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They went through difficult times since they met. They thought that they will never be able to express their love for each other. There were so many obstacles against their love. Yet in the end, boy pursues girl and they lived happily every after. So goes the basic plot of a number of love stories. Although they are exaggerated at times, we can gain a lot of insights about human interactions and motivations from the movies that we watch. Good movies can make us cry, laugh and in the end gain valuable insight about the human drama. Sometimes, as a result of watching a good movie, we develop insights that help us deal with our particular situations and dilemmas. By engaging in the analysis of the interactions and motivations of individuals, we are engaging in social psychology (Schellenberg, 1970).One of the most universal topics in literature and in movies is love. Love can be considered as an emotion and with it comes feelings and experiences of affection and unity with the object of love. It is deeper than simple liking. The longing for love, however, is not only confined in the movies. People in general want to be loved and express their love. We also hear and witness people who become depressed as a result of failing in love and losing the object of their love. Millions of poems have been written about it. Every week we hear a new love song over the radio and there seems to be no lack of movies about love. Yet, it is not easy to understand what love truly is. More than that, we do not have an idea how to measure love. What are the motivations that influence individuals to “fall” in love? Is it primarily a function of the norms and the culture of the society where an individual belongs to? This essay will seek to present a cursory understanding of love and seek to answer these questions. It will also look at several movies and will analyze the motivations of the characters of these movies and look at the influence of culture on the way that the characters in these movies fall in love.So, What is Love Really?According to Hatfield and Walster (1978), individuals who are passionately in love experience a variety of emotions, including happiness, calm, anxiety, panic, despair and euphoria among others. Pain and pleasure are felt alongside each other. Males and females are capable to love in equal passion. Men, however, tend to fall in love faster. Hatfield’s study also found out that passionate love exists in different cultures all over the world and bonds people together. The occurrence of love varies from culture to culture according to Jankowiak and Fischer (1991). That is why some anthropologists and social psychologists do not readily recognize it in some cultures because they do not know how to look for it.Romantic love is essentially a form of relationship since it involves interaction between two individuals. And every relationship is always situated in the context of relationships. The norms and conventions of the society also affect the way that individuals view romantic love. It also helps set their expectations from each other. The relationship is also influenced by the characteristics of the individuals who are involved. In a similar manner, the attitudes and behavior of the individual is also affected by the type of relationship that he or she has (Duck & Gilmour, 1986).Sex has also been considered as a necessary ingredient of romantic love. Several social psychologists proposed that there three stages of love. The first one is passionate love or physical attraction in other words. This stage appeals to the sexual instinct. The second stage is romantic love, which leads to the idealization of the object of one’s love. The last stage is conjugal or companionate love, in which trust and liking are already present (Murstein, 1988). Similarly, Regan (1998), through her study of American young adults, argued that sexual intention is integral in experiencing romantic love. She concedes, however, that desire for in sex may not be enough to point to the existence of romantic love in an individual. Other factors such as intimacy, tenderness and affection should also be present before individuals declare that they have “fallen in love.” On the other hand, Diamond (2004) argued that although sexual desire and romantic love are experienced together, they are different and separate experiences. Individuals may experience one without the other. Although Diamond used a biological-scientific, cultural differences may also play a part in the differences in treating romantic love and sexual desire separately.Sternberg (1986) proposed the triangular theory of love, which states that there are three different components of love in an interpersonal relationship: intimacy, passion and commitment. By looking at the presence or absence of these three scales, the different kinds of love can be recognized in individuals. Nonlove is the absence of all the three components of love. There is liking if intimacy is the only component present. Infatuated love happens when there is passion, but the other two components are absent. If commitment is the only one present, then that is empty love. Romantic love is the resulting love in the presence of passion and intimacy. Companionate love, on the other hand relies on the combination of intimacy and commitment. Fatuous love results from passion and commitment without the balancing role of intimacy. Lastly, consummate love refers to the presence of all three—passion, intimacy and commitment.Romantic Love in the Movies: “Love, Actually” & “Moments of Love”Two movies from two different cultures have been viewed and analyzed. Through this analysis, it will be seen that there is a difference in the way that eastern and western cultures view romantic love and relationship. We will see the characters of the movies—their motivations, goals and the way that they express their romantic love.“Love, Actually” presents several stories of various individuals. One of them is Colin, who failed to woo several English women and remained a virgin. He decided to travel to the United States in order to find his love. When he arrived there, several ladies fell for his accent and invited him to their house and bed. In the end, he went back to England with a girl that he loves. Through Colin, we can see that in cultivating romantic relationships, some individuals have the goals of having sexual satisfaction. Sexual desire is present even though there is little or no love involved. He also has a permissive attitude toward sex. Throughout the movie, it can be noted that men tend to engage in sexual behavior more than women. Moreover, men tend to look for sex early in the relationship, thus giving the impression that they are less interested in love than women are.Through the character of Mia, we see that she uses the bait of romantic relationship in order to gain resources and social status. Mia is the secretary of Harry, and she is attracted to her boss. She actively showed her attraction to Harry, although she knows that he is married. Because Harry was having his own issues, he welcomed the attention bestowed on him by Mia and decided to buy an expensive necklace for her. Naturally, this flirting with adultery brought friction to Harry’s family. In the end, however, Harry’s family stayed and picked him up at the airport. This could mean that although there is misunderstanding between Harry and his wife, they decided to stay together for the kids and in order to try to work their marriage out. This particular episode in the movie shows that men with power and status tend to attract romantic partners more, especially if women put emphasis on material gain and status.“Moments of Love “also portrays stories of several youth who are romantically linked with each other. Sing, an unemployed young man wanted to propose to Fong. Fong died, however, before he could find out who wrote the letter they found in the brick when he proposed. Sing, was not able to forget Fong. Sing’s love for Fong was initially companionate love because of the length of time that they have shared and the depth of the bonding they had. Yet when Fong died, he became crazy and his love became empty love, which means that the commitment is still there but the passion and intimacy are already gone.Based on a cursory glance of what has already been discussed, an initial comparison between Asian and western culture can be made. In Western cultures, romantic love tends to be an individual choice. An individual becomes immersed in the personality and love of the beloved to the extent that friends and family are forgotten for a time. In Asian culture, however, romantic love still has to take into account the wishes of family and sometimes other relatives as well. Arranged marriages still occur in several cultures.Another interesting point of comparison is the issue of having an affair and marital unfaithfulness. The story of Harry and Mia (in “Love, Actually”) and the student V and his handsome teacher, Mr. Yeung (“Moments of Love”). When Karen discovered about the affair that Harry was having with Mia, she was shocked. However, she confronted him boldly and told him how she felt. In the end, however, they decided to work it out and give their marriage a second chance. Mr. Yeung had an affair with V, his student, which led to her becoming pregnant. When V demanded that Mr. Yeung divorce his wife, he did not agree, but scolded her instead. To escape the shame and embarrassment that she will face, V decided to commit suicide. Through these characters, we can see that individuals from the West tend to be more independent and have a more confrontational and open attitude as illustrated by Karen. In Asian culture, on the other hand, there is a focus on interdependence and people tend to view themselves negatively, as was the case with the student V.Two pairs of characters can be put side by side to analyze their similarities and differences—Sam and Joanna; Tank and Strawberry.  Sam is secretly in love with Joanna, who was not aware of him. He tried to become a drummer in order to get closer to Joanna. Joanna still did not notice him, so when she was about to go back to the United States, Sam went to the airport to express his love for her. Tank and Strawberry, on the other hand, were colleagues in an insurance company and had to work together in order to achieve certain targets. They became in love with each other but they did not admit it. After some time, Tank was able to muster his courage to confess his love for Strawberry. The way that he said it, however, was still unclear so Strawberry had to ask him to clarify.ConclusionBased on the portrayal of the characters identified in the two movies, we can arrive at an understanding of individuals from western and Asian cultures differ in terms of their attitudes toward love and romantic relationships. These differences stem from differences in culture and norms in western and Asian societies.Individuals from western culture tend to be more active, independent and self-sufficient. They are defined by their personal characteristics and personal stands and convictions. As such, they do not hesitate to express what they feel, even if it means confronting another person and making them realize their mistakes. On the other hand, individuals from eastern or Asian culture tend to be more passive in a romantic relationship. They consider what other people say, especially their friends and family members. The decision or at least the views of the group has bearing on their personal stand and decision. Sometimes, they also hesitate to openly admit their feelings and attitudes. Membership in the group and the acceptance within that group tend to be more important than asserting what one really wants.No matter what the differences are in the expressions, attitudes and views toward love in various cultures, it cannot be denied that love is universal. The only difficulty lies in arriving at a concrete definition of what love is and how it should be treated and measured. In spite of the multiple facets and difficulties in understanding love, the advances in social psychology have made it possible to study various aspects of love. Since love is a part of human emotions, experiences and daily existence, there is a greater need to understand how it works. By studying love, the various attitudes, motivations, and goals various individuals attach to it, a better understanding of close personal relationships will be established. Not only that, expectations will be easier to set and perhaps several problems related to romantic relationships may be solved more easily.

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