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Think about your relationship memes…

Divorces Are HotSo my cousin, Denna reshared this meme on Facebook last night and it’s been weighing on my mind ever since. It features pictures of Halle Berry, Janet Jaclson, J-Lo and Kim Kardashian in lingerie with captions showing that each has been married three times and then a picture of David and Tamela Mann posing in their dining room and points out that they’ve been married for 25 years. Denna didn’t make it, so I don’t feel too bad about making fun of it. Not that I wouldn’t anyway. My cousin is a lovely and wonderful woman, but I’m just mean and this is what I do.

Anyway, I don’t think the message the mememaker is trying to make comes through here. Like I get what she’s TRYING to say; the original post even has a text caption that says “Maybe this will encourage some of you women that think you have to look a certain way to keep a man so I’m just gonna sit this right here!” But honestly that’s not the message i get from the image. Like without even resorting to my normal sarcastic miserable pessimistic self, the message I get from this isn’t “love god and be yourself and you can keep a man.” It’s more “get divorced a lot! It’ll keep you thin.” Nothing against David and Tamela Mann. I don’t know them personally but they’re good actors. But neither of them is known as a sex symbol. While on one hand, that’s the point of the meme. It’s trying to say that Tamela doesn’t have to be a thin and half naked to keep a man, because… I guess … because God likes BBWs? Except, since David is also overweight, instead of really being about body acceptance, it kind of sends the message that “if you’re fat, settle for someone else fat.” And that’s the nice way of putting it. The other not so nice way of looking at it is that “if you look good in your underwear you don’t need a man.”

Hugh-Jackman-Shirtless-St-Barts-His-20th-AnniversaryReally, there were probably better choices. Off the top of my head there’s Hugh Jackman and Deborah Lee-Furness. They’ve been married for twenty years. She’s 13 years older than he is and a little on the heavy side and he’s… Wolverine. I don’t know that they necessarily attribute their marriage to God, but I don’t actually know for sure that the Manns have ever said that either. Both of them are former Gospel singers, so I can assume they’re at least somewhat religious, but Jackman has talked at length about being a devout Christian as well. And it’s not like there’s any evidence that Berry, Jackson, Lopez or Kardashian being Pagans or Satanists or anything. For all I know, they’re all Christians. I know the Kardashian family is Catholic, or at least I know the members have mentioned having had a Catholic school education and at the very least the Jackson family is well established as being Jehovah’s Witnesses.

toni braxtonSo i don’t think it really has anything to do with God at all. The only thing “ungodly” about any of the women in that picture is that they happen to have penchant for posing in their underwear… and looking damn good doing it too, btw. They’re also women of color (giving Kim the benefit of the doubt for the purpose of this one). Of course, so is Toni Braxton, and she was a gospel singer too. And honestly, it’s hard for me picture Toni Braxton in my mind NOT half naked. In fact, I’ve been a fan of hers for over twenty years and I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen her with her clothes on. And she’s divorced. And on the male side, there’s also Prince, again, a devout Jehovah’s witness, who oozed sex so badly that it was hard to not accidentally get pregnant just watching a video — even as a guy. And he was married and divorced twice. And if we want white sex symbols too, there’s Jessica Simpson, a preacher’s daughter and abstinence until marriage advocate. Also fond of posing in her underwear. Also divorced.

Meagan Good and Devon FranklinSo at best, I guess the meme is trying to imply that being sexy means God hates your marriage. Especially if you’re black. Except then we have Meagan Good. It’s worth mentioning that I’m not a huge fan of hers. In fact, I literally only really know three things about her. She is a big advocate of remaining celibate until marriage, she is married to a preacher, and she likes to show off her cleavage… A LOT. They’ve only been married like four years, so who knows if it will last, but since he’s an active minister, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that at least in theory they think God is “into” their marriage.

(BTW, and honestly, nothing against religious people here… and again, I think I know what you’re going for… but I’ve heard people use that phrase several times before. And seriously saying that God is a into your marriage or a part of your marriage or the only thing that comes between you and your spouse is like LITERALLY the creepiest possible way you could put that sentiment. Seriously… like saying God blesses your marriage, fine. Saying God inspires your marriage. Ok. Saying “my wife and I love Jesus!” Wonderful. But phrasing it as though he is a third party that is actively involved and putting it in like the most sexual rhetoric possible, is WAY FUCKING CREEPY! And this is coming from who is a longtime advocate of polyamory. Just saying!)

Aria GiovanniIt’s certainly not uncommon for internet memes to be thoughtless and abupid; hell, I’d argue been thoughtless and stupid is kind of the point most of the time. This is pretty common with internet memes. It’s the memes that purport to be helpful or useful when they aren’t really all that well thought out are the ones I find problematic. A lot of times these are political… “so-and-so-candidate is basically a nazi because of this total misunderstanding of a nebulous comment they once made that is kind of out of context, but hey, I support the other guy so lets just go with it” (I am talking both democrats and republicans here). At least those are easy to disprove and who cares because they never change anyone’s mind anyway since the opposition is just posting the same basic memes about the other guy. And a lot of them are inspirational, like the ones that proudly proclaim that in today’s sizes Marilyn Monroe would be a size 16 despite no shortage of naked photographs and Hollywood costuming documentation showing that she was quite petite. And my absolute favorite is a picture that I constantly see going around the internet that is supposedly Time Magazine’s “perfect body” from 1955, but Snopes has long since debunked it and shown that it is actually porn a shot from 2005 of modern day porn star Aria Giovanni who wasn’t even born until 1977. Of course none of that matters. The memes keep coming back, because “I saw it on the internet and it must be true.”

UNCONDITIONAL-LOVE-IS-PUTTING-ANOTHER39S-HAPPINESS-BEFORE-YOUR-OWN-NO-MATTER-HOW-MUCH-IT-HURTS-meme-11740But I think “relationship advice” memes are the ones that bother me the most. They seem to prey on the most vulnerable and base emotions of people. People want to be loved and so they’ll believe any ridiculous thing that makes them feel like they’re in a warm and gushy romantic comedy from the 1950s. Most of them are just silly pointless quotes that make no sense “a real man loves a woman unconditionally” Umm, no that’s called being a stalker. My love has lots of conditions. Number one is that you love me back. Number two is don’t stab me. Number three is that you appreciate that I’m batshit crazy and will make long rant posts like this from time to time. Hell, “fuck me regularly” is probably number four… so all of those memes that imply that “sex shouldn’t matter a real man just wants to cuddle” memes are stupid too. Number five is that the toilet paper goes on the roll with the paper facing outward because we are civilized human beings and not fucking savages. If you don’t like it, that’s fine… you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship with me. Go find someone who doesn’t mind not having sex and is ok with you stabbing them.

12920523_1189019261117453_3596152070866607820_nBut a lot of these spread verifiably misleading information that no one ever checks into because they want to believe in some bullshit simplification of “real love like the old days” that never existed and is based solely on old TV shows and movies from the time period which was nothing like that except that regulations kept them from showing what the world is really like. The one that stands out in my head that I’ve seen making the rounds most recently is an elderly couple who are “quoted” (in so much as you can quote a couple of people who are clearly a from a stock photograph) as saying that they’ve survived 65 years of marriage because they “were born in a time, where if something was wrong you fixed it rather than throw it away.” This is supposed to sound lovely. It’s supposed to make you go “Awwww… that’s beautiful! I want that in my life!” This is the stupidest bullshit I’ve ever heard. First of all, it’s a lie. Let’s assume they’ve been married 65 years. Conservatively that makes them at least about 85 years old. That means they were born in the 1930s. They got married around 1950. That wonderful time of chaste romance and true love. Marriage was forever and no one got divorced! No! No No No No NO! They were NOT born in a time where people fixed problems. They were born in a time where people ignored problems.

2010-11-17-divorce_rate_over_timeFirst of all, the divorce rate is not really that high now compared to 1950. It is about twice as high as it was in 1930… which sounds bad… except the divorce rate in 1930 was just under two divorces per thousand people and the rate now is just under four. That’s IT! It’s really not that bad. And the reason it’s gone up at all isn’t so much that people are less caring or they try harder. It’s more that we let women get divorced before then. For the most part, before the 1970s, you had to show fault to get a divorce. And since women were much less likely to be earning an income in the mid-century, the prospects of getting one weren’t exactly great. Saving yourself for marriage also wasn’t as common as people like to think. Weddings are expensive and people like sex, so starting with the Great Depression in 1929, people basically started just shacking up a lot. And if you’ve ever heard stories about the raunchy times that servicemen were having on leave during once WWII started, just who do you think they were fucking? And when the war was over, their kids, the baby boomers were the first generation of youth to have widespread freedom because of access to cars. For HOVA’s sake, haven’t you people ever seen Happy Days or Back to the Future? Despite what your grandparents and great grandparents have told you, Grandpa and Grandma were hitting it regularly in the backseat of a T-Bird at lookout point. And once they were married, if things didn’t go so well, Grandpa just started fucking his secretary and Grandma just dealt with it. Not because she was trying to fix anything, but because it was the 50s and what the fuck else was she supposed to do. This was the era where if your wife got lippy about something like that it was your responsibility as a man to smack some sense into her. And if she had a problem with it, then she’d be out on the streets. So instead, keep your mouth shut, raise the kids and if you get bored then feel free to fuck the milkman from time to time.

So it isn’t so much that Halle, Janet, J-Lo and Kim are godless whores. It’s that they live in 2016 and they’re rich enough that they don’t have to put up with anyone’s bullshit.

The thing with the original meme is that it somehow just offends me on every possible level. Auspiciously, it’s pro-marriage, pro-body acceptance and pro-religion, and great, I guess. But in practice it does so not really by saying anything positive about marriage but by expressing shame to people to don’t exactly fit the exact mold that they meme maker happens to see as ideal. It is doing the exact thing that it probably feels like the “Hollywood image” of marriage is doing to them:

  • It shames people who have been married multiple times and tells them God thinks they did something wrong. Even if they’re currently happily married (as Jackson and Kardashian both are). As a matter of fact, my parents have been married two and three times respectively… and they both consider themselves Christians… Too bad, I hope they don’t mind burning in Hell.
  • It shames non-religious people by telling them their marriages are doomed.
  • It shames “sexy” people by claiming that if you’re thin (or sexy or like being half naked) God hates your marriage and oh yeah, you’re a whore! Go put on some clothes!
  • It shames both religious and fat people by implying they can’t be sexy. And they better not get divorced because you’re not likely to get another shot at this!

Really though, one of the biggest problems with it is that it’s anti-single people in general and really, anti-woman. Because the only way any of this makes senses at all is that the only thing that makes you worthwhile is finding and keeping a man. Look here are four hot women who can’t (even though two of them apparently can) and here’s one large woman who can… but mostly only because of God. And if you don’t see that that’s the most important thing… fuck you.

44 comments for “Think about your relationship memes…

  1. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    What would they say about two ‘devout’ atheists who have been married more than ten years? Of course, my wife is smokin’ hot.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      I’m not sure. Maybe you don’t exist? Or maybe the rules are reversed. If God is part of your relationship being hot is unnecessary and in fact hurts you. But since you’re godless heathens, she better be hot otherwise she’ll lose you?

  2. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    I am fairly skinny and also divorced, so I agree with your conclusion.

  3. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    At a bare minimum, do some kind of spell check when you write a meme.

  4. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    You’ve got it all wrong. This meme is about marraiges

  5. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Ok dear cousin, I can definitely say we both interpreted this very differently but hey, it’s a meme, not a fact, so individual interpretation is expected. (And like he said, it’s not my meme so sorry for the spelling) Now here is my take on it. First, I didn’t look at the size of the women at all. I guess because for me, size never mattered because whether I was a curvaceous 120lb woman or a plus size woman. I am still the same woman! What I took away from this was the fact that you don’t have to go and show your @$$ in order to get or keep a man. I wanted to show that beauty isn’t all it takes. All of these women are exceptionally beautiful and it shows that even they have marriage problems so it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you dress, you may or may not keep a man. And yes, finally, I wanted to show that God changes things. At least for me (thus my interpretation of the meme) God changed things. So yes, making Him part of my marriage made a difference for me. ?

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      So to answer things one at a time:

      Yeah, that’s why I specifically pointed out that you didn’t make it. I don’t think Stephanie or William are directing their teasing at you at all. Me and my friends are just all horrible mean spirited people. ?

      As to the meat of your interpretation, yes, I’m sure that the intention is is to say that “you don’t need to show skin to keep a man.” But they way the meme is constructed doesn’t really say that so much as slut shame the women who do show skin… And that’s unfair. For one thing, it assumes that “keeping a man” is their primary goal. For another, it implies that “showing skin” is somehow bad or damaging to do…. As though she shouldn’t be able to make that choice for herself.

      Now I certainly don’t know Janet, Halle, Kim or J-lo, but I do know a fair number of models who have posed in any number of various levels of sexiness and undress from fully clothed evening gowns to lingerie to nude. To just pull a bunch of names out of my ass for the sake of argument and see how real people might respond… I’m sure Heather, Sarah, Gail, Nirvana, Amanda, Gretchen, April, Lacy, Jennifer, Miaa, Josalynn, Kat, and Brittany (that ought to be enough… At least one of them will probably answer) would all say that “keeping a man” is not really on the list of “why they chose to do it” at all… In fact, my understanding is that it is as likely to cause relationship problems as anything.

      They’ll probably say they do it for themselves. And if they’ll likely all also think that insinuating that it’s somehow wrong to do so is slut shaming and not fair to them.

      As for the God thing… I have two points here. First, is that the presumption God doesn’t approve of the four divorcees’ relationships is insulting to them if they do consider themselves religious. I know, for instance, Jessica Alba has spoken frequently about feeling completely rejected by the church and falling into depression because she was told by her preacher as a teen that she was inviting unwanted attention by being too provocative and sinning despite the fact that she was a virgin until her 20s. Making someone devout feel as though Jesus doesn’t love them because they’re too sexy is wrong.

      And my other issue with it is that the way it is phrased is just…. CREEPY… And yeah, i know that’s probably controversial. Obviously people who read my stuff are predisposed to agree with me, and here a lot of them probably won’t… know lots of people who would say it exactly that way “God is in my marriage” but I find that phrasing creepy. I also would find “my mother is in my marriage” creepy and even “my children are in my marriage”. Approve of? Sure. Bless? Sure. Affect? Absolutely. In? CREEPY!

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      i mean, im asexual and prefer to be alone so it has nothing to do with keeping a man.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      *Sigh* got dammit. Ok, I could name you at least three individuals who are devoted to God over everything, and they not only have children out of wedlock but have posed in lingerie magazines or in one instant a nude magazine. Hell Jackie Chan has been in porn.
      I have come to find that memes like this are more of a ‘ I am doing right by my own moral standing” and thats it. I like showing my booty, cause it’s thick and luscious and beautiful. I won’t put it out there that girls that cover everything are bad for doing so. It’s a preference.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Miaa: Heh… that’s a very succinct way of putting it. I’m surprised you didn’t just say “I hate all people. I just like being hot!” 🙂

      Josalynn: Oh sure, I’m not trying to judge one way or the other. That was kinda my point.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Heck, my job is challenging with my relationship. My job sucks all of my social life. I don’t like going to bars because I work in one. I can’t stand most men most of the time. I don’t trust most people. Why bother going out? Wait. Wait for it. To top it off, I’m glad my husband still desires me, but I hate it when I feel he is treating me like the men at work treat me, an object.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Gail: So I guess in a way that’s sort of points to the (what I presume is the intended) point of the meme. That it actually makes it harder. But on the other hand, knowing you, I doubt you’d say it’s specifically because of the sexy nature. It’s the burnout. Like if you were a real estate agent and putting in say 60 hours a week you’d feel the same?

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      I would think that in any business a woman might feel this way, but the sexy nature of the business I’m in also makes it difficult. There are times when I want to tell my husband how my night was, but I can’t. He gets upset and jealous. I have zero outlet to talk about work, Facebook included, they check statuses.

      (For those who may want to know, I work as a stripper. I had to clarify this because it has to do with what I am about to say.) About a month ago while at work, when people ask me how I am, I tell them that I am horny. It’s part of my performance. I mentioned this to the hubby and he was furious. Not to mention, 5 minutes prior, he was telling me how this girl at his work was hanging all over him.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Got it. So certainly you’d not say that “taking your clothes off” makes you feel like it helps you “keep a man”

      And personally, I find the questions related to your personal feelings on why do it, why not, and the struggles inherent there (including but not limited to his jealousy) far more interesting than the way I (and as Denna pointed out not necessarily everyone) read the judgmental message of the meme itself.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      I would say that. I’m also a one time divorcee. The job I had at the time I left him was a hotel housekeeper. Any woman holding any job may or may not be able to keep man depending on the circumstances surrounding their relationship.

  6. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    I dislike the assumption that “keep a man” is thought as automatically the goal.

  7. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    So much to reeeeeead!!!’

  8. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Right there with Heather ?? but what I gathered is I do modeling because I’m good at it and I enjoy doing it. It’s not for anyone but myself and I could care less who wants to stick around because of it. If anything it makes my job easier to weed out fake people.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks. I figured you’d say as much…

      I just now thought of a rant you made quite a while back about the whole “she’d be pretty if it weren’t for all the tattoos” thing which I think sort of fits in here in a roundabout sort of way…

      And those people totally ignore how horribly repulsive the rest of you is. (I love you, Kat. 😛 )

  9. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I agree, there IS a lot to read! Lol

  10. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    I myself do not do nude modeling… BUT that changes absolutely nothing about how I feel about other women who do. Do I think that is makes a difference as to how their boyfriend will treat or view them as opposed to my boyfriend’s with me? No. Not in the slightest. I guy can just as easily cheat on me as they do them. Just due to the fact that a woman poses for art in nude or sexy attire, does not meant that they are easy. Promiscuous/cheaters. Sometimes, they may even be the most loyal woman that you will find due to being so secure in herself. But a woman such as me whonis actually a little shy about showing her body can also be the faithful one. Noe of these things determine whether a marriage will fail or thrive.

  11. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Agreed on all counts!

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      I’m trying to decide if you agree with my brilliance or just that it is long… I’m going to say with my brilliance because it makes me feel better and because you’re the one who said it was long in the first place.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Brilliance. 🙂

  12. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Wait, wait, wait! I never said modeling or being sexy is wrong. I modeled, what I said was, YOU DON’T have to do that to get or keep a man. If you want to dress sexy, go for it! If you want to pose nude, go for it. I don’t judge anyone, again it’s about NOT having to do it to attract men.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      I’m not saying you said it… I’m saying the meme implies it. That’s the key to my problem with it.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      Again, cuz,
      meme=individual interpretation! ?
      Have a good night!

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      My real thing here is that I don’t think it’s fair to imply that Tamela is more godly than Halle. Or that Halle necessarily cares about keeping a man in relation to taking her clothes off.

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      Well sure. It’s all about interpretation. That’s pretty much my entire blog. “Hey this is interesting. Let’s discuss this”

    • avatar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Ok, more discussion tomorrow but for tonight, I am off to bed. 5am will be here soon. Good night dear cousin. Love you, you mean @$$

  13. avatar
    June 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Also. I just noticed I said all the women in the meme were black. They’re not since Kim Kardashian is there. Oops.

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