BY: KEZIA ROYER-BURKETT
The internet and social media have opened doors that can never be closed and made the world into a global community. From a smartphone, I can watch a man in Ghana, the UK, Chicago, Los Angeles or my own city Toronto surprise, propose and marry his girlfriend in a fifty-eight-second video. I can watch the groom, and the groomsmen do a remarkable dance tribute to the bride, watch a wife surprise her husband with her pregnancy and watch the cutest couple gender reveal. I can do all of this while I sit in the comfort of my living room on my couch, daydreaming of all the special romantic moments I want to have one day. I have dated (gone on dates with, spent time with) some men, and I have noticed a similar pattern in the way men handle romance. I have noticed that some men are not that keen on our new global community and feel romantic Instagram videos are a misrepresentation of real life and set women up to have unrealistic expectations. I have heard plenty of men say that women believe that what they see on tv or social media is real and have unrealistic fantasy expectations for men. I would like to challenge this logic as it is a mindset that I feel breaths misogyny.
I dated this guy, and one day as we drove we were listening to some lover’s rock reggae, and I said that I always wanted a love like how it’s described in reggae songs. Or I wanted to marry a reggae artist and have him write, sing and perform beautiful reggae love songs that “I” inspired all over the world. It was my fantasy, I knew the likelihood of me marrying a reggae artist who would write love songs inspired by me was a reach, but so are some of the ladies bodies in men magazines, because that is how fantasies work. But the guy decided to tell me that I should never want to marry a reggae artist because they go on tour and cheat on their wives, instantly crushing my fantasy and annoying me slightly. I felt annoyed because the guy couldn’t fathom the idea of being so in love that it inspires a work of art, he just wanted me to be happy with the lack of romance he was offering me and subconsciously lowering my expectations.
Fast forward to last week, I’m out to lunch with a guy friend, and I’m on Instagram, and a video of a gender reveal proposal popped up on my timeline. I reveled in the romance of the video and showed it to my friend and shared how cute I thought it was, and there came the natural disdain I saw from other men. He went on to say; women specifically cannot differentiate that this moment posted on Instagram isn’t everyday life and I was astounded by the sexist comments that were coming out of my friend’s mouth. He said that women see these videos and expect a variation of this every day and that is unattainable and unrealistic. I asked him which women really thought that? I defended us women and told him that social media could be compared to anything in mainstream media.
I believe that the average human being has the understanding that life is not one dimensional but is multi-faceted. We understand what our individual everyday life looks like, but we women also have the expanded mental capacity to desire special moments among the mundane daily life. Many past boyfriends have told me that I want a tv, fantasy relationship and that my expectations are unrealistic. But the fact remains that real men are being romantic to their women and posting it for the world to see. I think men lower women’s expectations subconsciously by telling them that their wants are unrealistic. I think it’s silly for a man to think any women could work a full-time job, be a mom, and look like Kim Kardashian without a nanny, chef, or assistant.
In my opinion, I think the issue is less with social media, the internet, our growing global community or unrealistic expectations. The real problems stem from lack of vulnerable communication. Next week’s article will be about Vulnerable Communication. Has a partner ever lowered your expectations? Share your stories and questions about love and relationships to Kezia@carib101.com.