Back when Identity magazine first started, we used to have a regular feature called Venus vs. Mars where we would basically present a topic from both a man and a woman’s perspective. The topics are usually things that affect our everyday life so much that we just have to talk about them. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re discussing Public Display of Affection, is it really an issue? Read on to know what Venus and Mars have to say about it.

Venus

In my opinion, public display of affection is like anything else in life, a personal choice. Of course, as an Egyptian woman, I am basically doomed for saying that in our society. Because for some reason, I am expected to be against it or pretend to be against it to fit the mold of the wholesome respectful girl that people and ‘traditions’ have created for me.

The thing about PDA or Public Display of Affection is that it has turned into this controversial thing for no reason. If a person happens to be affectionate so they choose to publicly display their emotions, that is their business, if they aren’t, also their business, period.

However, some people have created a stigma to judge other people for their harmless life choices. And to me, that raises an even bigger question; why? Why do the majority of people have a problem with others displaying their feelings? If two people are hugging each other, not you, why does that make you so uncomfortable?

Of course, when asked, people are quick to justify their actions by pinning it on religion, traditions, or customs. However, none of these things give anyone the right to judge someone else or control the way THEY choose to live their lives.

I think it goes back to the way most people, especially men, are brought up. Being force fed the stigma that men have to be emotionless robots, and that vulnerability equals weakness. This also has a psychological side to it. People who have trouble showing or even communicating with their own emotions, find it difficult to be around people who can, so they attack them.

The same people who turn the other cheek on shameful acts, like catcalling, sexual harassment, and domestic violence find it infuriating when two people hug or hold hands. To them, these simple acts of love are so enraging that they have to act against it by attacking the people doing it, verbally and sometimes even physically. If the reason really was religion or traditions, why don’t you use that chivalry to stop someone from grabbing me against my will instead of fighting with the person whose hand I am willingly holding?

As an affectionate person, I don’t consider PDA a breach of society’s rules . More importantly, I don’t feel the need to express my love for someone only in private, actually I think; expressing love in public has become more essential. If we all held back our emotions, the only things we’ll be left with in the streets are anger and hatred. Personally, I’d rather see love and friendship.

Mars

In a way, most men approach all things rationally. By rationality I mean hard, cold facts. Though this may not be the best approach, it is easier for our minds to comprehend. Public display of affection, in general, is either very easy to do or very hard to do for a man. As a man who experienced both ends of the spectrum, I daresay that this boils down to several aspects:

Sometimes We Just Have to Man Up!

Most men can grow up in a cold, stoical way. Most of us are raised to believe that boys don’t cry. You don’t talk about things; you just man up and get it over with. And honestly, I believe that works…if we’re at war or something!

In a way, affections can be confusing for a man. When all he can deal with is facts and banter with the gang, even the most progressive of men can find it daunting to have to become mushy for the sake of his partner. (I, myself, was in this dilemma before).

Emotional Range Differs

I know men who were okay with public display of emotions and they were comfortable with it. On the other hand, I know others who detested the notion altogether, considering it taboo or wrong. How comfortable your partner is with displaying affection in public can be a factor in this.

Society Can Have a Say, Whether We Like It or Not

By time, some of us understand that nothing makes you a lesser man other than doing things you don’t want to do. You want to make a grand gesture, go for it. You want to express your affection to your partner, by all means, go ahead!

But living in a society where a man literally attacked another man because his wife was laying her head on his shoulder on the bus isn’t a very pleasant one. We heard those who accused them of acting “indecently in public” and all the other nonsense that flooded our social media accounts.

We, men, bear in mind events like this. And quite frankly most of us won’t care what anyone says or does as we only care for the safety of our partner.

Society will always have a hold on how we act, even if it contradicts with what we believe or don’t believe in, whether we like it or not.

In 2018, someone’s freedom in making life choices should not still be a point of question. We are not saying everyone should be for PDA nor are we saying everyone should be against it. We are simply saying everyone should be able to decide for themselves how they want to live their lives and be able to exercise this well without people looking down on them, judging them or worse, attacking them.

“If we all held back our emotions, the only things we’ll be left with in the streets are anger and hatred.”