Love In Today’s Society
A key to understanding Sociology and the Social Sciences in general is
to evaluate subjects through time and compare and contrast characteristics that
have changed and those that have remained the same. For this assignment I have
elected to access three sources dealing with love; in three distinct time
periods in the modern era. First we will survey one of the first popular
mediums for the expression of love; that of poetry. I have chosen a poem by W.H.
Auden to represent the early portion of this century- specifically the 1930s and
1940s. I knew I had to include a song from my idol Jim Morrison. Not only is
he the perfect voice of the volatile sex revolution of the 1960s and 1970s; his
work captures the profile of a rock star who undoubtedly acquired his
domineering attitude from the endless worship of submissive women. Lastly we
enter the modern era with a article from my favorite magazine Men’s Health on
the mistakes a man must avoid in order to please his lover. As we shall see,
the increased freedom is very interesting in our first representation to the
last. My goal is to show how love has changed. I hope to show what is accepted
in our society today, compared with only several decades ago.
My sources run the gamut of ideas in the subject of love. I think
Auden’s poem is the best representation of what has been termed courtly love.
This seems logical, since this Romantic Era type of love was a pre-cursor to
what we know as modern love. The author takes the troubadour role in his
crooning style of praising his love’s qualities. He idealizes his mate and is
satisfied just being in the same room as she. There are not any ulterior motives
evident. Auden would be categorized as a heavenly lover, in that his love is
more lofty and sacred. There is definite contrast to this idealism though. In
his last lines the author, without reservation tells of his sorrow at his loss
of her to another.
Morrison’s Love Her Madly could almost be interpreted as a form of
limerance. He has this extreme fondness for his subject: Don’t ya love her
madly? Anyone who knows the story of Jim Morrison knows that the topic of love
and all that comes with it was an integral facet of his being. He is a good
example of love in the context of a super-star entertainer. Morrison’s songs,
and most others found in the entertainment world cannot compare with reality.
These people do not lead normal lives. Their depiction of such things as love
may even be accurate portrayals of their lives, but should not be taken to
represent society as a whole. Love was quite important to Morrison- provided
that he had it often and with different partners. One woman could never contain
his sexual urges. In this reality many sociological concepts are found.
Morrison cohabited with numerous women, mainly his life-long steady girlfriend
Pamela. Morrison’s male domineering attitude is evident in his line “Wanna be
her daddy.” While women were beginning to experience more equality during this
period, males were still seen as dominant.He does show signs of compassion
with his line: Don’t ya love her as she’s walking out the door. Like
she did one thousand times before. This shows that he was not as worried about
being a man as some may have thought. He lost his love once again and he is
not afraid to admit it. Even so, Morrison’s primary style of love was
definitely ludus. He had no reservations about playing the field. Pre-
marital sex was easily brushed aside by Morrison in this era when society was
more accepting of free love.
Our Men’s Health article is best understood by using the two gender’s
sexual scripts- or blueprints of our sexuality, to sort out society’s expected
roles. 50 Ways To Peeve Your Lover does a decent job of informing men of the
mistakes that women recognize in their sexual demeanor. Due to sexual scripts
themselves, there are many learned behaviors and attitudes that men possess that
they have always known as the best way. Men, due to the fact that they are
less open to criticism and less willing to express their feelings, they are
more subject to doing things the wrong way and never even realizing it. No-noes
like squeezing a woman’s breast because they think it turns her on, failing to
ask her questions during sex, not complementing her, and other forms of
improper etiquette may be what is holding back many couples from happier and
more successful relationships.
These three representations of love were all the norms in their time but
would be out of context if switched to another. People may appreciate Auden’s
simplicity and purity of loves’ demeanor, but it is safe to say that it would
not do very well in today’s’ society that urns for lust and sex over honest love.
Society wants to be entertained and taken to a fantasy world- one that is
different and more exciting than their own. In the early 20ieth century and
before I’m sure that people were satisfied reading a poem like this for the
simple fact that it was a depiction of their feelings at the time- but written
by a person that could write more eloquently than themselves. They were
entertained by such works because they captured their mood in words. As music
evolved with society along with it, the poet took on a new form of expression.
Music was perfect- it has often been thought of as sexual in nature. Words
along with music symbolized an era of increased freedom and experimentation as
the walls that portrayed sex as “a bad thing” began to crumble. Morrison’s
portrayal of loose standards of sex, while exaggerated for society in general,
are still accurate in that this was a more liberal time than previous decades.
Songs such as this made it more accepted for teens and other impressionable
youngsters both to have sex and see it in a kinder light.
Articles such as our Men’s Health example have become the norm in
today’s increasingly open and less moral society. While the church’s forbidding
of such an open discussion of sex was more adhered to in the past, people today
are more comfortable talking about this and other topics that they want to hear
about. We have already realized the myth that just because sex was not as
discussed back then did not mean that people refrained from talking about it and
doing it in secret. In fact, we know that ancient cultures such as those in
Italy had an even greater sex culture than we do today. Many will say that this
attitude is a better approach because it gets feelings out in the open, instead
of keeping them locked up inside. Thus people are more honest with each other
and can work their difficulties out before they explode.
It is definitely true that attitudes on love have changed in the last
decade. Social structures and norms have fluctuated and have influenced
people’s decisions in their own lives as well as their perceptions of others.
Many people would rather return to the innocent times of Auden where love
seemingly was true and carried no strings. There does seem to be a problem with
the increased fragmentation of society in regards to finding love today. Gone
are the days when you married your high school sweet-heart and lived happily
ever after. Increased mobility and the ease of travel has left love more
available and open. People need more help today from outside services like
dating hotlines and the help of marriage counselors and physchologists to sort
out their troubles. It follows though that society is more complex and
therefore better. Women have more rights and more say in society. There is no
doubt that females were exploited more in the past than today. While society’s
attitudes have changed over the years and will continue to change, one thing
remains the same: love is a driving force in our lives.