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What television has taught me about love

The funny thing about love is no matter who you are, how many relationships you’ve had or how close you are to your family, there’s always more you can learn. Love is a never-ending lesson. In this spirit I write to you, as a 19-year-old girl who has watched a lot of television, to share what I’ve learned — amateur to amateur. 

While, in my opinion, love languages don’t fully capture the boundlessness of what intimacy with another person can mean, I do think they’re a good place to start the conversation. They’ve certainly expanded how I interpret the different ways that caring for someone can manifest, so I thought I’d go language by language, show by show, to describe how my ideas about love have grown over the years.


Physical Touch — “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Physical touch has always easily fit into my understanding of love, as there often aren’t words to describe the feeling of wanting to comfort someone or show them you’re there for them. Yet what I didn’t understand until I watched “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the extent to which physical touch can palpably define the way our lives feel.

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, is the story of a fundamentalist Christian society dictated by strict rules — particularly for women — and the notion that someone is always watching you, should you slip up. Handmaids are under constant surveillance and in an environment that seems to be the furthest thing from love. Bearing children is methodically done, and any sort of love or kindness is something that sneaks through the system, not caused by it. Interestingly, it was precisely the way the system stripped away the protagonist June’s ability to be close to others — and be touched outside of a sexual context — that made

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