Why we need to normalize platonic intimacy in the West
One thing that pleasantly surprised me when I moved from Canada to China was the platonic intimacy here. It refocused my perspective on how homophobia manifests in the West. Specifically Canada and the US, and how touch starved and lonely most people are as a result.
Somewhere along the way it was decided that closeness that didn’t lead to sex was not acceptable.
It’s hard to determine if this was the cause or result of our rape culture, but the outcome is the same. Everyone is held back until we normalize platonic intimacy.
A contributing factor to the lack of expressions of physical affection in a platonic way is homophobia. That’s not to say homophobia doesn’t exist in other parts of the world. Just that how it is expressed is different
Homophobia is inconvenient for heterosexuals, but can be fatal for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
For the record, there’s nothing wrong with any sexuality and if you’re heterosexual, there’s nothing wrong with someone mistaking your sexuality for anything other than straight. Taking offence implies that there’s something wrong with sexualities other than yours … and there isn’t.
The attitude of intimate relationships having to be straight and having to be sexual in nature is ignorant. This thinking leads to an unspoken assumption that any form of intimacy must be romantic.
It makes daily life for women more dangerous when they interact with men. This is what leads to women being murdered when they reject a man’s advances.
For men, they often feel they are not entitled to platonically intimate relationships with anyone other than their partner. This limits their opportunity to connect with others.
In countries where homosexuality is illegal, there is all the more reason to normalize platonic intimacy. Sadly, throughout most of the world sexuality is punishable by prison or death. And in many countries where sexuality isn’t criminalized, it is still used as a legal defense to justify murder.
The Next Step
It is worthwhile to note that everyone would benefit from more close, platonic relationships with the people in their lives. Normalizing platonic intimacy will literally save lives.
There are many countries in which we could safely normalize platonic intimacy. In those places we should make the effort to do so. The best way to create the culture we want is to lead by example.
Question of the Week
Should the internet be selectively censored?
Studies have proven that exposure to certain forms of online content leads to an increased likelihood to dehumanize a specific group of people or even commit violent acts against them. Two significant examples to point to are violent porn and hate crimes. What are your thoughts on online censorship for some types of content? Should censorship exist? If so, who controls it, and to what extent? Can we trust them to remain ethical with this control? If not, how do we justify the harm that comes to people as a result of a lack of censorship? Who would be most negatively impacted and why?
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