By Estela Casados
One of the strongest harvest dates on the market is approaching, “The day of love and friendship.” This February 14, friendship takes a backseat: marketing puts flowers, chocolate and a motel to patriarchal love. That which, for better and for worse, we call romantic love.
When I was in high school I had a friend who always looked at the date with horror. At 16 years old she was terrified of being without a romantic partner, that man who would be her complement and her better half. The idea of finding a person who is “the part we are missing”, the being that “complements us”, is older than that Fey song that we sang at the top of our lungs in the nineties of the last century.
Apparently, the myth of existential and romantic complementarity emerged around the year 416 BC. It is said that, in the middle of a banquet, the Athenian playwright Aristophanes constructed a myth that today is part of our emotions, desires and feelings, but about which we know little.
According to this character, the human race was very different from today, as it consisted of a round subject that had a pair of heads, hands and feet. Some had male and female genitalia, others had a pair of female genitalia. This primitive being also had only male genitalia.
They were strong individuals, of great vigor and such certainty that they were complete beings, that they constantly felt great pride and happiness. Their strength led them to conspire against the gods, so Zeus (father of gods and men) ordered Apollo to cut them in half, dividing them for eternity. With which they were condemned to look for each other again and again until they found each other, like soul mates.
Over time this story was adapted and seasoned in such a way that jealousy, beatings, psychological coercion and everyday machismo were part of the search for true love. “Whoever loves you well will make you suffer,” the popular Mexican proverb tells us. “Love without jealousy is not love,” he continues. Thus, it seems that we continue searching without knowing what or who it is that makes us happy, what makes us feel that we are loved people.
Feminist philosophical reflection always gives us clues and provides help when faced with these issues with no apparent solution that have us at a dead end. It must be clarified that their arguments are difficult to understand and even harder to put into practice: first love is oneself.
Do we need anyone else? We can be accomplices of our body, take care of our decisions and feel proud of our actions. Dedicate ourselves to ourselves, to being well, to review what makes us sick, to undertake projects, to stop and gain momentum. Review our mistakes, be self-critical, but not sadistic with our wrong actions. Trying to live needing ourselves so much that we do everything that allows us to be proud of ourselves.
Difficult. In addition to the system of romantic love that we have enjoyed since we were little, there is an economic system that impoverishes us and that ties millions of women down. Castrates his survival and his projects. Perhaps, if we begin the task of ensuring that those who love us well are ourselves, we will be able to walk in another direction and begin the construction of a culture of self-love.
*Coordinator of the University Observatory of Violence against Women. Veracruz University