Dear Hollywood: Marriage Isn't the Problem, You Are

Dear Hollywood,

I'm used to your dirty tricks and warped sense of reality by now, the way you suck people into your facade of glitz and glamour. I grew up watching my favorite Disney stars turn into animals with no sense of morality or decency, while you looked on and did nothing. I've watched kids who had a future resort to drugs, sex, alcohol, and lawlessness under your watch while all you did was lament "it's just a phase" and kept looking on, doing nothing. Your fame is the Holy Grail of America, the thing regular kids aspire to, but kill themselves trying to attain. Everything about you is glittering and dark and filthy. You are everybody who seeks you, gets lost in you, and stays stuck in your merry-go-round of recklessness and rehab.

You're an example, but you are the worst example.

This morning I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw Antonio Banderas' name pop up on the "trending" bar. I remember his fearless feats as Zorro and his paternal commitment to his family in the Spy Kids movies. Now I see that after 18 years of marriage, he and his real life wife are giving up on each other.

The headlines read as follows:
"Get more details on her split"
"sad to hear"
"another Hollywood couple bites the dust"
"they have separated"
"she filed, citing 'irreconcilable differences'"
"One of Hollywood's longest lasting marriages has come to an end"

In a week's time, you won't care anymore. The media won't care anymore. You'll all have gotten your kicks from the fact that a marriage three times shorter than the strongest marriages I have seen has ended. And then you'll say, "It's their life, not yours. It's none of your business. They can do what they want."

This is the garbage you feed us. Every single day, another Hollywood marriage dies with the epitaph "So sad, but now they're free and everyone can get on with their lives." Every single day, celebrities are saying, with no irony, "If traditional marriage is so great, then why is the divorce rate 50%, huh?" Every single day, kids are turning on the television and ingesting what to them has become a normal theme: if you don't like your spouse, you can kick them out. Easy. It doesn't matter how long you've been together. Your time together can be erased, ripped off like a Band-Aid. It doesn't matter if you do it by cheating or not. It's your life.

This is a message that is degrading and insulting, one that we are fed constantly. Traditional marriage isn't the problem with marriage, but the marriage rhetoric that gets a voice is, and as the loudest body of people in this country, Hollywood, you should be ashamed and disgusted at the things you are saying.

Your norm has become everybody else's norm. In one day, I can get the following messages from society:

"You're only beautiful if your body looks like Kate Upton's."
"You're perfect if you weigh 500 pounds."
"No man should tell you to smile or should demand anything from you. You're a woman, and that's insulting. You don't need men to do anything in life."
"If you don't like your relationship, just cheat. Go for what you want."
"Don't cheat, or you'll be treated like scum."
"Go out in the streets wearing whatever you want. It's your body and you should be proud of it."

Society tells me to fit a mold, or I'm worthless. Society tells me to break that mold, or I'm a coward. Society is so consumed with telling me to respect myself, focus on myself, do whatever my self would like, that they don't realize how important relationships are to me, time with other people is to me, how much those things define me just as much as I define me. I am nothing without the people in my life, and yet, everybody seems so consumed with eliminating them. That is more degrading to me than anything.

Hollywood tells me to strip away 18, 40, 20, or two years of my life as if they were wasted, as if another person can be blotted out of my existence at the snap of my fingers. Hollywood tells me that marriages are meaningless anyway, that they are boring and ensnaring, that once you reach that point where love changes from something loud and magical to something solid and quiet, there's no point in staying. Hollywood tells me to have no patience with my future spouse, to not work through things with him, to treat him like he's not worth that. Hollywood tells me that marriage is a problem and then has the gall to argue that if 50% or more spouses divorce in this country, it's obviously the fault of the institution.

It's not marriage, Hollywood, it's you. And I for one am sick of your lies.

No love,

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