I had planned a series of essays related to articles appearing in Aquarius2012 over the last couple of weeks but it dawned on me that most of the issues I wanted to discuss and the reasons I wanted to discuss them were intimately related.  Over and over again I have seen articles debating issues that cannot be anything but personal to the individual, they are not issues for debate, they simply are and it is not society’s place to judge them.

It is well known that society abhors individuality.  Society likes us all to fit into ordered categories.  Society will exert pressure upon the individual to fit with societal norms.  The individual in turn will often act to suppress their individuality in order to be successful within society.  Everything we do is a product of the way society has moulded us but there are limits to the degree to which it is appropriate for society to try to control individuality or even to think it has a right to express an opinion.

Beauty for instance.  Is it sexier to be curvy or skinny?  The answer is obviously that both are sexy to different people.  Attraction is as unique to the beholder as the lived body is to it’s owner.  We are all unique and all sexy.  The issue of health in regard to body shape is an entirely different matter and needs to be divorced from issues of sexual attractiveness altogether.  We’ve made issue of fat and thin so emotive that issues of health get lost in the maelstrom and again of course what is healthy varies from person to person.  For some weight gain is as difficult as weight loss is for others and a matter for individuals and their health-care providers. 

The debate on gay marriage is also insane.  It is down to the individual entirely who they choose to commit to if they commit at all.  Those against argue that marriage is a convention and homosexuality is unconventional,  I would point out that homosexuality has existed since we were apes we just reached a point where society felt it had a right to judge.  It is argued that gay marriage is wrong because it’s none reproductive but so are an awful lot of heterosexual marriages and not always because the couple are unable and correct if I am wrong but humanity doesn’t appear to be struggling to populate the planet.  The most interesting argument I read was that by society is trying to sanitise and mainstream homosexuality and that gay marriage is somehow hurting a greater battle for liberty from such conventions as marriage but I would argue that liberty must allow people to choose to be conventional as much as they may be allowed to choose to be unconventional.  It is the most basic wish in love to receive promises and committments from the beloved, no principal can change what it is to be human.  Society has no right to intrude in the matters of the heart, it is intimate and individual and not open for discussion.

Adolescent sexuality is an area where society’s wrong headed interfering is probably making things worse.  Society creates gendered sexual identities which belie our lived experiences and create the balance of power in adolescent relationships before they even begin.  Males must be rampant, desperate for the physical and left without emotional education.  Girls are made at once passive and without power over their own sexuality while simultaneously being held accountable for the behaviour of men.  The foundations we provide our young are therefore problematic before they start and then we layer what should be a beautiful and fulfilling experience with guilt.  Young people will become sexual without society’s consent and the only right time to have sex is an individual wants to.  It is the most personal of acts. The only environment in which young people can develop healthily is one without judgement or pressure where they are taught to appreciate the ramifications and responsibilities of sex as well as the pleasures, one where they can learn respect for themselves and others without shame.  We all know that the scars and rewards of our early relationships can colour us forever, why would we want to make that any harder for our young people than it already is?

It is a big big world that we live in, full of hundreds of different individuals.  It is not time that society accepted that the individual alone has authority over the emotional and the intimate?  If we are honest is it not also time that we acknowledged that society has far more pressing issues at hand the our personal lives?

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