The notion of “happily ever after” is one that’s been ingrained in many of us since childhood—meet someone, date, have the big white wedding, and your future is set. But why do we buy into this idea? Is love really all we need in life?
Author Laurie Essig invites us to flip our feelings about Romance on its head and see it for what it really is—an ideology that we desperately cling to as a way to cope with the fact that we cannot control or affect the societal, economic, and political structures around us. From climate change to nuclear war, white nationalism to the worship of wealth and conspicuous consumption—as the future becomes seemingly less secure, Americans turn away from the public sphere and find shelter in the private. And by doing so, Romance, Essig argues, blinds us to the real work that needs to be addressed—global movements that inspire a change in government policies to address economic and social inequality.
Laurie Essig is Professor and Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Middlebury College. She has written for a variety of publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Salon, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She blogs regularly for Ms. Magazine.