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Meg Barker's Redefining Relationship Rules Speech is Flexible

 - Dec 4, 2013
Meg Barker’s redefining relationship rules speech examines the contradictory messages that we receive through mainstream media and, more covertly, through social pressure. Barker posits that we are in a state of relationship confusion due to the decline of factors such as religion, community and job security. She argues that there is now a greater emphasis on romantic love to fulfill the void left by these discarded avenues. In some ways, love has become a new religion.

However, Barker notes that there is a tension between our longing for togetherness and the independent, individualistic values we're encouraged to strive for. In order to negotiate this tension, people adopt one of two responses: sticking to the hard and fast gendered rules of the 1950s, or attempting to create alternative rules. However, Barker cautions that developing new rules also runs the risk of fostering an equally rigid dependance.

Since the rules are often contradictory in and of themselves (for instance, we're told to look at the same person for both freedom and safety, for passion and everyday comfort,) Barker proposes that we abandon the rules in favor of a more relaxed approach the embraces uncertainty. By doing so, we can see what the rules have to offer and what their limitations are, ultimately evolving our responses within and towards relationships.