The Youth Industry and Romantic Love




 This post began life as a comment  on another blog.  Readers who are familiar with me may recall that this isn’t the first time I’ve been inspired by my own comments, while those who know me best can predict with certainty that it won’t be the last.

Some of you also know krikli01  and her blog The Two Thousands. She is a young Mexican woman who describes herself as:

” A (university) student getting prepared to face the oh-so-terrible world and struggling to keep her sanity intact in this epoch of war and madness. A person trying to add her 5 cents by writing and posting about the problems in Mexico, or giving an opinion of a certain event, hoping it will help somebody in the world and will help with the mass awakening we’re all living right now in the planet. Somebody who loves to write poetry and who loves her dear video games. A fan of ethereal music and movies like Amélie. That’s all you need to know.”

krikli01 also publishes a blog in Spanish, titled Los Segundos Milenario



 Last week, a post on The Two Thousands caught my eye, but not at first.

At first, Loving Wall Street at   might have been something I just skimmed over, upon discovering that krikil01 was angry at love. I might have clicked onward after she quoted gooey adolescent text messages she’d been reading ‘all her life’ –  all on the subject of love.

But that was only because I sometimes (not often) make disrespectful, generalized assumptions about young people.

Just for the record, this is something you should never do. You will always be wrong on one level or another, which means you will always be wrong. More importantly, it’s the wrong thing to do, period,  which of course I have always known – ever since (especially when) I was, well, young.

But whenever I’m certain that I’ve completely rejected the oppressive ideologies I’ve breathed in all my life, and am impatiently wondering  how the hell much longer it’s going to take most other people – it turns out that I haven’t.

Krikil01’s ringing voice  reminded me of that  as she went on to charge love with being a marketing trick,  a  monster, and a toy. She was actually refering  to the concept of love, which my advanced wisdom and superior age had missed.

Thank-you for your post, krikil01!  Here is my comment (again).



Your discomfort with love is a shrewd resistence to being sold a bill of goods. Each generation is increasingly exploited by a global economy’s drive to commodify youth – you are correct, it wants to appropriate you and sell you back to yourself.

No wonder you’re suspicious.

The truth is, you can’t believe a thing produced by the multi-billion dollar Youth Industry. Its relentless media presence continually reshapes the construct of a culture that idealizes the young, their bodies,and their sex lives – all of which are connected in numerous ways to the central ideal of romantic love.

But it is really a marketing campaign that hides this truth: young people are actually not respected or valued at all, and have very little power. In  fact, most are expendable from the perspective of a global economy that must eliminate the now-excessive populations it once exploited. It cannot permit the equity for which the tens of millions in those regions are desperately struggling without giving up a degree of wealth unimaginable and unknown to almost everyone else on earth. That elite’s choice, too horrifying to be acknowledged,  has nevertheless been clear for years: throughout Latin America, the Mideast, Africa, and Indonesia – just for starters.




America’s own poor,  a gigantic population suffering conditions generally unknown outside the country,  are almost equally as burdensome and obstructive as their foreign counterparts – and have been similarly and  very openly targeted.  Images of  youth empowered by a technology  with which it has a special relationship that has rendered older people obsolete is a perfect lie.  Old people with power  weild that technology to control and intrude into young people’s lives on levels unprecedented in human experience.

In any case, respect of a society for its young people is measured in terms of the investment it  makes in them as viable citizens, of the opportunity to participate as full economic and socio-political actors.It is expressed in education, health, safety,  neighborhoods, mobility, work, community, and self-esteem. Of course, the majority of the world’s societies have not been permitted to express this respect since the advent of colonialism, although it has most certainly  been there.


As for Youth Industries International, young beauty is not worshipped. It is exploited. Young bodies are most profitable when images of casual sex are combined with a reckless exposure to danger. Spring Break is both dangerous and a globally exported illusion of collective leisure, affluence, and education that simply does not reflect the lives of the  majority of America’s young people

Romantic love is part of that broader commodification – as you say, lives without it are seen as failed lives. That’s the kind of pressure that keeps everybody in line – those who achieve that goal, those who keep trying and those who fail.

Ranking love and parceling out the best kind shrinks it into nuclear families. Capitalism needs nuclear families and nuclear family wannabees.

Your post reminded me of this: what if every kind of love was equally valued?  We might not all want to split up and live in seperate houses, doing seperate work for seperate incomes.  We might expand the capacity of what it means to be human to include shared living collectives with homeless people. We might fall in love with the experience of harvesting a particular coffee crop in Chiapas, and of all that entails: the people, the village, the earth, the songs, the sky.
The main thing we might reject is individualism as a great prize. We might instead re-define happiness in terms of everyone’s well-being.

Of course, if your generation tries any of that Pinko funny business, the CIA will nip it in the bud with a squadron of well-aimed drone bombs.

Well, chica, thanks again for your insights, and for graciously letting me take over your blog with a lecture. I’ll shut up now.

No, really I will.

Really —

4 thoughts on “The Youth Industry and Romantic Love

  1. Damn! Forgot to mention the Spring Break…! Oh wells! Thanks a bunch for the reference, Claire! I am so glad to read a more detailed issue of the Youth Industry and that my article was of help! 😀


    1. Thank-you, Carol. You who have known so many students may perhaps be more aware than most of us of the value of each young voice in this, as krik put it “oh so terrible world”. From the point of view of a Mexican student: I don’t think she’s kidding.
      Thank-you again.

      Liked by 1 person

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