And a Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too!
I’ve seen a couple versions of this message over the years in various places, and I hate it. It’s nothing but the typical behavior-policing misogyny that you see over and over again from conservative religious types.
To be clear, I believe in God – 100% convinced He exists and He loves us based on the various logical arguments, philosophical arguments, historical evidence, scientific evidence of various miracles, and the occasional clear-as-day perception of an overwhelming Presence from time to time.
But this type of post is not helpful. At all. If you’re convinced that God is real, the absolute WORST thing you can do is conjure up emotionally manipulative bullshit and slap God’s name on it. All you’re going to do with that is drive people away when they see it for the victim-blaming poison it is. Off the top of my head, here are the most obvious toxic messages embedded in this very short article:
- Fun-loving personalities are “desperate” and “attention-seeking.” Exhibit A: The stock photo used for this piece. With their modest clothes, tasteful makeup, joyful smiles, moderate portions of wine, and no men anywhere in sight – what exactly are those girls doing that could possibly be offensive? To anyone? Also, some people are naturally more flamboyant and attract more attention than others, and guess what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. How about we not insult them with derogatory terms, mmkay?
- Reasonable expectations are “begging for attention and affection.” Because we gals are just so needy, ya know? How about we stop pretending that there’s something wrong with people who need attention and affection from their loved ones? Yes I said people instead of women on purpose – because there are plenty of men who thrive on affection.
- If you experience completely normal feelings of loneliness, it’s your fault. Because God loves you. QED. If that doesn’t work to make your feelings of loneliness magically vanish, it just means you need to be beaten over the head with the Catechism a few more times. Hell, even the newly canonized St. Mother Teresa had some spiritual dry spells where she didn’t feel loved by God. So where do you people get off telling normal, non-canonized people that there’s something wrong with them for feeling the exact same way?
- Your needs for human interaction (which you were created with) are irrelevant. When you make a friend or start a relationship, be sure to consult your crystal ball ahead of time so you know whether or not the relationship will work. If it doesn’t yield a flat, emotion-free, passion-free courtship … err … I mean chaste of course … and end in marriage, it’s clearly your fault for “settling.” Emotional and social needs are a thing, and it’s very damaging to pretend they aren’t real.
- You think you know what you want, but you don’t. You need someone else to tell you what you really want because your feelings aren’t real. Not directly stated in this piece, but strongly implied with the references to your suffering, your free will, your unwise decision to “settle.” More explicitly stated by the female half of this couple, who in her pamphlet addressed to young women says, “You think you want sex, but you don’t; what you really want is love.” It’s very damaging to create or encourage a dissonance between your intellect and your desires this way.
So what’s the answer? I don’t have one, other than, “Sometimes life sucks and you can’t do anything about it. I’m sorry.” Once you confront the truth of this, you’ll have a better shot at where to go from there.