T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 25425
posted 05-30-2006 12:42 PM
So a couple of days ago, following Miz S's suggestion, I picked up
Backlash by Susan Faludi and have been enthusiastically reading it. One thing Faludi discusses at length is a marriage study that made the news 20 years ago, proclaiming that a women's chance of finding a husband decreased dramatically the longer she waited. And because it's always the case that, when you hear about something once, you're bound to trip over it again and again, this is is an MSN article I found today: Rethinking Marriage Thought it might be of interest to anyone who's read Faludi's book.
Member # 3
posted 05-30-2006 01:00 PM
My only big "Grrr," in that article (which I expected -- this is mainstream media), is that it really didn't address at all reasons why women who DID find a "right person" STILL might not want to get married. Given, I'm going to be a bit more inclined to notice that given my own feelings, but so are a lot of women, and even among women who want to marry, there's a feminist conflict many face. A friend of mine doing a book on DIY weddings and I were just discussing the other night that (bless her) she included a chapter which DID address couples who wanted ceremonies of some sort which were not marriages or legal marriages.
In other words, it seemed to be a lot about "Phew! You really still can! Just look at these girls!" There was a definate slant in the article (including stating the vast majority of all women of any age want to be married, without citing any data to show that) that marriage must be a good thing, when it's to a good person, etc. rather than a more balanced approach, or any address whatsoever of the reasons why marriage (beyond economics) might not be considered such, even by happily opposite-sex partnered women. (Enjoying the book? It's dense, but it's a good one.)
Member # 25425
posted 05-30-2006 01:12 PM
(Yeah, I'm liking it. I have to squeeze the reading in between classes and papers, so I've taken to reading on the bus and in the caf, which is earning me odd looks from people - though, admittedly, that might be more becasue I am voluntarily reading a big, non-fiction book than because of the topic. It's pretty eye-opening, though.)
What I found more interesting than the fact that NEWSWEEK is correcting their numbers was re-reading the original article from the 80's. I figured, given that women bought into it, it must have at least sounded sympathetic. But I found it downright offensive. But that might also be because I am looking at it from another context. And I think the new article got one thing wrong: They quote a Psychologist from Northwestern as saying that the homosexual marriage agenda is proof that wanting to marriage is a deep-rooted human desire. But from what I've heard and read on this topic, most homosexuals aren't looking to join the institution of marraige for the sake of it, but because they want equal rights - such as the right to visit a dying partner at their deathbed.
Member # 3
posted 05-30-2006 01:19 PM
Per your last paragraph? You nailed it.
Certainly, for some, there is the issue of the romance of marriage, of wanting a marriage simply as a commitment to a partner. But if you talk at all to queer marriage advocates, if you read any of what the couples have said even just from the first rush in San Fran when it happened, you hard more about the other issues. Again, I'd say that comment is yet more of the pro-marriage/every-woman-wants-a-marriage bias I was finding in that piece. And yeah: that original article was pretty darn offensive, in my book. Of course, it didn't help that every ad running on it when I looked at it was a weight-loss advertisement, either.
Member # 22756
posted 05-30-2006 05:08 PM
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the "deferred marriage" issue lately too...
even though Newsweek's updated their article, many people still focus on the notion that deferred marriage is generally a choice, and a risky one at that. Somebody told me the other day that I "chose" not to date but pursued career instead... yeah, right. Where is it written that only women, and especially those in isolating professions like academia, compartmentalize their lives? I think women kenned to that Newsweek article because it validated their longstanding fears about being single. Because they didn't have examples of sucessful unmarried women over 30, they went with the next best thing, and bought into the faulty statistics. "Commercial media wisdom tells us single career women are desperate for marriage but will be left on the shelf: if women choose economic independence and professional fulfilment over marriage and child-bearing, the cost will be dreadful -- loneliness, nervous breakdowns, the loss of femininity." Faludi's observation there is largely true 15 years later. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead recently argued ("Why There are No Good Men Left") that unmarried women over 25 place an extraordinary emphasis on the need to marry, but lack social support for deferred marriage. At the same time, those women are bombarded with unsettling imagery that offers matchmaking in exchange for a fee, cosmetic surgery, or the example of a happy almost-symbiotic couple.
Member # 94
posted 05-30-2006 05:11 PM
I've been reading some similar things lately about marriage (I don't have the links right now, but if I find them, I'll post them here), regarding some declarations of the 80s that suggested women who reached 40 without marrying were unlikely to do so. Not only did this turn out to be wrong, there was absolutely NO discussion of the idea that a women might have, you know, CHOSEN, not to get married, maybe even chosen to not to have a partner.