Love and alienation

Issue section: 
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I very much enjoyed Sarah Bates’s insightful article on online dating (“Love me Tinder, love me true?”, January SR), and it’s very refreshing that a socialist magazine takes up such subjects on the borderline between the personal and the capitalist system we live in.

There are a couple of points however I tend to disagree with. Sarah writes “Tinder is a mirror held up to our society — one based on the buying and selling of love, sex and relationships as commodities.” But Tinder doesn’t actually sell relationships, it provides, at a price, a platform for people to meet up.

Also I would disagree with the concept of unpaid labour in the family, which suggests that all human activity is to the benefit of the capitalists. Lenin wanted to free women from the drudgery of family life not because the drudgery was unpaid, but because it cut women off from society. Reading Richard Yates’ novel Revolutionary Road reminds us of the sad state of family life even after the Second World War.

But today I would stress how much more independent women are to actively seek partners and not wait for the handsome prince. Tinder is as much an expression of this new found freedom as it is of alienation.

Alienation is a dialectical relation, not an end-of-the-road thing. We are continuously fighting to overcome it, in smaller and larger ways. Looking for love is part of the struggle.

David Paenson
Frankfurt, Germany