I found Laura Kipnis’s “Against Love” to take on an incredibly cynical tone. Kipnis describes modern love with scientific precision, which I found to be a little too cut-and-dry to really encapsulate the different approaches people take towards long-term companionship. She essentially reduces the social contract of “mature love” to an established and empirical set of observations that, in her opinion, prove love demands submission. She even refers to subjects as “mates,” a term that sounds very scientific, as though Kipnis is an outsider looking in, objectively parsing out the intricacies of this social practice from a distance.
In this sense, Kipnis jumps to many conclusions that may or may not necessarily be true—that “opening up” is automatically an “arcane” and “uncomfortable” experience, that an expression of needs necessarily means that a partner has already failed to meet them, and that loss of autonomy is inevitable (which may be true, but may not be an entirely negative experience). While I enjoyed the article and found its observations on the somewhat inexplicable social expectations of love to be witty and original, I don’t believe that modern love is simply the sum of these expectations—there’s a lot more to it than what Kipnis describes, and I don’t think we can turn against love simply because there are some acts of submission may be necessary to build a relationship.