On the Monotony of Monogamy: are humans built for it?

It’s no secret, the subject of fidelity in relationships is a hot-button topic. Just a mere mention of even a fictional couple’s relational woes can cause heated discussions and arguments amongst anyone within earshot. While some argue that humans are eventually supposed to settle down with one partner, others argue that monogamy is an outdated fallacy that has never worked to begin with. Indeed, everyone has an opinion on this topic…but who is right?!

Stop, you’re both right…

Humans are a complex species. We exist as one, but are divided into sections based on a plethora of innate factoids and information. Religiously speaking, most Western religions promote 2-parent families with an emphasis on monogamy and many have taken this to be the only ‘right’ way to live their lives. On the flip side, religions that stem from other cultures (as well as some fringe, Western-born religions) promote a varied subset of this notion; often allowing only one partner (typically the male) to partake in extramarital sex, or even going so far as to encourage multiple brides and/or grooms.

That being said, it’s not far-fetched to infer that perhaps there is no wrong or right way to live your life…as long as it’s honest. That is to say, if 2,3,4 or more adults agree to live and share their lives in an intimate way, none but the named parties can possibly decide whether or not this arrangement is right for them.   According to a recent study conducted on the monogamy (or lack there of) of multiple mammalian species, ‘”I’m far from convinced that humans are really monogamous,” said Tim Clutton-Brock, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Cambridge.’ ~CNN.com Furthermore, there seems to be no rhyme of reason to the collected data from these studies: “‘When we looked at the data, it has this very weird shape,’ Wlodarski told Live Science.’Rather than it being a whole gamut of mating strategies, there seems to be two potential phenotypes within males and within females.'” ~lifescience.com

Though there are still no conclusive studies on this subject, most studies show that monogamy is a recent human convention that may have stemmed from hunting & gathering, financial issues, and a number of other social constructs. Thus, it seems as though the institution of marriage and its associated definitions will continue to evolve with the times.

In Conclusion…

The prevailing opinion seems to be that it is immoral to engage in any relationship besides a committed one between one man and one woman. Those who dare veer outside of this ideal are typically met with fierce criticism and opposition. However, with the decline of marriage rates amongst heterosexuals and the inclusion of homosexuals in the so-called ‘sanctity of marriage’ shows us first hand that times can and will change. In the future it seems that #DTR (defining the relationship) will eventually, solely be left up to the parties involved. Indeed, though we as a society feel the need to convene with those with similar lifestyles in the name of uniformity, it is also time to admit that forcing beliefs on others is an archaic practice that typically ends in massive, outright rebellion.

Venus L

Sources:Ghose Tia. “Both Monogamy and Polygamy May Be Natural for Humans.”LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 03 Feb. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2015. Landau, Elizabeth. “Monogamy: Who Needs It? – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, 30 June 2013. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.



Victim Blaming

Victim-Blaming Isn't Just a "Woman's Issue"

Recently, a San Francisco bartender was assaulted with a hammer by an Uber driver and woke up in the hospital. While this horrific event is adding to the discussion about the new tech transport companies that have sprung up in the past 2 or so years, there is another issue at hand here: Victim blaming.

The article I read discussed potential lawsuits and liability of the companies that hire these drivers, but what stayed with me were some of the comments on the story. The passenger used the UberX in San Francisco with friends, but remembered nothing of the evening or the ensuing trauma when he awoke in the hospital with his head bashed in. He risks losing an eye due to the attack. This struck me as such a randomly terrible event that I assumed most people would empathize with the victim. Surprisingly, however, I found that there were many people who didn’t.

Something happened to provoke the driver.

That bartender looks like a UFC fighter.

Sounds more like somebody had a genuine reason to plonk that big husky bartender on the head.

All of this victim-blaming and the accompanying language is exactly what rape victims experience when going public with their experiences. His strong appearance invalidates this assault because he looks tough and strong.

She was dressed like a slut. Why didn’t she protect herself?

He provoked the driver is equivalent to she was asking for it.

I will never understand people who automatically assume a victim (of any crime) is lying when there are no facts to prove such assumptions. So many people can’t possibly have personally experienced being wrongfully accused of a crime before. Therefore, I doubt the assumptions typically come from personal experience.

Knee-jerk reactions that question the victim are not only harmful to the victims, but to our society as well. After all, where is the incentive to stop hurting people when society automatically sides with the perpetrator?



Micaela Gardner

"Aging Gracefully" ≠ Never Changing


There is something wrong with the way we look at women aging. On a feminist website, there’s an article titled “Meryl Streep, 1979 and Now, Same Dress.”

My first thought was “I love Meryl Streep! She’s so talented and classy and…” Then, I did a double take. The only line in the “story” besides the two pictures of her in the dress was “She is gorgeous!”

Look, I love Meryl Streep. She’s considered one of the most talented actors of all time. My problem has nothing to do with her. The problem lies in the idea that women should be able to fit in dresses worn over 30 years ago, and feel comfortable.

This isn’t a new idea. Many women have dreams of fitting in their wedding dresses for their 10th+ wedding anniversary. Such absurdly high standards have been internalized by our society so deeply that we don’t ordinarily question them.

Besides the issue of weight, which wearing the same dress is indicative of maintaining, there is also the concept of women not otherwise aging. We expect our celebrities to remain stuck in a time capsule. Yet, when they get plastic surgery there are scolding articles written. If they don’t choose to get plastic surgery there are different scolding articles written.

Essentially, it is a losing battle because women will always be seen, first and foremost, as visually appealing ornaments. Even in the case of one of the most renowned actors of all time, whose beauty is not the reason behind her fame, but exists nonetheless. Recently, a pro-women website decides that the most amazing aspect of her personhood is the fact that she can still wear a 35-year-old dress.

Greatness comes from pure talent, not a dress size. Meryl Streep is an amazing woman. But not because of her dress size.



Micaela Gardner

Love or Lust

Love or Lust: The Irrefutable Difference


It’s no secret, we live in an over-sexualized society. Gone are the days in which modesty and mystique are considered commodities, and instead we’ve virtually replaced every conceivable trace of these traits with exhibitionism and the boldness of conceit. Is there any room left for true love?!

Save Room…

Of course, there’s still room for love! Though true stories of its existence are more scarce than virgins these days, it still lives, I assure you! On the flip side, in a world in which everyone seems to have a secret agenda, how do you know when you’ve finally found the real thing? It’s really quite simple…

Time and Attention!

You’ve heard the stories many times before: “happily” married couple barely spends time together on their anniversary. The kids are fed, the house is huge and spotless…but where is the love?! Love is disguised as time! Think about it…time is the only thing you can’t get back! We have a whole generation who are fixated on this notion for this very reason. We often pay much more for things if they save us even the tiniest bit of time. It can’t be faked or changed, time just is! It’s no wonder that many couples come together or fall apart depending on the amount of time they spend with one another.

Busy Bees…

We live in a culture that takes pride in being too busy for most everything. “No time to sit and eat, there’s a game on!” or “No time to help others, I need help myself!” You have likely thought or said similar statements many times. Yet, does this mean there’s no time to love?! Absolutely not! This merely means that unless you love, there is no time…for anyone. I mean, there’s always something to do…even if it’s seemingly nothing to others.

So…the Difference is…??

Lust is superficial; which can be driven by aesthetics, financial/social status, or even as a means to boost one’s own esteem. It can last days, weeks, or years…but never make the mistake of believing that lust automatically turns into love after a certain amount of time. On the flip side, love is driven by your heart that is, the need to love, be loved, understood, empathized with, etc. When someone really loves you, they will always make time for you.

Sure, people get busy…but if Jay-Z and Beyonce can find time to spend with one another, please know that Joe Schmo, who works at the deli, can find time as well. Not to be seen with you, or to spend your money, or explore your body…but because they want to be with you! When you’re in love, you can sit in the park, hospital, living room…wherever, and you’ll always be happy! Not checking your watch or messages every two minutes (unless of course you’re a doctor), simply being present in the moment. Hanging on to this person’s every word and gesture because at that moment nothing else matters…

The Bottom Line

There are no hard and fast rules in relationships these days. Indeed, most are fictitious connections that are over before beginning. People make time for whatever they wish; time for sex, money, and other things that benefit them. However, will they listen to your troubles, help with your dreams, and assist you in planning for the future?? If not…they are likely only planning to be around until the present (namely, you!) no longer suits them.

Venus L

Real Manic Pixie Dream Girls of LA

Real Manic Pixie Dream Girls of LA


In TV and in film, the stock character of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” has gained popularity and thus become prevalent in Hollywood. The character is usually a young girl who is quirky and often artistic. She usually exists to pull the (male) protagonist out of his comfort zone and comparatively less exciting life, aiding in his character development. Zooey Deschanel is probably known as the actress who plays this role the most. Her frequent movie roles eventually turned into the part of Jess in New Girl, the Fox sitcom that premiered September 2011. Interestingly, the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” in this case, is, in fact, the protagonist, which is uncommon.

This archetype is more socially acceptable and has also become a real-life persona many female celebrities adopt. Deschanel is one actress who embodies these qualities, and so does Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence is a media darling because of her perceived realness and down-to-earth attitude. Unsurprisingly, this popularity has resulted in a backlash against the archetype, namely Lawrence.

Many people have accused Lawrence of being fake and manufacturing this persona in order to ingratiate herself with the public. Women like her are often accused of being attention-seeking or phony. Obviously, we will never know if her persona is genuine or not. What’s more, it doesn’t matter. The only person who knows is Lawrence. There is a problem here—it is always women who are accused of this behavior. Because a woman is beautiful, it is considered impossible that she might be vulnerable, or weird.

Celebrities are their own brands. People support them and buy their products based on who they are, and we may never really know these celebrities. Unless, you happen to be friends with one of them. Women have less “roles” to fill in life than men—Madonna Whore, “Gotta have it all” Liz Lemon type, etc. While ideally, these roles wouldn’t exist—no roles would, in fact, for anyone—at the very least, this “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” role has been added, and is one that encourages accepting her weirdness and not being ashamed. The role also has more dimensions than the previous ones mentioned. A case of life imitating art.

Girls are weird, too. It’s okay. Weirdness keeps life interesting and art, such as film, fresh and unexpected.

Micaela Gardner

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