Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why intimate relationships matter

While I do not agree at all with most of those politicians who say they promote family values, I see validity in one of their points. The family is the backbone of society and how we treat and value families is a reflection of what we want our society to look like. For this reason, I tend to focus more on intimate relationships in my blog posts.

Think about it. How you treat your partner and how you expect them to treat you is a reflection of what kind of society you want to live in. Do you want a society directed toward complete equality? Or are you more of a fan of equity (equal in worth and dignity but geared toward different roles)? What kind of family would you like to raise? What kind of community would you like to live in and help shape?

I find this true in my own life. I want a society that values women's place at work as much as at home and shows this through measures such as equal pay, maternity leave, and public support for breastfeeding. I want a society that values men's place in the home as much as at work and encourages this through measures like paternity leave and public support for fathers who choose to spend more time with their kids. I want a society that doesn't simply uphold suburban living as a method of raising good kids but upholds all types of communities, whether they be rural, urban, or suburban. I want a society that encourages community, whether or not it is comprised of a large extended family or simply like-minded folks who strive to help each other. I want a society that truly values families and supports this through supporting quality education, benefits for working poor families, and adequate leisure time for families to enjoy each other. So, why would I not expect this all from my partner?

Maybe I want to live in an urban setting. Maybe I want a good job that allows me to not only survive but to put money aside for things like vacations, my kids' college, etc. Maybe I want to only have two or three kids and focus my resources on raising them well, with opportunities I wasn't able to have growing up and that my parents could only imagine. Maybe I want my girls to see that they have potential and my boys to learn that girls are just as worthy of respect. Maybe I want a man in my life who respects me, who doesn't dismiss certain work as "women's work," and who understands that I will carry the full burden of pregnancy and breastfeeding, even if we split up other acts of child rearing fairly. Maybe I want a man who doesn't care if I make more money than he does and puts more emphasis on his character than on his dick. (Luckily enough, I'm currently with a kind, compassionate, pro-gender equality guy, but I don't want to say anything too soon if ya'll get my drift).

Personal is always political. My personal choices in life are a reflection of my worldview and my worldview is a reflection of my choices. Thus, I do think we need to consider the way we form and treat our own families as an extension of our politics. Families form society. If we want to change things, this is where we start.

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