Scarlett Johansson on Monogamy

Staying on the subject of sex and relationships and messed up women, I have been forwarded this article on Scarlett Johansson in which she is quoted as saying:

I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work…And the fact that it is such work for so many people—for everyone—the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing. It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.

So anything that is hard work is unnatural? As the opening line in a Universal Loafer’s Charter this would take some beating but it’s clearly bollocks. Pretty much anything worth doing requires effort, including getting yourself fed.

Well, some have gotten animal about insisting that monogamy is unnatural, pointing to examples in the animal kingdom.

On that basis eating one’s own turds is also natural. Should we be more open to this? Finding lunch partners might be problematic following adoption of such practices, but with enough education and a few Supreme Court rulings these issues can be overcome.

On the other side of the argument, people have pointed to the health benefits of monogamy, such as … offering more emotional and mental stability and comfort. Emotional and mental stability can in turn have a range of health benefits…

Who knew?

The final answer may be that monogamy is both natural and unnatural. Natural for some. Unnatural for others.

Ultimately, what’s natural depends on the individual and what fits the individual. It’s better to know where people really stand and let them choose the situation that works best for them as long as they are not hurting others (e.g., having multiple partners without appropriate protection and precaution can hurt others).

Well, yes. But that’s the issue, isn’t it? I am quite happy for people to engage in the wonders of polyamory and shun monogamy if it makes them happy, but I am permitted to be skeptical about those who, for no apparent reason, doth protest too much in telling me how great it is. Taking Scarlett Johansson as an example, I would have held her comments in higher regard had she said them when she was 21 and looked like this:

Than having been twice divorced at 32 and looking like this:

True, she now has the wisdom of experience under her belt but cynics might think that, having fucked up two marriages and is now staring down the barrel of middle age and diminishing professional appeal, by declaring monogamy as unnatural she is looking to shift the blame for her own failings and, perhaps, launch a secondary career as an angry, bitter celebrity with a lesbian haircut turning up at wimmin’s marches denouncing The Patriarchy.

Look, I get marriage and monogamy isn’t for everybody, and perhaps it isn’t “natural”. And I am quite prepared to believe that there are plenty of well-adjusted, normal people who are perfectly happy who have chosen to live in an alternative manner. Good for them. But it remains the case, at least in my experience, that most people are happiest in a normal, functioning, monogamous relationship despite all the difficulties involved in maintaining one. The vast majority of people would find the idea of their loving partner sleeping with somebody else to be abhorrent, and the jealousy and anger will bubble up from something deep inside them that has very much been put there by nature and not social conditioning. If celebrities want to make statements denouncing monogamy and authors want to pen articles assuring everybody that shagging around doesn’t cause friction with their own partners, then fine. But the rest of us are entitled to point out that their advice is hardly a universal blueprint for personal happiness and question their motives for imparting it.


14 thoughts on “Scarlett Johansson on Monogamy

  1. She is 32.

    She may be an intelligent, widely read, thoughtful woman who has thought through her views. Or she may simply be parroting the fashionable views of her generation.

    If a politician stood up and said that marriage, involving a life long commitment between a man and a woman, was the basis for the family, and the family was the basic unit of a self-reliant society, would they be widely praised or ridiculed?

    Fifty years ago it would have been regarded as a self-evident truth and, even if many fell short, it was still the ideal.

    Ms Johannson’s views, and the generally sympathetic response they have generated, are just the symptom of how thoroughly marriage has been made subservient to every passing cause du jour.

  2. That poor wee lassy has never been the same since she made that weird movie set in a Transit Van around Scotland.

  3. Someone who tells you a monogamous relationship is a lot of hard work is making a loud statement that they are either terrible at selecting a suitable accomplice, are completely self-centered, or both.

  4. I suppose if you make tens of millions from dress-up and pretend, almost everything else seems a lot of work.

  5. Someone who tells you a monogamous relationship is a lot of hard work is making a loud statement that they are either terrible at selecting a suitable accomplice, are completely self-centred, or both.


  6. Scarlett used to be my celebrity free pass, but no longer. And I recently wrote that there is a direct correlation between women cutting their hair short as they get older and turning into man-hating feminist bitter nutbags. Just sayin.

  7. Might one conclude, from Scarlett Johansson’s remarks, that being an actress is definitely not hard work? Otherwise she’d have given it up long ago.

  8. Scarlett used to be my celebrity free pass, but no longer.

    Ah yeah, I did read your post on her. I should have acknowledged that.

  9. Human civilisation is not “natural” but personally I think we should keep trying.

    Indeed, and well put. The inverse is true for poverty: it is a natural state, but that doesn’t mean it is desirable.

  10. Someone who tells you a monogamous relationship is a lot of hard work is making a loud statement that they are either terrible at selecting a suitable accomplice, are completely self-centered, or both.

    As Mr Thompson says: that.

  11. Next time you take it upon you to discuss a person’s comments try to base your reasoning on firm grounds instead of bringing their age and looks into it. If you can’t even talk about her views without bringing her looks into it or implying that her reasoning must be a desperate attempt at remaining relevant because she is not “hot” anymore , don’t even bother talking about it. People like you are the reason women can’t freely express their opinions without being called either ugly or untalented or any number of adjectives that are used to diminish them. You can agree or disagree with what she says, but, for the love of all that’s holy, stop perpetuating the notion that a woman’s credibility relies on her looks.

  12. Soyel,

    Ordinarily I’d agree with you, but this is Scarlett Johansson we’re talking about here. She owes pretty much her entire career to her looks, and did particularly well financially when she appeared on the big screen wearing a sprayed-on body suit. I would also hazard a guess that she owes at least one of her marriages to her looks, or certainly the fame that her looks brought her.

    I think it’s therefore perfectly reasonable to speculate that the reason she is now joining feminist marches and vilifying monogamy is because her looks, and associated stardom, are starting to fade along with her marriage options. Other than her looks, what else does she have? She’s no great actress. We all know her because she was hot when she was younger, that’s it.

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