Attachment, fondness, or desire? Let us try looking at love from different perspectives. Let’s attempt to define love.
Graphic Image Credits: Aishwaryaa Kunwar for DU Beat
Graphic Image Caption: Definition of Love according to dictionaries.
In school years, love was a feeling when nothing else mattered. With no real experience to this point, it was often just an attraction. That one glance from someone you loved, had the capacity to make your day. Looking back at it as an adult, now, you may find it amusing. But you know how it felt back then. Growing up you realize that it can be more than just a feeling. You discover desires and expectations through one or many ‘real’ relationships. You might have mistaken the feeling of falling in love with the action of losing yourself to someone. As we grow old, we start defining the feeling according to our own convenience. We decide when it’s love and when it’s not.
Celebrated as the day of love and expression, Valentine’s Day, for the longest time was only about the cis-gender. It would ostracize different identities, pushing unnecessary gender norms. Of course, not anymore. Couples are now celebrated with more diversity across the spectrum. Female friendships and relationship independence are popularly celebrated as Galantine’s Day. Love is a choice, but alongside all the social emphasis on romantic and sexual relationships, we alienate the space for aromantic and asexual people – who don’t experience any such attraction. While we de-centre heteronormativity from our idea of what love should look like, we consider romance and sex as obligatory.
When it comes to ways that human beings can experience love, we forget the incredible amount of diversity that exists. Individuals who identify themselves as aromantic or asexual do not experience romantic or sexual affinity respectively. This is widely misunderstood, given the lack of media representation, ignorance of people, and invisibility from forums like sex education.
A Delhi University student on the assurance of anonymity, says, “My sister is apparently ‘woke’. She would often talk about being ‘out and proud’. But when I came out to her, I was told that I haven’t found the right person yet and that eventually, I would come around to the idea of sex and romance, of course, irrespective of gender.”
“So, what if I’m aromantic, I still get attracted to people if they look good or we share something in common – music or movies. It is rather platonic, she says.
Talking about platonic love, Priyanshi, a second-year media student, says, “As a third-grader, I remember wishing my teacher a Happy Valentine’s Day and she had scolded me. I thought about what was wrong with that; I just wished someone I loved. Instead, she asked me to not engage in any such nonsense.”
Love can be redefined as admiration towards someone may be because of common interests or emotional connection. People who get along have an understanding between themselves opening ways to the many facets of human experience. Why limit it to just attraction? All relationships and experience are worth celebrating.
Open your minds to accepting and creating new definitions of love. Do not let outdated tropes constrain your understanding of what love looks like.
Aishwaryaa Kunwar [email protected]