#UnpopularOpinion: I’m Not Crazy About Emma Watson’s Euphemism, “Self-Partnered”•
For the last couple of days, my social feeds have been showing me several posts celebrating Emma Watson’s latest contribution to the world - the coinage of the term “self-partnered”. As Watson approaches the big 30, she seems to be thinking a lot about her relationship status.
In a recent interview, she said, “If you’ve not built a home, if you don’t have a husband, if you don’t have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out… There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.” Okay. Agreed. We are presented with a checklist with deadlines, and this expectation that by 30, all the things Watson listed above must be accomplished is real, and yes, anxiety-provoking. But, this is a classic example of expectations vs. reality. In reality, it’s a small percentage that has all the above ticked off.
But this endearing-in-a-cute-little-kid-kind-of-a-way woman didn’t stop at that. She went on to say something that seems to have triggered many of us: “It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered.” This hyphenated term that the actress probably just blurted out without much thought has found a place in the heart of the Internet. Many people are writing about how this is totally a term they can get behind.
To me, however, it sounded wrong. I tried to ignore it, telling myself that this is just one of those trending pieces on the Internet that will soon be forgotten, until I had dreadful visions of single people all over the world using #SelfPartnered while getting shit-faced on a weeknight with other single people. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting shit-faced in the middle of the week - it’s just that it’s not only for single people. It actually makes for a great date night for a busy couple!
And that pretty much sums up why I find this term problematic. It irked me that one’s single status was used to appropriate self-love. What does being self-partnered mean anyway? Since Emma dearest didn’t quite explain it, I’m assuming it means taking care of oneself, loving oneself, support one’s dreams, pampering oneself, listening to one’s own needs and doing something about it, and finally, enjoying one’s own company. The thing is - all of these should be goals for every individual, regardless of whether they are unattached, or in a committed relationship, or casually dating, or married, or polyamorous, or asexual, or whatever the f$%k. Not having a partner is not a mandate for being one’s own ally. So, as someone in a committed relationship, who is equally committed to looking after herself, I felt isolated from this movement of being “self-partnered”. I mean, am I allowed to use the hashtag for a picture with my fiancé? Because having him in my life doesn’t make me love myself any less.
Not only this, the term also feels consolatory. Why is it so important to be partnered in the first place? Does the term really embrace singlehood? Honestly, it seems like the sentiment behind the term is that of offering solace to oneself: “I didn’t find a partner, so I’ll be my own.” It’s just wrong. Wrong on so many levels! We have to work the other way around when it comes to love, and for what it’s worth, all of us, no matter what age or stage we’re in, whether we’re in love or not, attached or sailing solo, divorced, happily married, uninterested in a relationship… all of us must always be “Self-Partnered”.
Image Source: Flickr
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