You often hear one partner’s behavior or quirk cited as a “red flag” or a “sign” that he or she is not actually the “right person” for you. He forgot to get you a card for Valentine’s Day? That’s a sign that he isn’t thoughtful and deep down, doesn’t think you’re special. She gets prickly when you ask her about her career goals? That’s an indication that she’s terminally insecure. He cancels a date to finish a big project at the office? He clearly doesn’t put your relationship first. She can’t text you back in a timely manner? She’s definitely cheating on you.
We love this shit− this “relationship symbology”. We love picking out the flaws and momentary lapses in judgment and blowing them up into rules and reasons why this person will or will not be the “right” long-term mate. This is an epidemic in magazine culture, especially with women’s publications. Every other article and quiz strums at and ultimately feeds this tendency: How To Tell If He’s Really Committed! (He lets you leave a toothbrush at his place!) Is He Really Interested? 5 Ways He Says It Without Saying It (He uses emoticons when texting and emailing!) These purported cause-and-effect relationships are ludicrous, yet we consume them like Halloween candy and spend hours searching for and theorizing about them in our own lives.
Look, I am not saying there aren’t valid warning signs. Like if he tortures animals, or the only way she can enjoy sex is if you’re being beaten unconscious with a mace (and you’re not into that), or he refuses to meet your parents and always comes home with used condoms in his pockets, then you’re probably safe assuming that these are endemic problems that have wider and deeper implications. But when he forgets to water your plant when you go away for the weekend…? Maybe ease up on the fortune telling and don’t jump to the conclusion that he’ll forget your future children in the bathtub.
I am not above this domestic astrology, I admit. Many a time, especially during fights, I have grabbed on to something my significant other has done/said and thought, “This means we’re not meant to be together.” which completely ignores the fact that I don’t even believe that anyone is “meant” to be together! I fall into the trap. I look for these relationship omens, these harbingers of future joy or dissolution.
And I do it because I, like most of us, want to know the future. I want to know if someday he’s going to break my heart. I want to know if we’ll get married and be happy or get married and be miserable. I chase after these things as if they exist, already fulfilled, behind a veil somewhere that I can’t quite reach to sweep aside. But that’s totally wrong, isn’t it? Because I can’t know which of these things will happen because they can’t happen unless I do them. The answer is not “out there” somewhere; it’s being created moment by moment as I live my life.
I don’t need you to “tolerate” me. I don’t want you to merely put up with my presence. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is to be treated as a human being, that bigoted jingoism is not injected into every minute facet my life, that there remains at least the illusion of decency.
“White privilege is knowing that if the bomber turns out to be white, he or she will be viewed as an exception to an otherwise non-white rule, an aberration, an anomaly, and that he or she will be able to join the ranks of pantheon of white people who engage in (or have plotted) politically motivated violence meant to terrorize — and specifically to kill — but whose actions result in the assumption of absolutely nothing about white people generally, or white Christians in particular.
And white privilege is being able to know nothing about the crimes committed by most of the terrorists listed above — indeed, never to have so much as heard most of their names — let alone to make assumptions about the role that their racial or ethnic identity may have played in their crimes.”
“If you’ve never heard of the Gosnell story, it’s not because of a coverup by the liberal mainstream media. It’s probably because you failed to pay attention to the copiouscoverage among pro-choice and feministjournalists, as well as the big news organizations, when the news first broke in 2011. There would be something rich, if it weren’t so infuriating, about these (almost uniformly male, as it happens) reporters and commentators scrambling to break open this shocking untold story. You know, the one that was written about here, here and here, to name some disparate sources.
I can’t speak for big news organizations like CNN and the networks, but let’s think about this question another way: How often do such places devote their energies to covering the massive health disparities and poor outcomes that are wrought by our current system? How often are the travails of the women whose vulnerabilities Gosnell exploited — the poor, immigrants and otherwise marginalized people — given wall-to-wall, trial-level coverage? If you’re surprised that in the face of politicized stigma, lack of public funding or good information, and a morass of restrictive laws allegedly meant to protect women, the vacuum was filled by a monster — well, the most generous thing I can say is that you haven’t been paying attention.”