This dynamic—human desire repressed by social convention—ought to sound familiar: According to Against Love , public adultery scandals remain staples of American culture because adulterers are what all of us—restless, bored and numbed by the humdrum of our stable relationships—secretly wish to be. Adultery resuscitates flaccid souls and comatose libidos: For instance, love can be shared between an individual and his or her pet. It upsets me to think that modern romance has been damaged because of such standards.

Kipnis might assert that these people are unconsciously protesting the societal ideal of upward mobility. To be fair, I was warned: The structure of contemporary marriage, with its expectations of lifetime fidelity, belongs to the apparatus of state control. For the purposes of “Against Love,” she views legalized monogamy as a killjoy institution of the industrialized patriarchy, a dumbing and numbing of the human tropism toward pleasure. Will We Ever Catch a Break?

What she really cares about are social patterns.

Against Love: A Polemic, by Laura Kipnis

Although “Love” gets title billing, Kipnis’ real target is marriage, which she considers an antiquated, falsely sanctified institution that clashes with our desires, interests and even metabolism, yet escapes criticism. Kipnis devotes much of her book to the way that adultery, in the nineteen-nineties, burst out of the private sphere and into the political, creating a new political style, which she describes as spousal: And, as she observes, the high divorce rate does not even address those who stay married but remain deeply miserable.

Reading “Against Love,” I felt invigorated half the time and plunged into the deepest, most morose pit of self-pitying despair the rest of it — in other words, I felt as if I were in love. This site uses cookies. What if we all worked less and expected more – not only from our marriages or in private life, but in all senses – from our jobs, our politicians, our governments?


But marriage entails emotional stagnation and acquiescence in the face labirs constant disappointment. A lakra is designed to be the prose equivalent of a small explosive device placed under your E-Z-Boy lounger.

She points out that throughout history, the everlasting, dreamt-about love seems to be a misconception and unreliable. So she has a strategy for making believers of us: She believes modern love is reliant on domesticity, and thus, it is a power structure at play. You are commenting using your Google account. To be fair, Laborss was warned: People are too quick to jump into relationships and say those three foreboding words, and hence portray a mentality of not taking relationships seriously.

Societal norms propel the importance of being a part of higher classes and the upward mobility in llaura class hierarchy of American society. This is not a concept that can really be applied to relationships in general. Kipnis takes her argument one step further.

Even small protests against time-management are worth some attention, because screw around with time and, in fact, lbaors adulterating the very glue of orderly social existence.

laura kipnis loves labors essay

Who needs a policeman on every corner when we’re all so willing to police ourselves and those we love, and call it upholding our vows? Laura Kipnis is the author of Against Love: Then Kipnis limns a nightmare version of married life that, you have to kpinis, isn’t exactly wrong.

I ended it a little more disgruntled with the married state. By “marriage,” Kipnis means any long-term romantic partnership, labods, lesbian or straight.

The CEA Forum

The author takes a close look, not just at former president Bill Clinton, but the several many? Given the census data on divorce, Kipnis suggests, the reasonable thing to do would be to factor the likely demise of half of American marriages into policy decisions. Feel free to take a second to mull this over, or to make a quick call: However, I find that her apparent concept of a relationship is very singular and specific.


Just as the social norm of monogamy has caused the definition of love to contain monogamy for the majority of our society, the social norm of the value of hard work to achieve respect has caused the majority to accept upward mobility as a primary value without questioning why it is so important for them to achieve a higher status.

laura kipnis loves labors essay

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: A kind of younger, more libidinal Susan Sontag whose books and sentences combine Freud or Heidegger with down-to-earth jabs about faked orgasms or nose-hair etiquette, Kipnis blends journalistic pizazz and philosophical nerve though in a freewheeling style that sometimes leaves it to the reader to place premises, inferences and conclusions in logical order. If they’re lucky, they can clean it all up after the fact with a little self-knowledge via marital counseling all the better, in some cases, to start the cycle all over again ; if they’re unlucky, they end up in divorce court.

Against Love page 1 of 2. Kipnis is a feminist but a renegade one.

These are the people who succumb to the charms of a third party and who explain their behavior with phrases like “Something just happened to me! Conducted with imagination, the labor of this love might be so gratifying as to be indistinguishable from play.