The brands you like could determine the fate of your relationship
Marvel or DC? Coke or Pepsi? James Bond or Jason Bourne? These seemingly insignificant questions have deep cracks running through the cement of your relationship. Each choice is a little tremor, driving the wedge farther and farther between you and your partner.
I mean, Popeye's is clearly better than KFC, and if you disagree with that, you're just wrong. Right?
According to a Duke University study called "Coke vs. Pepsi: Brand Compatibility, Relationship Power, and Life Satisfaction", couples who differ in brand choice are constantly asserting power over one another. But how?
PhD student Danielle Brick explains the science behind the study:
"If you are lower in relationship power and have different brand preferences than your partner, you're probably going to find yourself stuck with your partner's favorite brands, over and over again. This could lead to a death-by-a-thousand-cuts feeling. Most couples won't break up over brand incompatibility, but it leads to the low power partner becoming less and less happy."
It's like a thousand micro-aggressions, and I'm sure you've experienced it in real life. "We always go to YOUR favorite places" or "we always see the movies YOU want to see."
These frustrations eventually make one partner feel as though the relationship is no longer equal, a give-and-take, but a tyranny being imposed upon them from outside. It makes sense. After all, if you hated rap, and your partner constantly played Yo Gotti, you would eventually feel frustrated.
That person's choices and inclinations, in any form, manifest over and over again every single day. Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? McDonald's or Wendy's? If you feel like you no longer relate to these choices, then by proxy, you no longer relate to your partner.
It's all about power: whoever is choosing the brands is subtly choosing the aesthetic flavor of the relationship. Defining the feel of the relationship through corporate choices is totally a power move. Danielle Brick continued:
"If you like Coke and your partner likes Pepsi, you're probably not going to break up over it -- but 11 years into a relationship, when he or she keeps coming home with Pepsi, day in and day out, it might start to cause a little conflict. And if you're the low-power person in the relationship, who continually loses out on brands and is stuck with your partner's preferences, you are going to be less happy."
As with everything, this study has a unique relationship to capitalism. Brand preferences, beyond being random choices, are considered means of self-expression. Even punk and countercultural movements purchase corporate products to demonstrate their angst against corporations.
Every choice, inevitably, reinforces capitalism. Anti-capitalism and rebellion, as evidenced by the brand of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, is the most profitable of all. Modern day hip-hop, in figures such as XXXTentacion, also generates massive profit off the brand of rebellion, concealing the substance of wealth and business success underneath.
All of your choices affirm capital, all of your choices are enabled by the brand diversity of capital, and all of your choices conceal a power relationship. And on that sunny note, happy dating!