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About romance and politics


In her response to me (30.09), Hanne Kraugerud manages the rhetorical piece of art that is to present it as if it is the feminists by me, who have started the debate around love and equality. Kraugerud started this debate by highlighting Hollywood love as an ideal and warning against feminist equality ideals in the book "Give me your heart" and in the newspaper Klassekampen. In my answer to her in Ny Tid on September 24, I write why I believe that the focus on equality also in duality is a strength for those of us who want to make love work.

It is true that Kraugerud emphasizes the achievements of feminism and gender equality on the love front in a number of areas, as she quotes in her answer to me in Ny Tid on 30 September. Here we completely agree. The problem arises where Kraugerud ends the quote from his own book. Here she writes: «Does not the vision of the changes in the gender role pattern also have a flip side, a chin that revolves around the lack of romance, aesthetics, magic, gender differences and the past time? What about the traditional gender role patterns positive contributions to love? Are we really going to wind up the established and stereotyped, but also fascinating, ideas we have about Woman and Man, in favor of a general political vision? ”And here, Kraugerud and I probably answer differently. I am sure that combating traditional and heteronormative gender roles is important to make both men and women more free. And I'm not afraid it will threaten love.

Feminists have questioned by many of the prevailing ideals attached

to love and romance. This deconstruction of the concept of love has often been characterized as a threat to love itself. I believe it is an absolutely necessary project to combat domination and power structures both in private life and in society.

Does that mean that I put "general political vision" ahead of the romance, as Kraugerud writes? Not at all. The struggle against both heteronormative notions of Man and Woman and ancient patriarchal knight ideals is very concrete about how we live our lives. This is not about choosing between politics and romance, as Kraugerud writes in his response to me, but rejecting outdated romantic ideals.

Kraugerud writes in his reply to me that "muscular men and motherly women, knights and princesses, not only confirm problematic conventions, but also form part of our cultural history and self-understanding, and for many an important part of loving and living together". Now it is precisely the challenge of accustomed notions that is a very central part of feminism's project. After all, a large part of our self-understanding has a background in a time when the patriarchal structures were the mainstays of society, and I honestly see little reason to embrace them for cultural-historical reasons. And when Kraugerud writes that «On the one hand, love has an enormous amount to thank the sexual revolution for. Nevertheless, the question arises from time to time: How was it before, when the Woman waited shy, virgin and inexperienced to dance with the Man, was followed home in the rain, and peace to "- then I can see nothing but that the romantic notions she looks back on are based on the most inhibiting aspects of the traditional gender role patterns.

One point I will nevertheless give Kraugerud: The phrase "the happiest couples are also the most equal", from Fett's love number, is more filled with pathos than meaning. I will not claim to sit with the recipe for either happiness or true love, even if one sees that couples who share the responsibility for the children more equally, also like to stay together longer. But I am convinced that in the name of love, it is right to fight power structures and dominance in relationships and that fighting for more equality on the private front makes life easier for most of us. We can safely throw both saving knights and virgin women on the scrap yard – not least the heterosexual power story that love is about the Man and the Woman.

Marte Ericsson Ryste is responsible editor for the feminist journal Fett.

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