DOES IT BOTHER YOU? Society tries to define ‘love’


Staff photo

DIBY columnists Isabelle Farina and Isabella DeRose, struggling to bear the overwhelming weight of modern love. If you’re not crying, are you REALLY in love?

Does It Bother You? is the Wire’s longstanding editorial column dedicated to reflecting, interrogating, poking and fuming at the trends and habits of modern life that bother us.

As someone with an obsessive admiration for music and lyrics, I find it amusing, yet intensely frustrating how such a vast majority of songs constantly aim to mimic the intricate roller coaster of emotions evoked from romantic relationships. Not only is society exposed to endless discussions of love through music, but we also search for the parameters of what defines love through television, rom-coms, novels, and sometimes, in desperate times, we even look to celebrity relationships. 

Whether it is simply enjoying a movie or singing to your favorite artist in the car, all of this exposure to the way other people experience love creates false perceptions about what love is and how it should make you feel. I find it similar to the way social media compels people to conform to what seems to be successful or attractive online; society is constantly trying to define love, which emanates expectations that people think they must meet in order to value the love they feel in their own lives. When in reality, there is no definition for love. There are no rules, no regulations, no restrictions. Every single person and every single relationship feels, interprets, and expresses love in totally unique ways. 

As a teenager doubling as a hopeless romantic, I am tirelessly bothered by the impact society’s definition of love has had on my definition of love. Don’t get me wrong I adore her and her music, but when Taylor Swift belts out that she is so infatuated with her significant other that it has her screaming, crying, and cursing his name, while I feel content with some subtle glances or a strong embrace, I wonder, does that mean I’m not in love? Or when I watch Jack literally die for Rose in the  “Titanic” it makes me question the extent to which I am loved. Love is supposed to be effortless. You are not supposed to question it, you’re just supposed to let it happen. Meanwhile, love has become yet another societal standard added to the list with explicit requirements, just like appearances or social class. 

Although it can be entertaining or fulfilling to feel love vicariously through different forms of media, excessive absorption of this content causes people to question and quantify their relationships because these depictions of love are staged or dramatized. I wish people would stop trying to define love, and just feel it. Some things don’t need explanations, and the tumultuous, yet rewarding emotions elicited by love should just be felt, not explained.