EverydayFeminism.com would like you to know that healthy relationships come in all shapes and sizes. The image starts with a monogamous couple (albeit gender-neutral) and then depicts a variety of relationships including:
- Asexual (“We don’t have sex… but we sure enjoy cuddling!”)
- Mixed Sexual/Asexual (“She fills her sexual needs with other people.”)
- Open (“We also have romantic and sexual relationships with other people. That doesn’t make our love any less valid.”)
- Polyamarous (“We do have to take turns for who gets to sleep in the middle” / “Tonight it’s me! I’m going to get all the cuddles.”)
- BDSM / Kink (“Who’s a good boy?” / “ruff”)
- None (“I’m happy flying solo.”)
The one thing that all of these relationships have in common is that they are defined exclusively in terms of their utility to the voluntary participants. Once you accept that premise, the rest follows. If relationships exist for the pleasure, security, comfort, and fulfillment of the parties to the relationship, then any relationship that meets those needs is an equally valid relationship.
It’s a nice picture, but it’s leaving somebody out. This is a worldview for the privileged and the powerful. Not in terms of gender or sexuality or class distinctions, but in terms even more profound: adults vs. children. Children have no vote about the relationships they enter into. They get no say in the circumstances of their conception, nor do they have any influence over the environment in which they are raised. They are truly and completely powerless and vulnerable.
Because children are held hostage to the behavior of the adults who care for them, they will face the consequences–for good or ill–of how adults choose to manage their romantic lives. Regardless of how effective polyamorous, asexusl1, etc could be at providing a good home for children, that only works if children are in the picture to begin with. How can a theory of romantic / sexual relationship that doesn’t even admit to the existence of children possibly serve to protect their interests? It can’t.
As positive as it may attempt to be, what this image implies (but does not show), is a world where the needs of children come a definitive second to the adult pursuit of happiness.