On Valentine's Day, Santander City Council would like you to ask yourself some hard questions about love, Source: Ayuntamiento de Santander

Santander City Council tackles harmful myths about romantic relationships

Santander City Council tackles harmful myths about romantic relationships

In a bid to have a healthier Valentine’s Day

“Without you, I’m nothing!” It sounds romantic and dramatically and affirmingly so, doesn’t it?

The concepts of love and relationships, however, are built and expressed around mottos and slogans that are often based on unrealistic expectations and can actually lead to conflicts and abuse down the line.

With this in mind, the City of Santander (Spain) has decided to start an awareness campaign aimed at changing the mindset around the validity of such slogans. This is no coincidence, either, as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so it is an opportune moment to raise a public debate about a subject many consider to only belong in the private sphere.

Affirming gender balance and power equality in personal relationships

The municipal campaign is based on six common phrases that people use when trying to express love to another. The thing about them, however, upon closer inspection is that they also reveal potentially toxic stereotypes and beliefs about the nature of romance.

Maintaining a good relationship is not easy. No one teaches us how to do it right. We have learned what love is from the movies, series, books and stories that we see around us, but how we have been taught to love…is it the ideal? Is jealousy normal? What if we stop to think for a moment about what we have learned.”

These were the points raised by Álvaro Lavín, the city´s Councilor for Equality. He presented the phrases and how they have been tweaked in order to make them healthier and more affirming.

Expressions like 'Love at first sight', 'He is the love of my life' or 'Without you, I am nothing' become the following messages: 'Attraction at first sight, but love is built day by day', ' I am the love of my life or ''Without me I am nothing'.

Phrases such as 'Those who fight desire each other', 'Love can handle everything' and 'Jealousy is the proof of love' become 'Those who desire each other avoid fights', ‘Self-love can overcome everything' and 'Jealousy is a show of low self-esteem'.

The campaign will continue after Valentine’s Day

Love can also be a bit toxic and harmful if we believe that we are incomplete without the other person, that life has no meaning when he/she is gone, that being the property of someone is comforting. “Each person must be independent and seek happiness in themselves and around them, not only in having a partner," stressed Councilor Lavín.

The six phrases can already be found on posters distributed throughout the city and a video has also been produced that is projected on the TUS (local public transport infrastructure) screens in order to raise awareness among the entire population, and especially among adolescents and young people.

Likewise, materials have been sent for distribution through institutes, social work units, civic centres, the Youth Office, health centres or the University itself.

The campaign will continue in view of the celebration of Women’s Day, 8 March, through the development of two guides, one aimed at ending inequality and the other at building healthy relationships.



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