OPINION BY MAKAYLA BISHOP
There’s conjecture that an old-fashioned love letter is dead now that social media has taken over. But is it?
The teenage rom-com movie, To All the Boys I Loved Before came out last year. And while the film didn’t have the flick of a fountain quill, the march to the nearest post office and of course the long wait for the letter to arrive, it did feature the old-fashioned stereotype of a penning of a well-written love letter.
Maybe pouring out emotion through scratchy paper may be history but confessing someone’s love to another is still in the present and nowadays it is conveyed through social media. Some people believe communicating this was is safer – to send a message to a stranger hiding behind a phone screen rather than to court someone face-to-face.
On the University of the Sunshine Coast campus, love letters flow via the Facebook community page USC love letters. Students can anonymously express their affection for just about anything: that smoking guy in the stripy jumper, the edgy girl with the red hair. There is even a letter about love for the mashed potatoes in the Brasserie that comforts all stressful situations. Other students can comment and tag their friends, in the hope of being a catalyst for love.
It may be frowned upon by many, using these techniques to get a stranger’s attention. But they should not be too fast to sneer: Cupid’s arrow does seem to strike through online platforms. Maybe part of the reason for that is the fear of being accused of sexual harassment in getting up-close-and-personal rather than a computer screen away.
According to The Economist, one in four adolescent females between the age of 18-30, believe if a man invites them for a drink or even just compliments them on their looks it is always a form of sexual harassment. This took hold after the #metoo campaign in 2017, but is it truly sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome or inappropriate sexual behaviour physical or verbal.
This puts a dampener on the pursuit of love. There is the potential embarrassment from rejection to consider and now there’s the worry that asking someone to hang out might be considered an inappropriate sexual act. But don’t platonic friendships plan outings like coffee or dinner? Surely that is never seen as harassment.
Love letters will keep being sent around campus through the third-party site, neatly avoiding the anxiety of getting accused of sexual harassment. In the pursuit of love, people will always find a way.