmatic financial venture” (Fields). Women no longer need men to secure themselves financially, which gives females the opportunity to strive for love in pure relationships rather than in marriage. Consequently, unlike amour passion, “means whereby prospective partners become attracted and then bound to one another,” the “projective identification” is not sustained in confluent love (Giddens 62). This is illustrated when another friend of Field’s explains his involvement in an open relationship as, “I don’t want her to be mine, and I don’t want to be anybody’s” (Fields). This highlights confluent love as not necessary
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2012 for the course WRIT 140 taught by Professor Alvandi during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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nmadison.A4.140 - 1 Madison Nina Madison Professor Openshaw...

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