Public display of affection
Public displays of affection are acts of physical intimacy in the view of others. What is an acceptable display of affection varies with respect to culture and context. Displays of affection in a public place, such as the street, are more likely to be objected to, than similar practices in a private place with only people from a similar cultural background present. Maintaining eye contact can be regarded socially and psychologically as analogous to touching in some cultures. Some organizations have rules limiting or prohibiting public displays of affection.
Europe and North America
In India, public display of affection is a growing phenomenon, although stray incidents of police harassment of couples were reported in the past. However, relaxation of previous generations' social norms has made public displays of affection more common among India's younger demographic.
The display of physical attraction, once seen as uncommon, has become increasingly noticeable in East Asian countries. Confucianism is deeply rooted in the culture of many East Asian countries, predominantly in China, Korea, and Taiwan and for many members of the older generation, displaying one's emotions publicly is going against such values. Over the years however, the boundaries have been pushed and older generations are taking notice of how younger generations deviate, even slightly, from traditions. Holding hands, hugging, and even kissing in public has become a common sight, but it is still highly regarded as “unsightly.” Some places such as the Nanjing University of Forestry have created student patrol officers that monitor the behavior of students and prevent young couples from holding hands, hugging and getting too intimate publicly. The progressive integration of public displays of affection into Asian society is still very rough around the edges. In China, a country tightly bound by Confucian laws, the process of greater interaction between the sexes only began during the Cultural Revolution. In fact, the display of affection publicly between a married couple is uncommon though quickly changing. An example of this change can be seen in wedding photographs of Taiwanese couples where “In contrast to old-fashioned wedding photos, modern bridal photographs portray the brides and grooms as emotionally and physically intimate.”
Instead of kissing, Manchu mothers used to show affection for their children by performing fellatio on their male babies, placing its penis in their mouths and stimulating it, while the Manchu regarded public kissing with revulsion.
Same-sex public display of affection
Public display of affection between people of the same-sex or gender can be viewed as suggestive of homosexuality or not, depending on culture. In many African cultures it is considered normal and not offensive while in the Western world it is considered suggestive of homosexuality. For example, in Los Angeles, in 1980 it was found that most public display of affection between individuals of the same-sex would still fall under police officers' conception of criminality A spokesman for the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project declared in 2007 that “people are still verbally harassed and physically attacked daily for engaging in simple displays of affection in public. Everything changes the minute we kiss.”
- Interpersonal relationship
- Intimate relationship
- Norm (sociology)
- Platonic love
- Sengupta, Somini (January 4, 2006). "Is Public Romance a Right? The Kama Sutra Doesn't Say". The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
- Farmer, Ben (February 3, 2009). "Hindu extremists 'will attack Valentine's Day couples'". Telegraph, UK (London). Retrieved October 16, 2010. "However, these cases of harassment of dating couples are generally bitterly criticized by a growing number of young Indians, who feel the need for a change in the perception on dating and public displays of affection. In the past, attacks by vigilante groups also were a danger for those celebrating Valentine's day. However the number of couples celebrating Valentine's Day has grown so much that these attacks have become ineffective in deterring couples."
- Bo-eun, Kim (June 27, 2012). "Public Display of Affection: Where to Draw the Line?". The Korea Times. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- Adrian, Bonnie. (2003). Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Romance in Taiwan's Bridal Industry. Berkeley: University of California.
- Clarke, John R. (2001). Looking at Lovemaking (1st paperback print ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 978-0-520-22904-4. "In the Manchu tribe, a mother will routinely suck her small son's penis in public but would never kiss his cheeks. Among adults, the Manchu believe, fellatio is a sexual act, but kissing—even between mother and infant son—is always a sexual act, and thus fellation becomes the proper display of motherly affection."
- Barre, Weston La (1975). "The Cultural Basis of Emotions and Gestures". In Davis, Martha. Anthropological Perspectives of Movement. Arno Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-405-06201-8. "Manchu kissing is purely a private sexual act, and though husband and wife or lovers might kiss each other, they would do it stealthily since it is shameful to do ... yet Manchu mothers have the pattern of putting the penis of the baby boy into their mouths, a practice which probably shocks Westerners even more than kissing in public shocks the Manchu."
- Barre, Weston La (1974). "The Cultural Basis of Emotions and Gestures". In Starr, Jerold M.. Social structure and social personality. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 79.
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- Akhtar, Salman (2011). Immigration and Acculturation: Mourning, Adaptation, and the Next Generation. United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 60–61.
- Peek, Philip M. Twins in African and Diaspora Cultures: Double Trouble, Twice Blessed. Indiana University Press. p. 221.
- Knutson, Donald C. (1980). Homosexuality and the Law:. p. 109.