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< Back to question What defines the word "love"? Show more Show less

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No other subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

Love is a societal tool Show more Show less

Love is an artificial construct which oppresses women and reinforces the patriarchy.
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Love is oppressive

Love, as it exists under current social constructs, is an oppressive tool of the patriarchy.
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The Argument

The definitions of "success" in love are not the same for men and women. For men, society defines success in "love" as success on the sexual market and the ability to remain free from commitment for as long as possible. For women, success is defined by marital goals. This is likely because many of our definitions of love are tied to beauty, which is inherently linked to age in women. It is also linked to the established idea that women should marry "up". They should marry someone physically taller than them, older than them, more wealthy than them and with a higher social standing than them. The institutional arrangements surrounding love are designed to imprison women in dependent relationships, unfavourable legal contracts (like marriage) and ultimately leave them responsible for rearing children.[1] If women were to be released from the binds of the construct of love, they would be freer.

Counter arguments

The arguments outlined here are not directed at love in its purest form but the manifestation of love in society. They are rightly directed at marriage and dating culture, which are institutions of love but do not deal with what love is. Love by definition is not a tool of the patriarchy. Nor is it inherently oppressive. A unionists view of love may fall into this trap but many of the other definitions of love explored in this debate do not oppress female participants.


[P1] Love in its current social form is oppressive and imprisons women.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Love is not oppressive in every form, so is not oppressive by nature.



This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Feb 2020 at 10:00 UTC

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